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crazytownmama 07-21-2013 01:48 AM

i have an easily frustrated 8 year old who doesnt like to sit and do phonics work...he wants to read but gets so easily frustrated that we skipped "lessons" and just read together - goal is one book a day.  I find the dr seuss stuff works better than the level 1 readers...  he can read hop on pop himself if i make him (sit right next to him pointing to the words but never by himself - athough he loves to look through books by himself)..(and, he has no comprehension when he reads himself)...  but we dont seem to be making any progress...   dh is adamant about ps this fall (mostly due to his non reading but hes never loved the idea of hs'ing - he thinks ive failed him, and i gotta be honest i think i might be too)  I've got about a month left...  any advice to get him reading a little better before he starts school  (here ps is reading by the end of K, so he's really behind...) 

4evermom 07-21-2013 06:02 AM

For starters, all the schooled kids are not reading by the end of kindergarten, no matter what you've been hearing. Some kids are just not capable of reading that young and it can have nothing to do with intelligence or learning disorders.

My own son was a late reader and learned primarily from building up sight words. He didn't really start reading until after he was 8... He still gets overwhelmed at tracking through a full page of text...

I'm sure more people will post with suggestions. Just wanted to let you know your child isn't the only late reader out there:-)

34me 07-21-2013 07:22 AM

No advice but my public schooled kid did not read until some pretty intense 1:1 reading help (thank goodness for Title I) when he was 7. At 17 he still doesn't like to read. And I have thought of pulling him out of school every single year. But he was so enmeshed with the social piece by the time I really could have made it work we have struggled along...

AAK 07-21-2013 10:22 AM

There are a few things:


First, many kids aren't reading by 8.  However, if I were you I would check get his eyes checked by a developmental optometrist.  Find a doctor here:  They don't just determine if a child needs glasses.  It is possible that his eyes aren't tracking well, or other things.  I know many people who wished they had done this sooner.  


Second, does he show any signs of dyslexia?  My dd is dyslexic.  While she is doing well now, our public school was not the place for her.  I found lots of help on this yahoo group:


If you do suspect dyslexia, let me know and I can give you more information.  Some kids are late bloomers, others really do need specific help.  


Good luck, 



stitching 07-21-2013 11:04 PM

I agree with those who posted that not all kids are ready and reading at 8, but you could look into vision problems or dyslexia.  


Have you tried other approaches to reading than phonics?  Phonics is very much part-to-whole, where you learn the small pieces and then learn how to put them together to create words.  My daughter learned to read that way, but my son, though a strong reader, has a lot of difficulty with phonics.  He can read adult novels, but has a hard time sounding out words.  He takes a whole-to-part approach, and developed a huge sight-word vocabulary in order to learn to read.  When he encounters a new word, he guesses what it is based on words he knows that it resembles, and then fixes incorrect guesses using context, and only if that fails does he attempt to sound it out.  He's just starting to discover phonics by noticing commonalities between different words - he's been reading for over 4 years, and phonics is only just beginning to make sense to him.  


My son learned to read from books he'd memorized, signs, and being read to (he sat so he could see the page I was reading).  If I picked out a word, he'd find that word in other places in the book.  He liked having things around the house labeled, and he liked placing the labels.  He liked matching games online with word-shapes (I am only finding worksheets right now, but like these).  In your place, I'd continue reading with your son, but while he reads you an easy book he has mostly memorized (anything), also read him a beginning chapter book, like the Magic Tree House series.  I know they are not beautiful writing, but the books repeat themselves a lot, so it's easy to build a sight word vocabulary with them.  While you do most of the reading, your son could find the names of the characters on the pages, and read occasional words or phrases (only ask for ones you are fairly sure he knows, he can definitely sound out, or that you pointed out a few sentences previously). 


As for the comprehension when he reads on his own, the difficulty he's having is likely due to the focus he's putting into decoding the individual words.  When every word has to be struggled over, it's very hard to find the meaning of the whole sentence because most of the words are forgotten by the time the end of the page is reached.  Mostly, comprehension will come once reading is more fluent, but you can also prompt him to go back and reread what he's already decoded every few words.  That will both help the meaning come through and make it easier for him to use contextual clues to decipher the next words.  If he can understand when you read to him, I'd not worry too much about comprehension yet, though.  If you want to work on comprehension though, you could read aloud to him and either talk about what's been read or have him narrate back to you every so often - increasing the length you read before he narrates as he gets more skilled at it.  


