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kimmyann1147
09-06-2016, 11:38 AM
Hi All,

I'm starting this as a place to document our progress (or lack-thereof? Please please no!!!) as we begin more regimented, remedial reading instruction.

DS 8 (Birthday in June)...I started teaching him reading skills when he was 5. He has hated it ever since, and we've been "on a break" for a long time. We've tried more traditional phonics instruction, sight word practice, and reading highly predictive texts "my puppy likes the flowers, my puppy likes the trees, my puppy likes the leaves", and reading the rhyming line in familiar couplets from Dr. Seuss etc. DS tires very quickly, and frequently inserts sounds that are not part of the written word. It's a bit of a mystery to me what is going on with that.

DH is the primary homeschooling parent, and I'm adjunct at this point. DH has him practice reading, but I'm set on introducing synthetic phonics systematically starting NOW. Until recently, reading instruction has been casual and haphazard, and I now wonder if part of his issue is lack of complete instruction. I will be using phonics4free, a simple, mostly free program that has a few downloads for practice games and such.

We have also decided to bite the bullet on vision therapy. I had him rechecked last week, and yes, 1 year later, he still has significant "binocularity issues", meaning his eyes don't work together well. We haven't had our first vision therapy apt yet.

kimmyann1147
09-06-2016, 11:41 AM
Yesterday we did some exercises with the sounds "oo", "ee", "sh", "ch", and "th". This should all be review for him. We reviewed the sounds these combinations make and then I asked him to read single words on flashcards, about 12 words total. He was silly, avoidant, and argumentative, but when he finally accepted that he was going to have to do it, his lack of ability was shocking. Letter combinations are really confusing for him, he's just not seeing them.

Today, I'm going to have him do an exercise where he looks at words with "oo", circles the "oo", and then reads the word.

Mariam
09-06-2016, 12:37 PM
If you want a place to just keep track of things and not have a discussion about them, I suggest going to the blog section. You can find the blog section here: http://www.secularhomeschool.com/blogs/all/

You can post there to keep track of things.

If you have questions, let us know that too, as I am confused and others may be too.

kimmyann1147
09-07-2016, 11:55 AM
If you want a place to just keep track of things and not have a discussion about them, I suggest going to the blog section. You can find the blog section here: http://www.secularhomeschool.com/blogs/all/

You can post there to keep track of things.

If you have questions, let us know that too, as I am confused and others may be too.


Thanks, Mariam, I think I'm as confused as you are. I'm looking for support because I'm devastated by my son's lack of progress in reading. But I'm also looking for a way to track and stay on target. Feedback keeps me motivated. :) But I haven't been very active here on these boards, so I'm looking for feedback about where this kind of post should live. Sounds to me like the blog area might be most appropriate, but then, I'm wanting some feedback too... :)

alexsmom
09-07-2016, 12:44 PM
When do you start the vision therapy? I would consult with that therapist about the reading issue.

And I hear you loud and clear about the silly, avoidant, argumentative behavior from 8 year old boys. It might be that the reading is too hard for him.

You may need to try different approaches until you find one that meshes with your son.

With writing and 8yo boys, we are told by various 'experts' that they dont have the fine motor skills, strength, or endurance to do the physical act of writing in addition to composing and holding their thoughts.
I imagine reading is much the same way. If he is struggling to just make sense of what he is seeing, he isnt going to be able to grab phoenetic decoding skills at the same time.

There are other parents here who have kids with vision therapy - search the site for vision therapy.

If your husband has been trying to teach him to read for the last few years, Im going to guess that the run of the mill phonics approach isnt going to work.

As a homeschooling parent, we get tuned in to when our kids are grasping a concept and when it's a bit beyond them. As frustrating as it is, it might be that your son isnt being obnoxious when it comes to learning his reading, but that it is beyond his capability for the moment. (Not saying he isnt intelligent enough, just that not everything is in place for him to learn it yet.)

Free Thinker
09-07-2016, 12:50 PM
I do think you should come up with a strategy and stick to it for several months, sometimes skipping around is even more confusing. All kids learn at different rates and ages, but at 8 I do think it's a good idea to start the vision therapy. I would also want to check for dyslexia if you haven't already. I can't tell by your post if it's a matter of him not being taught, a memory issue, a focus issue, ect. It may be a matter of just maturity, or it could be more developmental. Good luck figuring it out! We are using Logic of English- you can get their game cards and game book for ideas for phonics games. That said, one of mine just gets confused by all phonics instruction- the rules get too complicated, and she did better w/ Sound Foundations (Dancing Bears and APples and Pears).

