For quite a while now, I’ve told our co-op teachers that my youngest son is a “late-reader”. “He just isn’t reading quite yet,” I would explain to them, and they would reassure me, telling me they understood completely, and they wouldn’t call on him in class to read. Many people would reiterate what I’ve heard a number of times: sometimes it takes boys a little longer to catch on, and some don’t even start until they’re eight years old.
A Struggling Reader
But time kept passing, and he didn’t seem to be improving as much as he should have. So I went to reading workshops, and we began applying techniques I learned. We worked on it all summer, and he was finally reading better. That is, until we took a trip and had a couple of weeks off in August. When we started back, he seemed to have forgotten most of what he had learned.
So I enlisted more help. A friend of mine teaches special education and is qualified to test for reading readiness/reading skills, so she came over to do an evaluation. As it turns out, my son isn’t quite making the connections he should be, so she gave me some ideas to help him out even more. Here are some things we’re doing:
Re-learning the letters kinesthetically – We’ve been going over the alphabet again, beginning with letters he knows well and working towards the ones that he seems to forget. Instead of flashcards, he’s drawing the letters with his finger in flour, sand, or dish soap on a plate, saying the letter, a corresponding word, and the letter sound as he does.
Using a ruler to keep his eyes focused on the line he’s reading – Another suggestion is to cut out a “window” out of a piece of paper so only the current line shows.
Reviewing those sight words – Some words just don’t follow the rules and can’t be sounded out. You can find a list of them here.
Choosing books that are at his level – There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to read a book that’s too difficult. If he misses too many words and is unable to correct himself, we choose a simpler story. When the story seems long to him, we take turns reading; he reads the pages on the left, and I read the ones on the right.
Do you have a struggling reader? What are some things you are doing to help him learn to read?
Photo by woodleywonderworks