I hope that gives you a few ideas, but again, please remember many 8yos are not reading fluently, and find some things you and he enjoy reading together for the rest of the summer.

daisycullen2003 07-24-2013 01:19 PM

i have twin 81/2 year old boys who are not reading at all. they would love to be able to read, but have no interest in learning at this point. i do not force it at all. i am not worried. i wish i had some articles/book titles for you but it is very normal for a boy especially to be a "late" reader. i have a friend with 3 brilliant boys who did not start reading until 10-11 and one is an English teacher! they are some of the brightest kids i know. i think checking eye sight, though, could be helpful, plus some neurological types of exercises in case these are issues. we follow the Enki Education curriculum and the neurological developmental exercises are super helpful if that is an issue. my friend had a "late" reading boy and as soon as they worked on some of those exercises, he started reading. sorry for not giving any resources, but just had a chance to respond real quickly.

daisycullen2003 07-24-2013 01:31 PM

here is a link to a brief explanation of neurological/sensory integration (sounds scarier than it is!):


i just think it is so so normal for your son not to be reading right now. of course it doesn't seem that way in our culture. but i think it can do more harm than good trying to teach someone too early!


I just worry about your son entering school this fall not able to read!  


if i find the book title that i am thinking of i will post it later!

crazytownmama 07-24-2013 08:31 PM

I have no worries about his comprehension -- he's been listening to books on cd for a while, and he's gotten really into some lengthy/older stuff... (mysterious benedict society, etc...  WAYYY beyond his reading ability but he got totally into them!  and tells me all about them...)  It's just the comprehension when reading himself, which totally makes sense that he can't since he's struggling so much just to decode the words... 


Question:  Is there any sort of reading specialist type person that could screen for any issues and point me in a direction, if needed?  (I know, that would be way too easy...) In my head, I believe its normal and he just needs some more time...  but, I see him starting to feel bad that he can't read (at religion class, misc classes, with some friends, etc) ...   sigh.


Thanks for all the advice so far!! :)  It's good to hear that its not abnormal... 

Daffodil 07-25-2013 05:53 AM


Originally Posted by crazytownmama View Post


Question:  Is there any sort of reading specialist type person that could screen for any issues and point me in a direction, if needed?  (I know, that would be way too easy...)


Sure, there are people like that.  You might be able to find them by googling something like "[your state] dyslexia assessment."  In my state, there's this place, for instance.  If he's definitely starting school in the fall, the school will also be able to assess him and figure out what issues he might have.


I'm wondering about what you said about how you skipped lessons.  How much actual instruction has he gotten?  If you've basically told him nothing about how reading works and are hoping he'll pick it up by example, that could be part of the problem.  Is he familiar with the concept of sounding out a word, and he does he know the sounds of enough letters that he could try it with some simple words?  If that would be new information to him, I'd start by giving him that information to see if he's able to understand and use it. 


You could make each lesson very short and simple.  I'm envisioning something like showing him the letters T, A, and P, telling him the sounds each makes, demonstrating how you can put the sounds together to make TAP or PAT and then writing TAP or PAT a few times and having him see if he can tell which one he's seeing.  End of first lesson.  And if even that is too much for him to sit through, you could break it up further.  First day: recognize T and remember what sound it makes.  (Taught in several one-minute sessions during the day.)  Second day, A.  Third day, P.  Fourth day, you demonstrate putting the sounds together to make words and sounding out the words.  Fifth day, he tries it himself.  (Or, if it seems necessary, you repeat Day 4 until he gets it.)  If you've already done stuff like that and he paid attention but just didn't seem to get it, then you might want to start thinking about dyslexia or vision problems.