Mariam
09-07-2016, 01:34 PM
Thanks, Mariam, I think I'm as confused as you are. I'm looking for support because I'm devastated by my son's lack of progress in reading. But I'm also looking for a way to track and stay on target. Feedback keeps me motivated. :) But I haven't been very active here on these boards, so I'm looking for feedback about where this kind of post should live. Sounds to me like the blog area might be most appropriate, but then, I'm wanting some feedback too... :)

For the forums, give us some info and ask your questions. For tracking, use the blogs. Sometime there might be some duplicate info, but that is ok! This way, if it is in the forums then we know you have questions that you want to talk about. If it is in the blog it is more for sharing and tracking, but not necessarily for major discussions. :)

TFZ
09-07-2016, 05:05 PM
If his eyes cannot focus on the words you will not see a lot of progress no matter what program you are using. I had a few students when I was teaching 1st grade with, what at first seemed to be, severe behavioral problems and learning delays. With glasses and vision therepy I saw a HUGE difference with two boys I can think of. One did not bring the glasses daily, and I swear it was like having two completely different kids. ONE frustrated and angry, the other was not an angel but a good little helper and excited to learn.

Im not trying to come down on you. The kids can't even communicate how frustrating it is because they don't know what it's like to be able to see easily and clearly. And you might not even realize the severity because kids develop amazing coping skills that hide their differences. I would urge you to take care of the vision before pushing him to read and/or circle what he may not even be able to see clearly.

TFZ
09-07-2016, 05:46 PM
"Letter combinations are really confusing for him, he's just not seeing them."

This really says it all. He may not be able to see the difference between sh, th, and ch because he literally may not be able to see it.

pdpele
09-07-2016, 06:01 PM
Hi Kimmyann! Just thought I'd chime in and suggest waiting on regular reading practices until after the vision therapy and after you figure out if you/he are dealing with a learning disability in reading (aka dyslexia) or only the vision issue or...something else. If you have issues going on, but don't know what they are or how to adjust your learning to read methods you're just going to be banging your heads against a wall. (Hah! We've done that quite literally in my house at times!!!)

Here's a great website for dyslexia red flags and just great videos and information:

Bright Solutions for Dyslexia | Home (http://www.dys-add.com/)

Here's a handout:

https://bartonreading.com/pdf/Dys-warning-signs1.pdf

kimmyann1147
09-08-2016, 11:45 AM
Thanks, everyone. To clarify, DS's vision is excellent. But his eye coordination is not. He can see fine (20/15 vision), but coordinating reading is a different thing. He loses his place and feels like his eyes jump ahead. He also makes a lot of assumptions instead of seeing "the code". We reviewed ch and sh a few days ago, then he read the word "heel" as "sheel". He's guessing and making assumptions.

Free Thinker hit the nail on the head. Right now I have no idea what the issue is. Attention, vision, maturity, dyslexia...all of the above?

My work schedule hasn't allowed me to work with him with phonics this week at all, but he and DH had their first official school day yesterday. He read 1/2 of Hop on Pop, and according to DH "did very well", and then he read a sentence from a more difficult text before asking to stop because he was too tired.

Last night in bed he told me he hates working on phonics, and he much prefers just reading to learn to read. But progress has been so slow using this strategy, it's really got me worried.

Looks like the majority opinion here is to wait until we get some professional assessment before rushing headlong into a power struggle. Probably good advice. It's been 6 days since the ophthamologist put in the vision therapy referral. I'll call them on Monday if I haven't heard anything.

crazyme
09-08-2016, 12:35 PM
Take a deep breath and slowly exhale: it will be okay. I mean that very sincerely. It is hard because it is the strongest measure people use to judge us and our decision to HS, but there is no magic number of when he is suppose to read.

On AVERAGE, the human brain is ready to read at 8 years old.

My son, 9, almost 10, is not a fluent reader. He really only became somewhat comfortable reading last year. And comfortable does not equate love or even like at this point. But I read to him every night and he LOVES stories, so first and foremost, I think that is the most important thing. I'm sure you are already doing that, so WIN! See, you are further ahead than you thought. My oldest had great success reading one sentence out of every page, then every paragraph, etc. out of Harry Potter. This does not work with my youngest.

