When They Just Aren't Learning to Read

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by KinderCowgirl, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jul 10, 2012

    I have a student now who has just pulled on my heartstrings. He cannot read a lick and just finished 2nd Grade. He knows his sounds/letters, can blend to sound out a word, but literally can't read any sight words and I've spent a lot of time working with him individually this month. When we play sight word memory-he can recognize a match-but can't tell you what the word is. He is actually on grade level for math (failing grades during the year because he couldn't read the questions on the assessments :().

    I really want to tutor this kid next year (he'll be repeating 2nd Grade). I won't be his regular teacher, so having him referred is not an option. We also don't have any kind of counselor/intervention team, etc. I know that's usually the first suggestion.

    I hear about teachers getting kids to grow grade levels in a year-how do they do that? :confused: Are there any resources/ideas that have worked for you guys in the past?
     
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  3. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I wish I knew!! I had two like the one you describe last year (in one class!!). I tried everything I could come up with and much that came from others (our coordinator is a former reading coach). It turns out that both students have sickle cell and probably had strokes as infants, which seriously affected their reading retention (one girl couldn't even read the word "I." One girl's parents refused to allow her to be placed in SPED, while the other girl's parents are pushing for her to be in a self-contained SPED class. I will be avidly reading the responses to this question!
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 10, 2012

    No testing services?
     
  5. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    No. It's very hard for us to get a referral done. His teacher this year, I believe, just kind of wrote him off-there was no documentation. His teacher next year might do it-but that means he still wouldn't get tested until probably the following year-if the file doesn't get "lost".

    I want to do some after school tutorials with him and am looking for ideas of how to help.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sad. It just seems negligent to have no paper trail and no services. :(
     
  7. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jul 10, 2012

    I had a student like this last year. He ended the year at a level I, which is where 2nd-graders are supposed to be at the beginning of the year. He only grew 4 levels all year. It was so frustrating...It felt like nothing I did worked!

    He did receive Title 1 serviced all year, and he went through the referral process. He qualified for SPED in May, and will begin the year working with the LD teacher. I'm so excited for him. :)

    Sorry I can't really give you any advice...It sounds like he REALLY needs a referral, though! Something isn't connecting the way it should up there...
     
  8. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jul 11, 2012

    I have had paper trails for miles and fought to get kids tested, but nothing was done, even when I called people "higher up". Part of the problem was that they wouldn't stay in a school long enough and they'd just start over at the new school. Many of these kids would be in two to five different schools each year.

    We also had a limit on how many kids we could monitor. :dizzy: AND, the kids already in special ed were automatically counted in that number. That was a crazy district thing though. I monitored all of my kids below grade level, and kept meticulous records. For all the good it did.

    It's horrible when your hands are tied.
     
  9. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Jul 11, 2012

    So what are his specific skill deficits? You mention he can decode letters/combos and blend them into words, so that's reading to some degree :). Can he blend all levels of complexity of regular words, or just simple (e.g., CVC) words? With sight words, is he struggling with both regular and irregular words? What has your intervention/instruction structure been for teaching irregular sight words - e.g., are you teaching a few at a time, starting with easier ones? Does he know some sight words but not all?
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    He can sound out more the regular words. I only had him for a total of 18 days for summer school. Since they need to pass a high frequency test to pass, that was my focus for him. I played all different kinds of games with the tactile words, slap, memory, sight word hopscotch outside, etc. I would do just a few at a time and we'd go over those in different ways, but he still never gained a recognition of them.

    Of course, I'm also reading with him individually in leveled readers (the ones I use in Kinder), so it's not all just sight word recognition. We're doing a lot of visual activities in whole group-songs/poems that are the same every day so they make that word connection. He can sound out a word to write it if I'm sitting right next to him and help him unblend it. Like he can write "let" (although he does sometimes get letters confused-especially vowel sounds). It's like I see at the Kinder level-but he should be starting 3rd Grade. He became a behavior issue for his teacher last year and spent a lot of time just sent to the office/in other classrooms (he was once sent to Kinder because "that's where he belongs anyway"). He's frustrated and I think very misunderstood. I haven't had any problems behaviorally this summer-he really wants to learn-was devastated he wasn't passing.