Mylie 07-25-2013 07:48 AM

First I would get his vision checked...If that checks out fine...Make it fun...   My 5 year old loves it...she was classified as "behind" in reading this year...she is doing much better and loves to play at this site..It is site that you can be a member and get more but we have done just fine with the free is fun,colorful and musical...Keeps the interest going... :)

LoveOurBabies 07-26-2013 10:50 AM


SweetSilver 07-26-2013 05:57 PM

What inspired my daughter to read was graphic novels.  She was much younger, but hesitant on the phonetics, preferring sight-reading.  Favorites were such fare suitable for the slightly younger set: "Perseus and Medusa", "Hound of the Baskervilles", etc.  I would read the narrative while she read the bubbles.  Garfield is still a big favorite.  


Neither of my girls are that thrilled with Dr. Seuss stuff anymore.  There has got to be some better reading material than early readers.  It doesn't much matter that it is written for the proper level of skill-- get them interested in the book, and if they read bits of it instead of the entire thing, fine.

crazytownmama 07-26-2013 06:41 PM

OK, I want to know more about how to teach whole to parts reading...  He knows all of the individual letter sounds, most of the different sounds the vowels make, and a lot of the blends (sh, ch, etc...Just by me explaining how to sound out the words he's reading -- that e is silent so the first vowel says its name, etc.) ...  I want to try the sight word approach.  Are there any articles or books that you guys know of that could break it down for me?  How do you get them to memorize the sight words?  He is NOT a flash card kind of guy...  

AAK 07-26-2013 08:38 PM

Originally Posted by crazytownmama View Post

OK, I want to know more about how to teach whole to parts reading...  He knows all of the individual letter sounds, most of the different sounds the vowels make, and a lot of the blends (sh, ch, etc...Just by me explaining how to sound out the words he's reading -- that e is silent so the first vowel says its name, etc.) ...  I want to try the sight word approach.  Are there any articles or books that you guys know of that could break it down for me?  How do you get them to memorize the sight words?  He is NOT a flash card kind of guy...  

Take this for what it's worth, because it is how my daughter memorizes certain words -- usually for spelling, not reading.  She does make a card, but not to use as a flash card.  She tries to turn the word into a picture of its meaning.  So, for example the word "they" -- she could never remember that word.  She wrote it down and turned each letter into a person because "they" is a pronoun for a group.  She now has that image in her head and rarely forgets it.  When she chooses to do this with a word, we put it on the wall somewhere for her to see frequently--not to drill.  It really helps.  


Also, we really like the magnetic words--like the refrigerator poetry stuff.  Here is an example:

She will arrange the words to make notes, sentences, silly stories, etc.  Our kit has suffixes and prefixes that she can add to a word.  So the is a "re" and "mark" so she can say "remark" by putting them together. 


I have also used word cards to play memory -- when you flip a card you say the word.  Then you flip the next card and say that word.  We aren't just looking for a visual match, so saying the word is important.  I would add words to the game as others were mastered.  


Now, I used they tools as supplements because I did teach her phonically.  So perhaps it was a bit of a blended approach.



SweetSilver 07-27-2013 07:21 AM

Originally Posted by crazytownmama View Post

  I want to try the sight word approach.  Are there any articles or books that you guys know of that could break it down for me?  How do you get them to memorize the sight words?  He is NOT a flash card kind of guy...  

I'm afraid I can't help with articles or books, and I'm out of my league in trying to give advice on possibly getting him ready for public school in a month.  


For us, it's not so much an "approach" as a recognition that each of my daughters learned to read differently.  One was reading by looking at the whole word, or the first 3 letters and guessing context, the other is a patient phonetic reader.  Both taught themselves to read, with ample guidance from parents as necessary.  My girls memorized sight words simply by encountering them over and over.  We just read books we like, and don't dig very in deep into the mechanics of it.  Yes, that means that their progress is a little more random than would be otherwise, but at the same time, they love to read.  And that means more time to cultivate this skill than just a month.  


Especially if I were seeing signs of discouragement, I would try just reading interesting books.  I know you are placing him in school in the fall, but I think it's better to approach the issue from instilling confidence (that he feels he *can* learn more, even if he's a bit behind the class) and a joy of reading, if he's not made to think he doesn't have the skill or that reading is boring, the problems are going to compound in school without the right teacher.  (Though things might get better-- sometimes kids need a little anonymity that a classroom affords to work on their skills privately.)  I think the "deadline" of a month is enough to put the brakes on anyone.