We are muddling through, too. You are not alone, your son is not alone. I know that PS would probably have had him reading earlier, but most likely at the cost of him liking too, as it would be so forced. And here are some stories to make you feel better if you start to doubt and be frustrated: PS kindergarten couldn't teach my son to read--his teacher was flabbergasted on how to reach him (she was an excellent teacher, too, with years of experience, experience working with the whole spectrum of children, and the class only had three kids in it); in the last week, I have met two PS 4th graders that don't read fluently; I picked up a book for my son's BF (4th gr. PS) because it was a subject he loves, I told his mom that I forgot to check the reading level and she said, "That's okay, we read them together because he likes to pretend he is illiterate." Her joke on the fact that he doesn't read like a fiend.

So repeat after me: It is normal. It is normal. It is normal.

The best part of my slow reader is that I have been able to see all the milestones of literacy (recognizing symbols, wanting to hold a book, etc.). My oldest just took off, from 0 to adult, so I missed a lot of that. And we missed a lot of great books, too, so I'm enjoying that as well.

And finally, we have backed off, tried hard, backed off, eased into, backed off..... Like I said, we are struggling, too. But he is now at a point where he WANTS to learn. Doesn't mean he appreciates the practice, or looks forward to it, but he knows now, in his heart of hearts, that this is what needs to be done.

IEF
09-08-2016, 04:13 PM
I'm unapologetically old school but I'm still going to mention that my neurotypical 8yo boy loves comics, specifically Garfield and Calvin & Hobbes.

The public libraries have them now, but you may have to look in the Young Adult section.

kimmyann1147
09-09-2016, 11:22 AM
Thanks, IEF and Crazyme! It's normal, breathe, it's normal, breathe...it's not that easy to do! And yes, it's time to move the Calvin and Hobbes collection (mine) downstairs.

DH reports that school is going well. I'm so glad he has taken up a more serious commitment to spending dedicated school time. I'm not opposed to unschooling, yes, we are doing that all the time, but I wasn't comfortable with no direct reading and math instruction. They've been doing basically the 3 Rs from 9-11 for a few days and it sounds like it's going well. When I was doing the 2 hr block, wow, I was really burning the candle at both ends. This feels better.

DH reports "he did well" at reading yesterday, but I couldn't get him to read me anything. Not a word. Doesn't want to do it. Dang it. Breathe. Breathe. Breathe. So glad there is another adult in the picture with a totally different relationship with this kid.

mellifera
09-09-2016, 01:19 PM
I second the suggestion to watch the dyslexia signs and symptoms video on the Barton website. That was a lightbulb moment for me--after watching it I made appts. for evals right away.

How is your son's phonemic awareness? Can he rhyme? Can he orally segment the sounds in words? Can he blend sounds together if you give him separate sounds? If you ask him to replace a sound in a word, can he tell you the new word? It might be helpful to try to tease out if the issues are strictly due to vision issues, or if there are also some signs that point to dyslexia.

We ended up using the Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing program (LiPS) to solidify sound/symbol relationships, then went on to the Sound Foundations programs (Dancing Bears, Apples and Pears) for reading and spelling.

Oksana
09-09-2016, 01:26 PM
I have an 8yo struggling with reading as well, and with vision issues. What helps her the most is connecting reading and writing. Once she can spell/write the word/sentence - she can read it. Just oral reading instruction does not go well. So we incorporate a lot of copywork,spelling and writing with our reading instruction.

kimmyann1147
09-10-2016, 10:58 AM
I second the suggestion to watch the dyslexia signs and symptoms video on the Barton website. That was a lightbulb moment for me--after watching it I made appts. for evals right away.

How is your son's phonemic awareness? Can he rhyme? Can he orally segment the sounds in words? Can he blend sounds together if you give him separate sounds? If you ask him to replace a sound in a word, can he tell you the new word? It might be helpful to try to tease out if the issues are strictly due to vision issues, or if there are also some signs that point to dyslexia.

We ended up using the Lindamood Phonemic Sequencing program (LiPS) to solidify sound/symbol relationships, then went on to the Sound Foundations programs (Dancing Bears, Apples and Pears) for reading and spelling.

Thanks. Yes, I think he can do all the oral language stuff above. He can definitely rhyme, He can come up with new words by changing a sound. He's always loved language, talking in different accents, and making up funny ways to say words. But I will still watch the video, though. There may be pieces of this we have never explored.

kimmyann1147
09-10-2016, 11:01 AM
I have an 8yo struggling with reading as well, and with vision issues. What helps her the most is connecting reading and writing. Once she can spell/write the word/sentence - she can read it. Just oral reading instruction does not go well. So we incorporate a lot of copywork,spelling and writing with our reading instruction.