    I saw this before last year with a student I was almost positive was dyslexic. He was labeled GT and I think he authentically was, he just couldn't read and I felt very helpless to help him as well. I know there have to be strategies out there......
     
  11. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jul 11, 2012

    We have great luck with getting kids tested if a parent requests the testing. Any chance of getting mom to write a letter to the school?

    I would really look at the multisensory approach to sight words. With a few of my struggling students, we pick three sight words. We focused on just these words, writing them in sand, jelly, shaving cream, skywriting, on our jeans...basically anything we could get our hands on. We did silly things like aRe and Be, to help with easier ones.

    Then we would play speed read, where I would have the sight words that they know in a pile. The students would try to read as many as they can in a minute. In the beginning, I wrote each sight word multiple times. As we progressed, I took out the multiples, but always let the words in.

    You may want to suggest to mom having his vision checked. It may be that he has an eye disorder of some kind that turns letters or scrambles words. Just something to rule out.
     
  12. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    I agree-but I have no control over the system-I'm just trying to do what I can, which is possibly help this kid with interventions. We have a 2% cap on what the district will label as Special Ed (that includes speech). It is almost impossible to get a kid referred. I'm also afraid next year's teacher, having already formed the same opinion about this kid as her neighbor will also just write him off. There's nothing I can do about it. I've kids in my class I've tried to advocate for and nothing happens.
     
  13. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    To me that sounds like a violation of federal law because children who need it aren't being served.

    I had a child who was adopted but the adoptive parents knew that the child's mother had been a drug addict during pregnancy. The child seemed okay until learning her letters, etc. She had no short term memory, I think. You could show her a letter, have her repeat it numerous times while tracing it, etc. etc. and if you asked her 5 minutes later she would look at you like she had never seen it before. It was strange and disturbing - like everything was new all the time. At the elementary level, they have therapists working with her to try to create new neural pathways.
     
  14. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Jul 11, 2012

    Is there home support? That is often a factor
     
  15. TerriInCa

    TerriInCa Companion

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    Jul 11, 2012

    My son is Special Needs

    I know laws differ from state to state BUT!

    The parents have to fight to get the kids tested!

    I did that for my son when he was 3 and had speech delays.

    He "tested" out of speech in Kinder but had a "OK" year in Kinder.

    Once he was in 1st it was all down hill. He learned the sigh words but that was it! He left Kinder hating school and unable to read.

    My husband & I fought all year to get him BACK in speech & tested. By the end of the school year he had had the full battery of tests and qualified for Special Ed.

    I cried when I found out he needed to be in a special classroom for 2nd grade. I am a teacher! Why cant he learn!

    But 2nd grade made him LOVE school again. He can read now! He is at the beginning of 2nd grade reading level and is looking forward to school starting in the fall with the same teacher too.

    It was the best thing for him. But it only happened because My husband and I made it happen, not because the teachers knew he needed help.
     
  16. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    Jul 11, 2012

    I had my first "real" experience with the SPED testing process this year, because my former (now retired) principal didn't believe in Universal Screening tests (required by the district/state/feds) because, in his words "we don't have children like that here." Can you imagine??? In 2010-11, I had a child who was repeating 1st grade. He barely knew the alphabet, and by the end of 1st, despite multiple layers of interventions by (1) his first 1st grade teacher the year before, (2) me, (3) our SPED inclusion teacher (also trained in READWELL), and (4) our reading coach, could only read a few cvc words, and those with no consistency. Because he was a repeater, it was required that he go through the SBLC (SPED testing) process. At one meeting, my former P told the parents (1) that he would expedite the process (he didn't) and (2) that I would have to come up with more effective interventions. That was his response! In 2011-12, with a new P, this child finally went through the "real" process, and at the end of the year, was accepted into SPED!!! At the end of 2nd grade!! We had been trying since he was in K.

    On to 2011-12 and my classroom. The new P insisted on Universal Screening (which I now agree with, but had never heard of until 11 weeks into the school year). Of 18 kiddos in my classroom, SIX scored low enough to go through the SBLC and Universal Screening (Aimsweb) progress monitoring process. Of those 6, I (with the support of their parents) dropped 2 from the process because they made HUGE gains and ended up on grade level. Of the remaining 4, 1 is still low and will continue to be monitored in case she needs services (she made many gains, but not to grade level), and 2 were approved for self-contained SPED classrooms (they had both had strokes as infants and could not retain words at all).

