10-year old cannot read, looking for advice

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by GeetGeet, Jul 30, 2020.

  1. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Jul 30, 2020

    Hi all! Our good friend has home schooled his son and daughter, 10 and 12. The daughter reads very well, but their son is not reading and gets extremely frustrated anytime anyone tries to read with him. He mostly knows his letters and the sounds they make both on their own and in combinations, but some letters trip him up a lot. I have asked him if sometimes letters look funny and he says yes. So, I suspect he might have dyslexia, especially because it runs in the family. His parents are hesitant to send him to school. Even if they did, I think he would be pretty behind his peers and would probably have a really frustrating time. The son really likes technology, but the parents don't want him to get addicted to screens, which I understand. But since he really is drawn to it, I am thinking he might do well with some reading apps for the iPad, at least to start. I did suggest to his parents that they inquire about any special services he might be able to take advantage of at the local school, and I hope they do. But in the meantime, do any of you have any resources or suggestions that might help him? Thanks so much to anyone reading this!
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Has he had a good eye exam with focus on close vision skills? Kids that have trouble reading will sometimes have problems with eye teaming (something that can be corrected).

    In order to comply with the parent's wishes I would try using tracking devices to start. Either by word or by line and see if that is more comfortable for him. I know people don't want kids relying on fingers or pointers to help them track because it "slows" them down, but there isn't anything much slower than not being able to read. This would be the first thing I would try. See if the discomfort with letters and words is physical.

    Then if it is truly dyslexia that runs in the family (not just people dumping a reading problem into the term dyslexia), the approach needs to be different. The child will need a program designed for students with dyslexia. Not all schools supply the right programs at the level necessary to catch students up to where they need to be.
     
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  4. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Thanks--can you recommend a tracking device? Teaching reading is totally unfamiliar to me.
     
  5. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Dyslexia has nothing to do what how letters look or other visual processing difficulties. I agree with a2z about looking into vision and visual processing issues as a first step. But, if this does not resolve the issue and dyslexia is suspected, then the parents would also need to look into phonological processing as an issue. In either case, the local school likely would not offer what this child needs, and they should instead look into hiring a tutor who would utilize appropriate instructional resources, particularly since they homeschool. Most programs are best implemented by someone trained, but there are some that a parent might be able to implement with little background knowledge. Although I have no experience with it myself, I have been told that the Barton Reading System is often used by parents who want to tutor their own dyslexic children.
     
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  6. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Something as simple as a paper to show only one line at a time or a finger or pointer to point and swipe as the word is read is really all that is necessary.

    I knew of a child who saw double up close but didn't know it. One hand over an eye made everything one instead of two.

    Children don't often have close vision tested. Sometimes that is the main thing getting in the way.

    I agree with bella about the tutor who specializes in dyslexia if it is determined that that is truly the problem.

    I urge you to have them get the child's vision tested and have the child tested for learning disabilities and dyslexia.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2020
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  7. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    I'm going to say this as gently as I know how. A child who is ten years old and has failed to learn to read in a small-group or one-on-one environment is not going to learn to read "on his own" with the help of online resources, suggestions or continued instruction by an untrained adult (his mother). He needs testing to search for undiagnosed learning disabilities, and very intensive, systematic instruction by a trained professional.

    There could be so many different things going on right now, and there is no way to know which. He could be learning disabled. He could be dyslexic (although your description of "seeing letters funny" is not at all indictive of dyslexia, the family history of it is more concerning.) He could have had really ineffective instruction ( you mention the sister learning, but she could have been a spontaneous reader -- they do exist.) He may be willful and not interested in reading. It could be a cry for help or attention. It could be a vision problem. He may be simply disinterested. It could be so very many things. It could also be a combination of several.

    At his age, the window for learning this is closing. There is no time to fiddle-around and try this or that, and hope something works. Immediate testing and specialized instruction by a trained professional reading educator is called. There is no time to waste. Developmentally, his window for learning these skills is closing.

    You might want to share this information with his mother. A study by the American Educational Research Association presents this warning sign: A student who can't read on grade level by 3rd grade is four times less likely to graduate by age 19 than a child who does read proficiently by that time.

    "Third grade is a kind of pivot point," said Donald J. Hernandez, the study's author and a sociology professor at Hunter College, at the City University of New York. "We teach reading for the first three grades and then after that children are not so much learning to read but using their reading skills to learn other topics. In that sense if you haven't succeeded by 3rd grade it's more difficult to [remediate] than it would have been if you started before then."

