What does reading instruction look like for second grade? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 20 Old 02-19-2010, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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To those familiar with how a modern second grade class works, what does reading instruction look like?

I've asked my daughter a few specific questions: Do you ever read aloud to your teacher? Do you ever read something and then describe it/answer questions about what you read? Do you ever write anything about what you've read? The answer is 'no' to everything.

My daughter is in second grade, and depending on who you ask, reads at a 4th-7th grade level, and I suspect is getting nothing in the way of reading instruction. Of course, since my daughter isn't able to describe everything that happens at school, and I'm left with asking her to describe her day. If I'm not asking the right questions, I can be left with the impression that she's not getting instruction when she actually is.

I'm in the process of applying pressure on the teacher and the school to offer DD differentiated instruction on reading and math at this time, but I still have a poor sense of what happens in the classroom. I've volunteered in the room, but parent volunteer time seems to be during independent work times in the class.
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#2 of 20 Old 02-19-2010, 01:01 PM
 
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Have you spoken with the teacher?

My son's in second grade. They don't do alot of individual reading aloud in the classroom. He does read lots of books and answers questions about what happens in the books. He's sent home a book every day and he reads that and tells us about the book. But he's in accelerated reading so I'm not sure how much of that is normal classroom stuff and how much is his accelerated program.
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#3 of 20 Old 02-19-2010, 01:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have you spoken with the teacher?
Many times. At length. I need a sense of how to gauge what I'm hearing from DD and the teacher, as well as me needing a sense of what questions to ask.

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My son's in second grade. They don't do alot of individual reading aloud in the classroom. He does read lots of books and answers questions about what happens in the books. He's sent home a book every day and he reads that and tells us about the book. But he's in accelerated reading so I'm not sure how much of that is normal classroom stuff and how much is his accelerated program.
So the answers to questions about what happens in the books -- is that done in the classroom? Is this how the teacher is evaluating his progress?
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#4 of 20 Old 02-19-2010, 01:12 PM
 
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He answers the questions on a computer which prints out his result and then the teacher sends those home. We do it at home as well so I can see his comprehension beyond what the paper says.
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#5 of 20 Old 02-19-2010, 01:25 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So it sounds like most reading instruction is happening at home in your family? That's what it's been in our house. The consequence is that DD is only learning to be bored in school. Our goal for DD is to be challenged, and to ultimately learn to challenge herself.

I'm interested to hear from folks who either don't have accelerated kids or whose schools do not accelerate.
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#6 of 20 Old 02-19-2010, 04:56 PM
 
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Hey Geofizz!
As you know I'm in columbus. DS is a 2nd grader at one of our public schools. It seems like in his class reading is done in several ways. First off, it seems as somehow the children are "tested" at the beginning of the year, as well as working with the teacher to assess reading levels. Each child, although it ends up being groups, not individuals, has different books that they read independently and aloud based on their own level. They also are read chapter books which revolve around the unit of studying they are doing. Earlier in the year they were being read(and I honestly don't know, maybe they were reading this book aloud too)Little HOuse on the Prairie. The unit was what is a community, historic Clintonville, and farming within communities, Also how were the people's lives different then vs. now. Each child is to read or be read to at home every day for 20 minutes. There are spelling tests occasionally and different words come home weekly. We have to practice the sounds of the letters and vowels, and how sounds are made. DS also is working on writing a book review of a fave book of his. He must also keep a log at home with the titles of books he reads, author, and if the book was E(easy)JR(just right), or C(challenging). The teachers also provided each family a book list with titles for each individual child based on their own reading level. DS has blossomed this year as far as his reading. He was reading a bit before starting school but just took off at this particular school, so I am pleased with the approach that is being used. We receive a weekly newsletter of what's going on in the classroom, and they read tons of books I'm sure I could provide better info for you if I dug up some beginning of the year insturction about what goes on specifically in the room about reading written from the teacher's perspective!

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#7 of 20 Old 02-19-2010, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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That's amazing.

It seems my kid's education requires my harassing the school. We're in UA public, by the way.
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#8 of 20 Old 02-19-2010, 05:42 PM
 
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Has your daughter been classified as "Talented and Gifted"? (often called "TAG" but other schools use other acronyms). If she is, then you might have some legal grounds to demand differentiated instruction.

