Reading Problem...How can I help?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mmswm, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Dec 3, 2008

    Warning: Long

    A little history first. My little sister is 6 years old and in the first grade (she'll be 7 on Monday). She has been in a regular school up until today. My family homeschools, but because my her bio parents rights haven't been terminated (they're about halfway through the tpr proceedings) and my parents have not yet adopted her, they had difficulty getting permission from the courts to homeschool. Well, last week, her pediatrician refered her to the hombound program (for several reasons which are unimportant to the problem at hand) and they had a staffing and she will be homeschooled from now on.

    The little girl is in state custody because of severe emotional, physical and sexual abuse to both her and her three sibilngs. The mother has a documented sub-normal IQ and the father has a low-normal IQ. They were transfered to my parents' custody in the spring of 2007 and the older three siblings have been put in permanant homes with their respective paternal relatives (one mom, 4 different dads). This child's father is the perpetrator, and cannot be placed with his family because of the risk of further contact with him (long story). My parents will adopt her once the TPR is completed.

    All of her older siblings have various learning disabilities to varying degrees. The oldest child could decode beautifully, but had zero comprehension. The second child was completely illiterate at 12 years old. He knew his alphabet, but didn't even know what sounds each of the letters made. He couldn't even read simple CVC words. The 3rd child had some decoding and comprehension issues, but not nearly as severe as her older siblings.

    So, the problem this little girl is having is this: She cannot remember even simple sight words. She can decode words as well as you could expect a normal first grader to be able too (maybe on the low side of normal, but still normal), but she cannot remember sight words. Words like "a" "an" "the" "on", ect., she has to sound out EVERY SINGLE time she sees them. She is otherwise bright and inquisitive. She's by no means gifted, but she's a "normal bright" child. It's incredibly frustrating for her to try to read anything, as everything takes so long to decode. Then she has to go back and re-read every sentence because she missed half of the meaning for all the effort it took to decode the first time. When she does that she STILL has to decode even the simple words. Reading lessons (homework help before now, and now actual instruction) has always ended in tears and a very grumpy little girl.

    My mom asked me to come here and ask for help because, even though she's taught a LOT of kids throughout the years, she's never run into this particular problem. Outside of flashcards, she has no clue what she can do to help this child. My mother is not willing to settle for anything less than "the best". This child WILL learn how to read if it kills both of them, so she says, and mom is willing to do whatever it takes to get her there. She's just not willing to allow this child to be "lost", since she really is a fabulous little girl and otherwise quite capable (she's my kinda girl...soaks up math like a sponge). So, WHAT can we do to help her? Any and all suggestions are welcome. Thanks.
     
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  3. trina

    trina Companion

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    Dec 4, 2008

    I tutor a girl with similar difficulties. I have had good success with the Power Teaching's SuperSpeed 100.
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 4, 2008

    Is it ALL sight words she can't crack, or is it just function words (that is, grammatical words such as articles and prepositions, as opposed to content words like nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs)?
     
  5. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Dec 4, 2008

    Sounds like she's been severely traumatized and that will effect her for a while. I bet after she "settles in" to a new home, feels loved, safe and secure things will start to click.

    An old teacher told me a long time ago that you can't teach a kid anything if their basic needs have not been met, and that's just the truth.

    I'd start off slow, read to her, let her learn to love books, and let her make up stories that go with the pictures in the books. That in itself will help build comprehension. Take her to the library and pick out books. If she has an average intelligence she'll bloom. Keep me posted about her progress and bless your mom for not quitting on a helpless victim.
     
  6. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Dec 4, 2008

    tg, I hadn't thought to look at it that way...I'll pay attention and see...

    hoot...she's been with my parents a year and a half now, so she does have that safety and security for the most part (actually, yesterdays trial stopped all visits from all family memebers...the father's and mothers had been terminated a while ago, but the grandparents still had visits). She's been having learning problems all throughout, but we just figured it had to do more with her situation than anything. Now that things are settling, it's not getting any better. It's also frustrating to the child. That's why we're looking for help.
     
  7. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Dec 4, 2008

    I have a girl in my class who is behind the rest of the group. Someone suggested I put a penny behind a sight word in a pocket chart. She has to read or identify the sight words to get the penny. We do it 5 times and if she does all five, she gets the penny.

    You can put the sight words on construction paper and play memory, go fish or any other game like that.

    You can get little high frequency readers from Scholastic or other places that have the sight words repeated throughout (predictable texts.) Reading A-Z also has these.

    I'm sure there are other things... I'm new to first grade, so that's what I've been doing!
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Dec 4, 2008

    Okay...the problem is with all words, not just the articles. We read "Dick and Jane" this morning. Even on the last page, she was still sounding out the word "Dick" (I really hope that word doesn't get edited out).

    My dad also pointed something out. It seems, that her teacher told them they had to sound out all words, and she may be doing this because "the teacher said to do it", though I would think after a while she would just know the words.

    MissFroggy, I think we'll try the penny game and memory games. That might be more fun than plain memorization.
     
  9. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Dec 4, 2008

    The teacher told them they have to sound out ALL words? That's someone who didn't fully understand the enterprise, the spelling system, or the language. (I defy anyone to sound out the word sight.)

    You could also try (if it won't cause problems with/for the other kids in the house) finding items around the house that are named with sight words and making labels on cardstock to attach to them. If she can write well enough, perhaps she could make the labels herself, with help.
     
  10. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Dec 4, 2008

    I don't teach primary, but some ideas I have used with struggling older readers may help.

    I like pattern books; the brain takes over and they should "know" what words come next.

    Repeated readings of easy books often helps. I also use choral reading.
     

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