    I can tell you really care and want to help, but online programs and other little "tricks of the trade" like highlight cards or pointing are simply not the answer. Correct diagnosis and elimination of learning disabilities or medical issues, and a learning plan developed and (hopefully) carried out by a trained profession in the observed and documented areas of deficiencies is what is needed.
     
  8. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I have tutored students in reading for a long time. I currently am not doing this. The more I tutored the more I decided to slow down and spend more time at the beginning figuring out what the problem might be. Here are some (but near all) of the ideas.

    1. Vision test...a2z is right on this. I didn't believe it at first either. I found that the right pair of glasses can really change some students. Not always though.

    2. For some students the regular font of black letters on a white background doesn't work. Put a yellow overlay (such as a report cover) over the letters. I have seen for a few children they are amazed at how less blurry things are to them. Unfortunately, this doesn't work with most students.

    3. Phonics...this can often be even more of a killer to a 10 year old than a 6 year old. A 10 year old might be able to sound out the word "piglet", but when it comes up with letters with lots of blends, silent letters etc, he gets crushed by words like "enough" and "because" which really are phonetic if you are thoroughly taught phonics. The thing is the teacher must have the training to know how to teach phonics in an organized way. I would say over 90% of the children I tutored benefited from additional phonics instruction.

    4. A trained professional to analyze what things the child is really lacking. I would spend a lot of time diagnosing the problem. There are dozens of reading problems, so this list is too much to get into right now. Even if I did explain it, I am not sure it would help. Someone really needs the reading training to best do the diagnosis.

    5. Poor vocabulary. Especially when I worked in the inner city, I had some 10 year olds with a vocabulary of a 6 year old. There were so many basic words they really didn't know. It took a lot of teaching and helping them to have the background knowledge to succeed. Some of these children could sound out words, but vocabularies were so poor, they didn't know what these common words meant.

    There is nobody probably more frustrated than a 10 year old who can't read. They really think they are dumb. When they succeed, there is nothing like it. It is not an easy path, and I am afraid this long post is only skimming the surface. Good luck to you.
     
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  9. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    I would like to point out that with a vision problem and a child that is severely behind, fixing the vision issue (glasses or whatever is necessary), isn't a single fix. They still need intense reading instruction because they never were able to benefit from what they had and now they have the emotional issues of struggling to deal with also.
     
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  10. otterpop

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    If parents don’t want to enroll him in school, perhaps they’d consider a tutoring center or program like Kumon a few days a week. He likely needs something systematic to help fill in gaps.

    An online phonics and reading program may also help, especially since he likes technology.
     
  11. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    If you go the route of a tutoring center, I have heard feedback from 2 programs from parents. Most parents that I know haven't liked Kumon for reading. Lots have liked Sylvan much better. Sylvan, I believe is more expensive. Knowing how these 2 are taught and the information you gave about your child, I would say Sylvan is likely to be better. However at those prices, I'd look a lot closer at the program before shelling out that kind of money.
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I would avoid any of those tutoring chains. The best bet is hiring a private tutor, someone well-trained, highly knowledgeable, and with credentials. Having worked at a branch of Sylvan, I can say that they use workbook materials or apps, and they don’t have people who are well-trained enough to provide targeted reading intervention. They also aren’t cheap. There are people all over who have sought out proper training in various intervention programs appropriate for struggling readers. Find one locally and hire them before ever considering a tutoring chain. Those chains are good for kids who might need more general practice, nothing targeted (and even that is debatable), or for high school and college students wanting to do test prep. They’re not good for much else.
     
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  13. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Kumon was the only one I could think of, but I know I’ve heard mixed reviews and there’s no one program I can recommend over any other. I am in an area where many of my students attend these types of programs. Some of them are high kids and their parents want to push them, and some are struggling and they need to catch up. At Kumon, my students do mainly math. We have many, many options around here.

    Hiring a tutor is a good option IF it’s a good tutor. Again, lots of our students have private tutors. Most mainly help with homework and supplement classwork. If the parent can find a tutor who will do systematic phonics instruction, or has experience with a specific reading intervention program, that would be ideal. Our SPED aide used to tutor kids on the side with an actual intervention curriculum and it was really wonderful for low students. But, not everyone tutoring will have that ability or experience.
     

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