I think it's too bad that you're giving up right when I think things might click.  8.5 is not too old.  I think if he is reading on his own, whether he comprehends or not is a good thing.  (Do you *know* he doesn't comprehend *some* of it?  Imagine the ego boost to recognize a word in a great tome of a book!  What are you basing your judgement of comprehension on?)


A huge amount of learning can happen without the need to read.  Unfortunately, many HS curricula are designed like school which places a huge emphasis on reading and writing-- partly because the teacher cannot afford to give each kid so much individual time that a parent can to gauge skills.  I could almost write a book on how we homeschool with Monopoly (or Star Wars board game from the '70's, or Risk, or Battleship).  They wanted to both read the cards (or try) and be the banker (or try).  That's just the beginning.  Reading is cool, but can be incidental to learning in the early years.

crazytownmama 07-27-2013 06:29 PM

I LOVE the word cards memory game!!  It's so simple, its genius :) 


We have the really big words poetry kit... I love it, my kids...not so much :) ....  but they will attempt to read what I write with them, so thats something...


So far, he knows he's going to school in the fall, but he doesn't know he is "behind" in reading... well, except that all of his buddies at religious class can read better than him (his words, i have no idea if that is true -- and our church is NOT in our school district, so thats kind of beside the point).  I'm not stressing the reading any more than I have in the past to him...  and he definitely has the joy of reading (that im afraid school will knock right out of him... dh and i agreed that we'd homeschool til 3rd ... he's never been happy about hs'ing, but he's agreed because ...well, because I nagged...  )


I'm basing comprehension on the fact that he can't read the beginning of the sentence he just read over again... Like, he'll sound out each word in the sentence slowly.  At the end, he can't read it quickly...he sounds each word out again.  (Does that make sense?  He's concentrating so much on each word that its like he forgets the word before)...Really, I think he just needs more practice at it.  And, I think I'm going to start doing a word of the day where he can just point out that word in the stuff we read aloud...  (I have no idea what the school district is going to do/think, but I'm done worrying about it.  He's a smart kid...  who is really close to reading but just not there.  However, he's had lots of time to be creative and PLAY, discover and explore...   something the school certainly would have limited earlier on!)

AAK 07-27-2013 07:36 PM

Originally Posted by crazytownmama View Post

I'm basing comprehension on the fact that he can't read the beginning of the sentence he just read over again... Like, he'll sound out each word in the sentence slowly.  At the end, he can't read it quickly...he sounds each word out again.  (Does that make sense?  He's concentrating so much on each word that its like he forgets the word before)...

This makes complete sense and generally isn't considered a problem.  He is CAPABLE of understanding the story if he isn't the one reading it.  Right now, he spends a lot of energy/effort decoding and doesn't have anything left.  That is ok.  It is normal.  As he gets more words under his belt by sight, and as sounding out the unfamiliar words gets easier, his brain will free up some of that concentration so that he can actually allow the words to mean something.  This really is very normal.  Comprehension shouldn't be judged on stuff that is difficult to decode.


Good luck with public school.  I wouldn't let him know he is behind--he won't be the only one.  



LisaTaylor 10-21-2013 07:37 AM

Hey 'Crazytownmama'...he will get there....the difference in children & reading is massive...but most of them get there in the end (& yes, I am quite aware that is easier said if you are not worrying about your own child), I have seen kids behind mine shoot straight past my boy in reading. 


Children seem to learn very differently than we did....mine could unlock my iphone way ahead of ever being able to read....& watching him touch the TV as if it was my ipad is really quite a scary concept!! (& makes for a lot of chocolate fingerprints to clean off the telly!!).


If he is creative, is it worth getting him involved with a more creative form of an ipad course...or something like the Vinci Genius tablets? I said in another thread, my sister has a bit of a 'Einstein' kid & he's going great guns (UK phrase) with it....I am tempted but have asked others on here if anybody has any feedback as my nephew excels anyway & can't really tell if it down to the tablet. They aren't that cheap.....but they do look good!


Just stick with it, I am sure I am saying the 'sucking eggs' advice but keep trying him on different things & don't give up. One day it will just click & one day you will remember this thread & have a little laugh to yourself as to why you were ever worried!