DH is putting more copywork into their day. It's too soon to know if it will make a difference.

New question How much could ADD have to do with this? Yesterday he refused school with DH, there was a huge blow-up apparently with him having to spend lots of time in the bathroom (our "time-out" spot.) I wasn't home but it sounded pretty unpleasant. Then in the evening I asked him to do some chores and he was so distracted, it was painful. He definitely comes by his distractability honestly. Both DH and I would qualify for diagnoses.

TFZ
09-10-2016, 11:24 AM
Is he getting enough exercise? Maybe he needs some time to wear his body out in the mornings to be ready to sit for reading and other schooly work. Maybe talk to him about school - finding the reason he's refusing could give you some insight on how to help. He may feel frustrated if the work is to hard or bored if it's too easy. Maybe a different approach would work. That's going to take some changes by dad, though. It doesn't sound like time out in the bathroom is working for anyone.

TFZ
09-10-2016, 11:32 AM
Also, concerned that you and dh might not be on the same page as far as schooling? I'm not sure what the reasons there are behind choosing homeschool, but it might be time to revisit that with your dh and maybe set some goals for what you'd both like your son's experience to look like. - Just saying this in reference to the disagreement on how to approach Phonics and discipline. Perhaps dad is frustrated, too? Maybe there is a way to outsource something? A tutoring program or coop? It sounds like dad could use a hand.

muddylilly
09-10-2016, 12:30 PM
When I started homeschooling over 10 years ago, I did so with the understanding that I would continually, honestly, reevaluate as we went along. If it wasn't working for all family members, but especially my kids, I would not beat myself up over it. I would get help. If that help meant enrolling them in public or private school....so be it!

There is NO shame at all in asking for help......from professionals. We, here on the forum, can give our anecdotal insight or our best, well-intentioned guesses, but your son, with the issues that you have described, IMO, deserves some real, focused, professional intervention. Public/private schools have their issues.....but they are professionals. And most of the folks working there went into it, wanting to help children.

I agree with TFZ. This may not be a task that DH is up to....at least in a way that is compatible with your expectations. And I'd say your expectations are not at all unreasonable.

We have quite a few members here that have stopped hsing to enroll them in traditional schooling for various reasons. It's not a failure......it's doing what is best for a child when circumstances change, or we are in over our head. You clearly love your son, but I think some heartfelt discussion might be necessary, and maybe a new direction taken. At least until your family is able to get these issues figured out for your son's sake.

Feel free to ignore what I'm saying here, but I really feel it needed to be said, and it was only meant with concern for your son.

Best of Luck.

CrazyGooseLady
09-10-2016, 08:24 PM
Haven't read the whole thread, so I may be repeating others, and even myself. (But, I don't remember reading this one before, so hopefully not!)

YOU are doing a great job. You are doing everything that you should be doing for your son. YOU have NOT failed him. HE has not failed either. He learns differently. If he sees differently, that is what you need to focus on first.

I have had two go through vision therapy. The first, it made a WORLD of difference. The second child it helped some, but he is dyslexic. For him, it took specific reading programs, AFTER the vision therapy.

While doing vision therapy, make sure they give you homework and you do it every day. Lay off a little on the reading....focus on other stuff, like him listening to stories and narrating them back to you. Once you are in a few months, then slowly start reviewing the phonics and stuff that he does know. Some things my son learned before vision therapy went away - printing (he learned to write in cursive that year,) spelling, some of his math facts. When he could see it properly...it is like he had never done it at all. He was 8 when we got it, he is 14 now and doing fine but it did take some work afterwords to get him going.

With my dyslexic child some issues that came up was that he could not rhyme, he couldn't break words into sounds. He has short term memory issues. He couldn't remember stuff from one lesson to 3 days later. Mondays were really hard for him. It was very different from the vision issues. My youngest was in 2nd grade when I finally got him evaluated for dyslexia. I had wanted him evaluated earlier but kept getting told he was in the normal range by people who were teachers.

I don't blame myself, had I known how to do things right from the start I certainly would have done them. Just like you, with my dyslexic son, I tried a lot of things. If I were in that situation again with another kid, I would do the vision therapy, then go back to phonics. If the phonics don't stick, I would look into dyslexia and think about doing a program like Barton. Just...don't do too much while in vision therapy as it may not stick until he gets a ways in and is seeing more normally.

You will get there. He will too. He will read, he will do better. Get him seeing straight first, then work on the reading.