Dear Let's Go Learn, I homeschool and have three children my boys (age 11 and 8) while learning differently picked up phonics and reading fairly well I feel, now I am trying to teach my 7 year old daughter to read. We started last year and there seemed to be a problem in her memory retention. She can count like a whiz, but not recognize the numbers and she could say her alphabet orally, but could not say the name of a letter if I point to it. I started having her write her alphabet every day adding on a letter every couple of days and she was fine with remembering the order to write them in but still could not remember what the name of the letter was. I would work with her for weeks in a row and what we worked on one day she would come back the next day and simply could not remember, like the numbers 6-7-8 we worked on these for I have no idea how long try different things, I would have to say "down and around" and then she would know it was a six, "seven has a slide" and 8 had "2 circles". We found a computer game where she would drag the letter to a picture that started with that sound e.g.. drag "h" to a picture of a house, and she did super with that. We stopped for the summer and this year I am doing 100 EZ Lessons with her and she is doing great because she only has to learn the sound and not the name of the letter. I was just wondering if you could give me an idea of why she learns this way and if it could be a problem later. I nearly had her tested for dyslexia but thought I would try EZ-Lessons first and she is learning to sound out words. She seems a little old to just be learning sounds, any thing you can tell me would be very much appreciated. Hope this all made some sense. Thank -you for your time!
Hello, Thanks for your email. Here are my thoughts:
1) Yes, everything you are telling me about your daughter makes sense. I have experienced the same thing many many times in the past. It is very common with kids who have a hard time learning how to read and spell. What you are describing is very familiar to me. I can't tell you how many times I have worked with kids who would look at the alphabet when I said, "Point to letter F." The student would point at each letter along the way and "count" their way up to letter F. They could never just point to F.
2) "I was just wondering if you could give me an idea of why she learns this way and if it could be a problem later." From what you describe, I assume she learns that way because of poor symbol imagery. Symbol imagery is the ability to hold on to symbols (letters and or numbers) in the mind's eye. This is what makes learning letters, memorizing whole words and spelling possible. Is this going to be a problem later? Yes, unfortunately it is. She will have a very hard time reading and an especially hard time spelling. Kids with poor symbol imagery also tend to have a hard time copying things down from board in a classroom and copying things from one page to another.
3) I do think you should go ahead and have her tested. She may have other weaknesses besides weak symbol imagery, it will be important for you to figure out what those weaknesses are.
I hope this is helpful to you, I know how frustrating this situation can be. Don't despair, her ability to process letters can increase.
Tags: dyslexia, struggling reader, reading instruction