Take Care :rotflmao

elizawill 11-09-2013 08:26 AM

at 8 1/2, i probably would be concerned if he wasn't reading beyond beginner books.  i agree with previous posters about having his vision checked and for tracking issues as well.  assuming you are working with him often (which it sounds like you do), i would be concerned about progress & would want to rule out any possible underlying issues.  i definitely agree that children are all over the map at your son's age, so i wouldn't be concerned with public school milestones, but i would definitely be measuring his personal progress.  if he is going to school next year, i would look at having him evaluated beforehand.  is he going into 3rd or 4th grade next year?  so many of the subjects are hinged on reading nowadays (which i hate), so it will effect him across the board without an IEP.  it takes a while for an IEP (at least i know it does here), so talking to the school beforehand will greatly benefit your son.  so many children do learn to read differently & at various ages, so my comments aren't meant to imply there is a specific place your son "should" be.  but if he is definitely going to public school next year, i would get his vision checked now and begin talking with the school.  hugs.



ETA - just realized this thread was old & resurrected. sorry!

LisaTaylor 11-11-2013 02:54 AM

Here is a great little article that was in the Telegraph this's short & to to the point & is just '10 Tips to Improve your Child's reading ability:

MOMGOTSPUNK 11-16-2013 12:39 PM

Thanks for this post.  I also have an almost 8 year-old who is not reading.

Greenmama13 11-17-2013 03:59 AM

I just wanted to say that I think it's really sad that your dh is not more supportive of hs. Perhaps he needs to learn more about it so he can support you more. I was the skeptical one when we started hs. Now I see my kids excited about what they learn everyday. (I should add that my dh is teacher and I am the one who works.)

crazytownmama 11-17-2013 05:12 AM

I think its really sad that dh isn't more supportive too.  I LOVE the lifestyle...I know exactly what my kids are learning, I get to go on all the cool field trips :)  (and we can go during the week off peak after school kids leave hours) ...  and it just makes life fun! (not that its not hard).  I tend to be unschool-y though, and not a lot of what we do LOOKS like school, and thats just not our style.  Which is unfortunate, because thats what I think we'd need to do to get dh's buy in (MAYBE).  Well, that and the house is ALWAYS a mess and dh can't handle that either... (reasoning: if kids were in school, all the school mess would stay in school thereby keeping our house that much cleaner from the get go...) 


(We did end up hs'ing again this year with the understanding that ds definitely goes next year.  sigh.  but, i'll take it.  And, his reading has really started coming along... he's not reading chapter books by himself yet, but he's reading a magic treehouse book to me and understanding what he's reading - but its still word.pause.word.pause type reading...  He just won't read it by himself.  I'm not sure what the problem there is... but I think its more of a behaviour thing than a reading thing at this point.  I know he's said that he doesn't want me to STOP reading to him...  and I won't... but I suspect he's a closet reader and just won't admit it for some reason (he sometimes gets really strange ideas, and he's a stubborn beast, so...  as long as he's reading I really don't care if he admits it or not...)


PS  a few great reading practice ideas for reluctant readers...

-set them up with email accounts.  Emails to and from grandma and fave aunt are GREAT motivators

-Make mailboxes to send letters to house hold members

-Pass notes to dh with "shh, don't tell the kids" kind of conversations, then leave notes lying around  (its amazing how quickly those are read -- and those are read in cooperation with his brothers.  sneaky and manipulative, yes. Adorable, yes.  :)  I deliberately use big words I know they can sound out with effort.

-Give them a recipe for a treat and tell them if they can make it, they can eat it.  Another great cooperative effort. :)

natashaccat 12-16-2013 07:14 PM

Nope, my 8 yo isn't reading either! Sorry, no suggestions! She's absolutely capable, no learning issues, her spelling and writing skills seem to be at grade level. She just isn't motivated to put the time into reading practice and is habitually defiant and argumentative.