But essentially, under our current system of education, yes, you are going to have to harass the school. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) rewards schools for getting children to meet standards, but there is no incentive to help kids who are exceeding the standards. The punishments come when students don't meet the standards.

So, NCLB means that the school is going to focus on getting kids to meet standards. If you already meet the standard, then only by getting a TAG classification will you get the possibility of differentiated instruction. And even then it might be iffy at best.

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#9 of 20 Old 02-19-2010, 05:47 PM
 
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Our school stops sending home "book bags" containing leveled readers in 2nd grade and instead encourages the kids to pick appropriate books to read on their own at home. In class, our school recently moved towards an approach for literacy called The Daily Five. Basically it's a way of structuring the literacy block to make sure the kids are doing good, self-directed work when they're not doing guided reading/strategy time with the teacher in their reading groups (ability groups). The Daily Five basically consists of:

Read to self
Read with someone (done in pairs)
Work on writing (they also do writer's workshop time that's more teacher directed)
Listen to reading (listening to books on tape, listening to a friend)
Working with words (normally activities with their spelling words)

I have mixed feelings about the program. Given the realities of public school resources, teaching kids to be self directed for this 90 minute chunk of time (except for when their group has been pulled) is good and they do spend a good chunk of time at the beginning of the year easing the kids in and building their stamina for the self directed program. But, until recently the higher reading groups were only pulled for sure 1x per week. Recently, my DDs class started getting some additional aide support and all groups are getting pulled at least 2 times a week and most weeks 3x.

As far as what happens in Guided Reading, I feel like at our school in second grade they spend a lot of time working on stuff they'll need to know how to do for testing (e.g. writing detailed summaries, answering more complicated inference and theme questions, etc.). They also read aloud and the teacher corrects fluency, etc. I know it seems to be common knowledge among my friends that 2nd grade seems to a catch up year. I know my DD has gotten more fluent as a reader, but I don't feel like she's reading particularly challenging books and overall, I feel like the year has been kind of lackluster in terms of progress.
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#10 of 20 Old 02-19-2010, 09:34 PM
 
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I've asked my daughter a few specific questions: Do you ever read aloud to your teacher? Do you ever read something and then describe it/answer questions about what you read? Do you ever write anything about what you've read? The answer is 'no' to everything.
My youngest is currently in Grade 2. This is how their reading is done at school.

It may be happening with your dd, but in a way that she doesn't think it is happening. If these are the type of questions you're asking all you're going to get is a "no" answer. You are asking yes/no questions. You need to ask more open ended questions to get more information.

Reading is one of those subjects that gets integrated into EVERY other subject. most assignments are read this & answer questions based on it. The teacher can get from that answer sheet whether your child is comprehending what she's reading. Most classes around here have assignments where the kids write something & read it out loud to the entire class.

In the school I work in there is specific reading tests that are done for report cards which is nothing but the student reading out loud to the teacher from Grade 1 & up. In the school my kids go to they do it there too. In the district my kids go to the kids are also reading their books out loud to parent volunteers, classrooms aides, principal, other teachers, plus the teacher who teaches that class.

Does your dd have only 1 teacher or does she have multiple teachers for different subjects?

Where are you getting that your dd reads at a 4th-7th grade level. Is it just reading ability or is it comprehension too?
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#11 of 20 Old 02-19-2010, 11:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Has your daughter been classified as "Talented and Gifted"? (often called "TAG" but other schools use other acronyms). If she is, then you might have some legal grounds to demand differentiated instruction.
Can open. Worms everywhere.

No, she does not qualify as gifted. She topped out on the school-administered IQ test -- she got the highest possible score, more than a standard deviation above their criterion for gifted identification. She scored 83%ile on the achievement test, but needed 95%ile, so no services.

DD has asked her teachers since kindy to move ahead (mostly on math, but also for more interesting reading in the classroom), but she's not a kid that will keep asking after repeatedly being told 'no'. So she didn't score 95%ile by grade level in the 3rd month of second grade yet has been asking to learn more, and is being told that she can't move ahead.

I got told today by the gifted teacher at another school in the district that I need prep DD for the test (totally against my child-led learning home) to ensure she gets in on her next chance in April. Getting into gifted will help some by getting the attention of the school, but the school still doesn't differentiate as a part of the curriculum until 4th grade.

A disparity in cognitive ability and achievement is not viewed as a red flag.

