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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I'm happy to have found this place!

We've been attending a Waldorf school. Our 8 year old daughter (the oldest) will be entering 3rd grade soon and I have some questions regarding her reading and writing. Hopefully some of you with older children in Waldorf can provide us with some suggestions.

At 8 my daughter is still having difficulty reading and writing and it causes her great anxiety. She commonly reverses letters and struggles a great deal with reading often omitting or misreading small words, even small words which she otherwise has sight recognition for.
For example during a reading session with me she had no problem with "Ancient Library" but struggled with "they".

Interestingly, after a couple of pages (and much crying and gnashing of teeth), she'll ususally be more calm and do much better than at the start of the session. It seems that she needs to expend and expel her anxiety before she can adequately concentrate on the task. We're generally very relaxed about our expectations and endeavor for her to seek her own level of accomplishment for a task. This is something she has indicated she wants to do well, but seems intimidated by.
That being said there's an underlying physical component as well, she has an optical prescription due to convergance issues, and certainly some of her issues can be attributed to this.

So, my question is what strategies have some of you used to increase the comfort level of reading for your child\ren? Any physical resource suggestion in the form of books or flash cards or the like appreciated as well, friendly software progams too... we're limited media, not anti... heck, we're pro-media if it helps our child
.
 

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Hi Djheater,
Welcome to Mothering!

I'm no expert on reading difficulties so I'm just going to put out a few thoughts...

How is her writing? Can she write a little story herself and then read it back? That might be a helpful exercise.

You might also try taking turns reading a book with a really absorbing and exciting story. To start with you would read a couple of pages and then she would read a short paragraph. After a few days of this, with no pressure and as much pleasure as possible linked with the content, gradually start increasing her share and decreasing your share.

I'm just getting the feeling that the difficulty is partly emotional and if reading was associated with fun and excitement rather than effort, struggle and failure...

There is a leap that has to happen from not really reading easily to reading easily and what makes that leap possible varies from child to child.

Also, those little words can be very tricky! Notice in the posts here and elsewhere, how often people make mistakes in simple little words like the and it and for and from, while generally doing fine on longer, more complex words. This breaks down again when you get to really big, complicated and unusual terminology, of course.

Feel free to ignore everything I write. I really am not an expert on reading stuff. Just a good reader from a family of good readers.

Deborah
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you Deborah, I'm just happy someone responded

I get the feeling from other posts that most posters are from "beginning Waldorf" perspective and not many have Waldorf kids that are the same age.
I like your positive reinforcement suggestion.

I wanted to mention that our teacher is wonderful. We have discussed this issue with her at the end of last year, and will be talking to her again about it soon. I know she was very concerned about it last year, but my wife talked to her recently and apparently, after going through the third grade training, she feels a lot more comfortable with her reading abilities.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by djheater
I wanted to mention that our teacher is wonderful. We have discussed this issue with her at the end of last year, and will be talking to her again about it soon. I know she was very concerned about it last year, but my wife talked to her recently and apparently, after going through the third grade training, she feels a lot more comfortable with her reading abilities.
Thank you for making clear that you are in communication with the class teacher on this. In my experience (two grade 1-8 waldorf students, third one entering grade seven next month), there are always children in each class not reading well as they enter grade 3, and frequently there are children not reading at all entering grade 3.

The key question, of course, is whether these delays are are just delays or if they're caused by something that needs immediate remediation, and whether the school is able (or, in some cases, willing) to make this judgment and take action where needed. Our school has become much more aggressive about referring children to our support group in the past few years, and we are blessed with trained reading specialists on the faculty and with two graduates of waldorf remedial training in the school.

If your class teacher is relatively inexperienced, ask to meet with more experienced faculty, or talk with parents in grades four or five about their experiences.

Just a few ideas. Best of luck, David
 

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Found this article online. It is oriented towards younger children, but it may be helpful with her focus on healthy physical development as a basis for reading and other academic activities.

http://www.schoolmoves.com/pages/johnson_art.html

Quote:
There is a developmental progression of sensory-motor skills that a young child needs to master in the first 7 years of life. Despite what we think, learning is not "all from our head". It is the movements of our body in utero, through infancy and childhood, and even adulthood that form the neural pathways in our mind that we later use to read, write, spell, do math, and think in an imaginative and creative way. I see countless numbers of children in my practice who have been diagnosed with "ADD" or "learning disabilities" who miraculously improve when they are taken out of an "academic" kindergarten or given an extra year in a developmental kindergarten that emphasizes movement and the integration of their sensory-motor systems.
article is by Susan R. Johnson, MD, FAAP, Raphael House, 10/29/04, No. 30

I think she may be an anthroposophically trained physician, but I don't know her.

Deborah
 

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Hello djheater

I used to do work with struggling beginning readers. These were public ed students, not WE, so my only perspective of WE is as a parent myself. There are different 'tricks' I'd use sometimes, depending on the particular student and what kinds of reading problems they had.

Did your child's teacher have much of a sense about what kinds of struggles your child seemed to have? I don't think letter reversal is that significant, not at age 8. Some letters, such as 'b' and 'd', tend to be the hardest for some children, and there are 'tricks' you can try for helping students keep them sorted out. But this problem in itself doesn't usually make new students struggle overly much in reading.

Would you guess that your child is more anxious about reading because she's a bit perfectionist about it? Or that it doesn't make sense to her? Or is it perhaps that she deep down is a little scared, like she's 'working without a net' and doesn't really know how to read? I ask because smart children can be excellent guessers, and can guess words they can't really read in isolation, as may or may not be the case in 'ancient library'.

Is your daughter's convergence corrected by the prescription?
 

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My youngest is entering 3rd grade too. She seems to be reading okay but is not quite fluent yet. I anticipate that within a couple of months she will be reading more on her own and chapter books like her big brother did in 3rd grade.

Your daughter sounds like she is in the middle of the pack in regards to starting 3rd grade readers. She sounds like her anxiety is making it more difficult to concentrate. I like the suggestion someone had of switching pages back and forth with her. That way she gets breaks and if it is an exciting story, she can relax into it.

Good luck! Let us know how the reading progresses as the year goes on!
 

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Just posted on another thread and though I would share here too.

The book "Overcoming Dyslexia" by Sally Shaywitz

as well as "Parenting a Struggling Reader" by Hall and Moats

are excellent resources reflecting current reading reading research.

'dyslexia' just means difficulty reading so don't be put off by the title.

good luck!
 
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