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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

New Found Struggles

As I said in a previous post we are taking the final part of our school year to work on weak areas for the children. This had brought out some interesting struggles.

My husband brought to my attention that he himself is dyslexic (I had never noticed because it is not a severe case and he hides it well), and that while we were listening to B (our almost 8 year old) read we realized that his reading is getting worse and not better. He's starting to forget (or just not use) some of the phonics he's previously learned. This led me to do a little research on Dyslexia, and in doing so found that B has many (read nearly all) of the signs of both Dyslexia and Dysgraphia.

I am not one who likes to label a child and so I will not take him in to have him tested for it, nor will I ever tell him he has it or bring it to the attention of others who may work with him. Labels tend to follow children for the rest of their lives and I don't think that's helpful. So our new plan is to go back to the beginning and reteach phonics, SLOWLY and REPETITIVELY, until we are certain that he's got it. I have to remember to be PATIENT with him, and I have set aside a time 2-3 times a week to sit alone with him and work on his phonics, meanwhile I will simply remind him of the phonics rules and guide him through his lessons.

In a way it is a bit of a relief to know that there is a reason for all of his struggles, and while this isn't exactly a cure all, it is at least a step toward progress. I am relieved in a way because this means that I didn't make a mistake in my teaching (though I probably still did), and now that I have an idea of what's going on I can work toward fixing it.

I had noticed many of the signs of dyslexia in him very early, but the signs I noticed early on are also just common mistakes children make (such as reversing b and d, or E and 3, or p and q). Now that he is older and nearly 8 years old still making the same mistakes and then some I think it's time to take action. So without labeling him, I am simply going back and reteaching and hopefully he'll improve. If he does not make improvement by the fall then I will consider taking him in for further testing, I hope it won't come to that. I think that with some patience and steady work we can get him over this hump.

He may struggle with reading always, but if I don't do what I can to help him I don't feel I'm being a good teacher. I'm ok if he's never a speed reader, I'm fine with the idea that he may never enjoy reading and writing, but I am also confident that with love, patience, time and review that he can improve in those areas so that school isn't such a painstaking process for him.


  1. Birbitt: I have 3/4 dyslexics; one really bad. Things I tried: textured letters; 3 D letters; colour co~ordinating sound combinations [as in "ING", "OO", "AE", "PH"]; use of coloured pencils to write with; movement; retell [kid could read, no comprehension! lol] Each dyslexic is dyslexic in their own way. ☺

  2. Birbitt, your son may be past it, but Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons is good for this and also Sequential Spelling, which I believe you were using.

    I am sure the Lord will lead you to find what works best for him.

  3. Thank you both!
    Seeking, I do have Sequential Spelling and we are using it, I just have to get him past the b and d mix ups. Teach your child brought him to tears when we tried to use it before, however I am right now reteaching phonics using a VERY similar program but it's on the computer with just a worksheet for each lesson.

    Ganeida, my little boy has no comprehension as well. I have tried breaking the story up into little parts and he can answer questions about the little parts but as soon as we move on it's gone! I think I may take his reading and reprint it so that certain things are in color (I'm thinking the b,d, silent e which are his 3 worst letters to figure out)

  4. Birbitt: This is painful [done it with lots of kids when I was teaching remedial] but get him to retell in his own words each sentence. The 2nd sentence requires him to repeat the information from the first sentence as well. The 3rd sentence requires info from 1 & 2 etc. The brain has to be retrained to hold on to the information not ditch it as soon as it's worked out the reading. lol The key is to recap, recap, recap. You can't work on meaning until information is being retained. I know you are probably already doing this but look for books with a high interest level for him ~ even if they are a bit beyond him. It will motivate him to remember. I learnt more about bikes, motors & cars than I ever wanted to know with one 5th grader but I got him reading & we both learnt a lot. You are a great mum & doing super.


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