Because she needs differentiation beyond what the teacher says she can provide, the teacher has requested help formally through the school. The Integrative Assistance Team is not something the school is legally required to follow through on by any deadline. I've been harassing them to schedule the blasted meeting, and they offered a date that the whole school, including the teacher, will be on a field trip. (And I'll be out of town).

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My youngest is currently in Grade 2. This is how their reading is done at school.

It may be happening with your dd, but in a way that she doesn't think it is happening. If these are the type of questions you're asking all you're going to get is a "no" answer. You are asking yes/no questions. You need to ask more open ended questions to get more information.

Reading is one of those subjects that gets integrated into EVERY other subject. most assignments are read this & answer questions based on it. The teacher can get from that answer sheet whether your child is comprehending what she's reading. Most classes around here have assignments where the kids write something & read it out loud to the entire class.

<snip>

Does your dd have only 1 teacher or does she have multiple teachers for different subjects?

Where are you getting that your dd reads at a 4th-7th grade level. Is it just reading ability or is it comprehension too?
My open ended questions, which I've been asking for 2 years, get very vague responses. In short, DD has no pre-conceived notion of what should happen in school, and her distinct weakness is in self-expression, so getting these details do not come as a matter of course. We get almost nothing coming home in completed work. The writing we see that comes home does not seem to be in response anything DD's read. I have asked yes/no questions knowing that I might not be hitting on the actual assessment/instruction method that's actually happening. Hence my questions I posted here.

DD has had the same teacher for two years now. She had math with a different teacher last year (4 classrooms of 1/2 classes, 1st graders grouped and 2nd graders grouped for math only).

My 4th-7th grade reading level comes from the teacher telling me that DD's reading level is above anything in the classroom, with the classroom not having any books at DRA>38. I look that up as being ~end of 3rd grade level. DD reads science books and then integrates the information she learned in the books that I look up to be ~7th grade level. She's also devouring fiction that on the scholastic "book alike" tool are leveled at 6-7 grade level. She clearly understands the plot, integrates new vocabulary she learns from the books into her speech, and draws parallels with other things she's read.
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#12 of 20 Old 02-20-2010, 12:54 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I personally feel my previous post kind of distracts from what I hoped to learn from this thread: what does reading instruction look like in second grade? I'm asking because I strongly suspect DD has not received any, and hasn't for at least a year, if not longer. Of course, I'm not entirely sure what I'm looking for in figuring out if she's receiving any reading instruction in the classroom beyond reading Horrible Harry to herself 10000 times. I'm prepping for this IAP meeting where we need to cogently describe our perspective and our goals for DD.
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#13 of 20 Old 02-20-2010, 10:20 AM
 
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Geofizz:

I wish you the best of luck. I can't answer your question--I can talk preschool because of my parenting experience or high school from my professional experience--but I wanted to wish you luck. I also wanted to say (and you probably already know this) that if the teacher can't tell you very specifically what the reading program is in her classroom and what reading instruction your daughter is getting, that's a huge problem. The NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress) which tests samples of high school seniors around the country every year has found literacy rates falling for decades.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of mediocre (and worse) teachers out there. Also unfortunately, the push of NCLB (No Child Left Behind law) has really had schools focusing on bringing up the bottom. As a teacher of honors students, I see this all the time... the bright kids (gifted and otherwise) are left to their own devices, because there's no triage needed. The kids whose parents are strong advocates for them (or, at the high school level, who self-advocate) are the ones who get closer to receiving what they need. Squeaky wheel still gets the grease...

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#14 of 20 Old 02-21-2010, 10:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your perspective, Stacey. Rest assured, literacy isn't optional in this house.

A friend scanned some reading comprehension work that came home with her son this week -- same school district. It was something I've never seen before. A few paragraphs on a particular topic, and then a few questions about what was presented. Despite DD's reading level, she would have found the writing part difficult because it would have required transcribing new words (spelling) and getting capitalization and punctuation right in places.
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#15 of 20 Old 02-21-2010, 03:26 PM
 
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A few paragraphs on a particular topic, and then a few questions about what was presented. Despite DD's reading level, she would have found the writing part difficult because it would have required transcribing new words (spelling) and getting capitalization and punctuation right in places.
Reading is a seperate section from the spelling, capitalization & punctuation. Being able to read doesn't mean they understand sentence structure. However, capitalization/punctuation is stuff that should be being taught to her now(if it isn't). If reading ability is the only part she seems advanced in then getting her into a G&T program is going to be harder.