GrannyH 12-18-2013 04:55 AM

You are right to be concerned that your eight year old is finding it difficult to learn to read. I am a retired teacher (Australian) and I would pull out all the stops for any seven/eight  year old not yet reading . By eight, children are expected to have some reading ability in order to function in class  and the amount of time spent teaching  reading is reduced. In addition, their self esteem suffers and they can start behaving badly to deflect attention. In this area, your son is fortunate as he is being taught at home so he cannot compare himself to others.


Get his vision and his hearing checked out. It does sound like dyslexia which is an umbrella term for all kinds of problems relating to reading and comprehending text. It affects 10% of people. It was thought that dyslexia had to do with vision but in reality it is a problem in hearing the sounds and associating them with the text. It would be about this age that your child would be tested for dyslexia at school , You have done nothing  wrong. It is often hereditary. Did either you or your husband experience difficulty learning to read? I would suggest you go to the Australian site SPELD where you can learn more about it and decide whether it sounds like the problems your son is experiencing. The South Australian speld  has a free on line course for parents wanting to help their children. It is very good and easy to follow. Please. please read it.


If you are thinking of sending your child back to school, talk to the school's guidance officer to ensure that your son will be tested and given the help he needs. In the meantime, Dr Seuss books are great because they have a lot of rhyming words which are important to train your son to hear the sounds. Ask him to find more words that rhyme. Can he hear the odd one out if you call out three words, two of which rhyme and one that does not? Keep reading to him and make it fun. If he can see that reading is fun as well as important, it will help him. One thing to remember is that struggling to read is very tiring and any reading should be done in the morning when your son is fresher and in many small doses.


Best wishes on your journey. Do pm me if I can help you further.

moominmamma 12-20-2013 09:29 AM

14 Attachment(s)
Originally Posted by GrannyH View Post

By eight, children are expected to have some reading ability in order to function in class  and the amount of time spent teaching  reading is reduced. In addition, their self esteem suffers and they can start behaving badly to deflect attention. In this area, your son is fortunate as he is being taught at home so he cannot compare himself to others.


Granny, there's a lot more about home learning that's fortunate here. It's not just the lack of damage to self-esteem. There's also the fact that evaluation does not have to take place through written work. Nor is learning increasingly expected to be done through text. At home there is no expectation that a child already be reading easily. Nor is reading instruction granted less time as a child gets beyond his 8th birthday. None of the things you're concerned about apply in a home-learning environment.


I'd encourage you to think outside the box a little on this one. Imagine a child like some I've known, who for whatever reason isn't ready or able or interested to learn to read until she is 9 and a half. As an 8-year-old at home she learns by listening, experiencing, questioning, experimenting, through project work, by being involved in daily life, by participating in sports, arts and handicrafts at very advanced levels. She is involved in her community, she gardens, cares for animals, weaves complex four-harness loom patterns, plays violin and piano and sings in a choir, is intimately familiar with Greek and Norse mythology, can discuss local and national politics, is an avid environmentalist. A few months before her 10th birthday she begins reading and is fluent at or beyond grade level within a few weeks. Her education is not impoverished in the slightest by her later reading. 


Obviously it behooves the OP to ensure that there are no learning disabilities or perceptual obstacles in the way of her child's learning to read. But as an outsider posting in the Homeschooling forum, it is important when giving advice for you to first examine your assumptions about what is correct and necessary and expected. Conventional western schools are built around an expectation of literacy by 8, such that it is very difficult to continue to support and adequately teach children who do not attain that benchmark. That is absolutely not the case with home-based learning.



Fillyjonk 12-23-2013 12:27 AM

just wanted to share my experience. Two lateish readers. My ten year old now chooses reading as his first choice activity a lot of the time. My eight year also loves reading. Neither started before age 8 really-my now 8 year old could read but didn't. My 10 year old had and still has quite obvious dyslexia style issues and eventually I did give him some specific help. The point is you would never pick either out nowadays as a late reader. And it really has not slowed them down elsewhere. Its just totally different in a home setting. Late reading does not create an issue at all. Tbh them being able to read makes remarkably little difference except that they have an especially portable interest!

My experience of dyslexia and my kid was that it was obvious. It manifested in how he read out loud. Helped that he had pretty much every soft marker for dyslexia-he was even ambidextrous til around age 6. Dyslexia is not the same as late reading in a homeschool context as the two environments are si different.

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