    The last child happened to be the son of our school counselor. In spite of (1) his K teacher requesting that he be tested for learning disorders, (2) growing evidence that the child has some kind of learning or psychological disorder, he REFUSED to allow his child to go through the correct process - in fact, he circumvented the process, insisting that instead, his child be treated as if he received 504 services so that he wouldn't be labeled "SPED." No one at our school (I'm speaking of the kids) knows who is sped and who isn't - the inclusion teachers work with several kiddos - not just their inclusion kids (this is by design). In my mind, (1) he is hurting his son by preventing him from receiving aid that could really improve his learning and (2) I think he broke the law!!!

    :sorry: This has been a bone of contention for me for a long time. My nephew is Autistic, and has been helped more ways than I can count by the SPED department in his district!! :soapbox:
     
  17. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    The 2nd grade teacher in the classroom next to mine has 4 children at our school. Her two oldest (girls) both have learning difficulties that were slow to be diagnosed. She went through this grieving process as well. Luckily, both of her girls are now receiving help and are doing better! Her son was in my class last year and is solidly average, and her youngest daughter is entering K this coming year, and is brilliant - already reading!
     
  18. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Jul 11, 2012

    Mopar hit the solution I've used in the past. You can not, as a school employee, tell the parent to request testing, but you can tell the parent what's going on with their child and explain that if she requests testing, it's more likely to happen.

    _________________________
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  19. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    So it sounds like he does have some reading skills, but that they're breaking down at a certain point. It sounds like he can decode and write CVC regular words, but it having trouble with irregular words (even simple ones). I'm guessing he would have difficulty with more complicated (though regular) words (e.g., CCVCC words)?

    If this is the case, I agree with mopar with identifying a very specific set of words to focus on (based on an assessment of where his skills are breaking down), and work on just those 3 (or however many) until they are masted, "folding in" previously mastered words for review. Start with the most basic words (e.g., "the") and word toward more complex words on the dolch list for his grade.

    From there, I'd monitor progress and see his rate of improvement. If you are working on 3 words for a week and he still hasn't mastered those, that would be of more concern obviously than if he were able to master those, but with more effort than usual.

    It can be really helpful to invest in a curriculum that structures the process of reading intervention for you, as coming up with materials, determining skill sequences, etc. can be time consuming. For example, a teacher manual for SPIRE from EPS costs under $30, and a student book about the same. If there were somehow funds, I would imagine you could get some good things going for under $100, including a few multi-sensory components such as what mopar suggested. There are also a bunch of free ways for kids to practice skills in a multi-sensory format.
     
  20. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    I know it's out of your control and probably already know his, but the 2% limit is completely illegal and against federal guidelines. A lawsuit easily waiting to happen :)
     
  21. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Unfortunately, no. There are 5 kids altogether, another on the way-they all have academic difficulties. I don't think they are really being worked with at home.

    I actually don't feel comfortable talking to this parent about writing a letter because he isn't officially and won't be my student-I taught him for summer school. I'm just hoping to try to tutor him next year.

    Like I said, it's the system we work in, I can't change it. I'm just trying to find a solution that works with what I can do.

    Mopar-thanks for the suggestions. Will definitely keep those in mind as I plan for next year. :thumb:
     
  22. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

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    Jul 11, 2012

    Kinder-google Paige Pullen at the University of Virginia and/or Holly Lane at the University of Florida. They have developed a program called The University of Florida Literacy Initiative or UFLI. It is researched based and has been shown to make years of gains in months time. I have done intensive work with this program and it DOES WORK!
     
  23. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Thank you very much! I will definitely look into that! :thanks:
     
  24. lisacal

    lisacal New Member

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    I'm a parent of a dyslexic daughter, and a few games she really loved and helped her learn sight words used multi sensory learning. We would put letters on the ground, and have her walk to the next letter in the word, or hop, or crab walk, etc. We also made letters out of play dough. We use bananagram tiles a lot. She also use sand, shaving cream and other ideas like mopar suggested.
     
  25. TAKlinda

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    Jul 27, 2012

     

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