Math is tricker to give advanced work than Reading as they need to know the concepts of the easier stuff before they should move on. Even if she can do say Grade 4 math, if she doens't understand the concepts of Grade 2 & 3 math she will struggle in Grade 6 math. (especially with how they do math now)
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#16 of 20 Old 02-21-2010, 03:47 PM
 
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I'm asking because I strongly suspect DD has not received any, and hasn't for at least a year, if not longer.
In our district, the way the reading specialist explained things to me was that K is "teaching pre-reading skills", 1st is "really learning to read" and 2nd is "becoming a fluent reading". So what this translates into in our district is that if your child is already a fluent reader before 2nd, they are often left to coast through 2nd grade. I think this K-2 reading progression is pretty typical.

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#17 of 20 Old 02-21-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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I'll try to answer your question. Dd is not in public school and they don't have accelerated classes because it's a private school with academic minimums that require testing to get in. In essence, the kids are accelerated to some extent, but not necessarily gifted. My dd sounds just like yours in regards to reading ability so I'll describe what she is doing in her class. She does not complain of being bored in class. Also, she is in one-way language immersion (in the US), so she gets only 1 hour of English Language Arts per day and the rest of instruction is in the target language. For that reason, general "reading" as part of other subjects is a not relevant, as it's not done in English.

This year, 2nd grade, they have been working on the elements of prose. They are learning about subject, verb, adjective, adverb and how to identify them. They've been looking at what the different parts of a novel are and their purpose in the story: blurbs, TOC, summaries, chapters, paragraphs, etc. They've also been learning about "the moral of the story" (as dd puts it) and thinking about what the book is trying to teach them. I think this is one of the best aspects of this school as they stress critical thinking from a very early age. They are also learning about poetry, but I'm not sure to what extent.

In class, most of the time is instruction. However, they do get together by twos and read a chapter book together, then have to answer questions about what they've read. Dd is usually partnered up with a child that is not as strong of a reader and dd does the reading out loud. In some cases, when she's paired with an equal reader they will just read the books to themselves (because it's faster, she says).

Before winter break, they had to write their own "novel" with correct punctuation, spelling (using a dictionary to look up words, so that is part of what is being taught), and capitalization. This was probably under 300 words total, and it also included illustrations.

They also have spelling words each week. These are words like "confusion", "punishment", "equipment", "adventurous", "enormous", "previous". In each case, they study the rules of these "word families".

Homework is reading 20 minutes each night and each week there is a homework assignment that they have a whole week to complete. This past week it was to research the Winter Olympics and write a report on them. The report stressed things like introductory paragraph, how to use paragraphs, and drawing a conclusion of the topic.

HTH you to see what other 2nd graders are doing. ETA: I realize in re-reading that I included a lot more than just reading, but since for dd, "English" is all included in one class, it's hard to separate what is specifically for reading instruction, what is writing, and what would be considered general language arts. At this level, I don't really know what exactly would be instruction specific to reading, as all the kids are reading and it's a matter of just reading to become more fluent. They were taught all of the tools to be able to read (phonics, etc.) in Kindy. Sorry if this isn't helpful.
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#18 of 20 Old 02-21-2010, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Reading is a seperate section from the spelling, capitalization & punctuation. Being able to read doesn't mean they understand sentence structure. However, capitalization/punctuation is stuff that should be being taught to her now(if it isn't). If reading ability is the only part she seems advanced in then getting her into a G&T program is going to be harder.
Yup, so even doing a reading comprehension task below her reading skills, she can still be challenged and work on some of those skills.

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Math is tricker to give advanced work than Reading as they need to know the concepts of the easier stuff before they should move on. Even if she can do say Grade 4 math, if she doens't understand the concepts of Grade 2 & 3 math she will struggle in Grade 6 math. (especially with how they do math now)
On the math: The teacher requested this IAT after several discussions with me and DD individually because she can't meet DD's needs. Everyone is in agreement that she does not need to be learning new strategies on adding anymore. Got it. Her IQ is testing out as something greater than 141 (highest score on the test they gave), and her non-verbal reasoning and logic were her highest segment. So, while we haven't taught her the mechanics of math beyond what has been taught in the classroom, she has an intuition for much more complex math concepts.

The gifted program at this point is not going to help us much. It's pretty much a social skills class in 2nd and 3rd grade. We need her needs met in the classroom. ETA: Where the gifted program will help is in getting the gifted teacher paying attention to what DD does in her classroom, which is what we need. Right now, the gifted teacher has no "ownership" of DD's education.

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Originally Posted by egoldber View Post
In our district, the way the reading specialist explained things to me was that K is "teaching pre-reading skills", 1st is "really learning to read" and 2nd is "becoming a fluent reading". So what this translates into in our district is that if your child is already a fluent reader before 2nd, they are often left to coast through 2nd grade. I think this K-2 reading progression is pretty typical.
This is what I suspect to be where we're at. She's been a fluent reader since 6 weeks after the start of kindergarten.

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Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I'll try to answer your question.

<snip>

HTH you to see what other 2nd graders are doing. ETA: I realize in re-reading that I included a lot more than just reading, but since for dd, "English" is all included in one class, it's hard to separate what is specifically for reading instruction, what is writing, and what would be considered general language arts.
That was VERY helpful. Thank you. Especially as we start to look at private school options. And their financial aid packages.

I'm starting to think that DH and I need to consider "home school" supplementation options.
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#19 of 20 Old 07-22-2012, 04:40 AM
 
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I teach second grade and would be very surprised (and appalled!) if there's no reading aloud or answering questions about texts in your daughter's classroom!

 

We use a basal reader and concentrate on one story each week. On Monday, I introduce new vocabulary and try to help build background knowledge so that the kids can identify with the story. We also preview the story- its genre, its author, the author's purpose, the author's style, etc. On Tuesday, I read the story aloud to the students, stopping to discuss key parts of it- story elements, graphics, word choice, etc. On Wednesday the students partner read the story and discuss it. On Thursday, I play the story on a CD and have students follow along before we discuss it again. On Friday, they have a test on the story (20 questions- most multiple choice, a few constructed response). Throughout the week they are also writing about the story- creating Venn diagrams, writing a summary, breaking it down into sequential parts or main idea and details, describing their favorite parts, creating alternate endings, writing letters to a favorite character, etc. At least twice during the week they answer questions about the story in writing. We also use online sites to further explore topics related to the text (for example, we watch Mynah birds at a virtual zoo or research hedgehogs). During small groups, children are required to read aloud so I can monitor their reading and offer suggestions.

 

What did the teacher say when you asked if they answered questions about the text??

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#20 of 20 Old 07-22-2012, 05:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Welcome to MDC mrsqueenie! I love having the perspective of teachers here.

This is an old thread -- the daughter I was discussing here is about to turn 10 and going into 5th grade.

At this time, we were headed into intevention assistance meetings, a process that we now recognize as the school's circling the wagons. I have no reason to believe that what I was told about DD's education in those meetings was true. I got a very vague response to the direct question, and the teacher was cut off by the principal who told me what every kid in the school receives.

This principal has since retired. Teachers are slowly coming out of their shells. I realize in retrospect that there was quite a bit of professional bullying going on.

This same child has now been placed on an IEP to deal with the fact that she received no instruction at her level in 1st and 2nd grade. She tested at the end of second grade level at the start of first grade (not her level, but where they stopped the test), and at the end of 3rd at the beginning of 2nd. As a result, DD was provided no guided reading instruction, and group instruction was so far below her instructional level that it appears she tuned it all out, bored stiff.

In third grade, she was placed in gifted 4th grade math, but her weak writing skills, long neglected, began to show. By 4th grade, everything fell apart, with the 4th grade teacher and the gifted teacher hollering that something was very, very wrong. I got her tested privately, where she was diagnosed as dyslexic and dysgraphic, while reading beyond the end of the high-school level reading test she took (comprehension + fluency on fiction and non-fiction). She had 10 days on the IEP at the end of 4th grade, after which the intervention specialist pulled me aside to tell me what I stated above -- DD is likely not dyslexic, but suffering the effects of not having been taught appropriately in 1st and 2nd. Ironically, the school is touting its A+ rating this week.

We have also moved our kids to another instructional program in the school (traditional instead of Montessori-esque). DS is entering 2nd grade next month after polishing off the Harry Potter series this summer. I'll be watching much more closely this year, but I know his teacher will not let him fly under the radar, and we already have him under the supervision of the gifted teacher.
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