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What happens when reading skills effect other subject areas?

Dear Let's Go Learn - My daughter is seven. (March will be eight) She has such a hard time with reading. We have tried many different programs and different ways to teach her, but still she has trouble. We have gotten readers for level one readers, such as The big bug or Dan is in the pan. They are for K-1st. She really struggles with them. We have now noticed that it is trickling over to her other subjects. What would you recommend doing? Should we drop all other subjects and just do reading until she has a grasp on it? Please help as we are at the end of our rope. Thanks so much for your time.

Hello, Thanks for your email. Here are my thoughts:

1) If she is having that much trouble with reading, I am sure it is effecting her other subjects and that will only continue to get worse. Once a student progresses to a third grade level in any subject, independent reading is expected. So even though she may be good at something like mathematics, she might miss the instructions because they are in written form.
2)"Should we drop all other subjects and just do reading until she has a grasp on it?" In my personal opinion, yes, I would discontinue other subjects until she has a grasp on it. However, you will want to engage in some effective reading instruction to bring her up to speed. I worked at a specialized reading company for many years and we worked with all of our students on an intensive basis. (Daily for 3 or 4 hours) Lots of kids were pulled out of school all together because increasing their reading skills was just more important than the history lesson they could not read about anyway. I am a big fan of immersion instruction when it comes to reading.
3)"She has such a hard time with reading. We have tried many different programs and different ways to teach her, but still she has trouble." With out seeing her personally, I can't know the exact nature of the problem. However, what you are describing sounds like it might be a problem with "phonemic awareness." Phonemic awareness is the ability to distinguish sounds within words, this processing ability is necessary for people to learn to read. This makes it possible for people to sound out words. I am assuming, if your daughter is having trouble with basal readers, that she has a hard time sounding out words. Phonemic awareness is the single best indicator for reading success, so I am guessing that your daughter is probably not doing as well as she should in that area. Receiving direct instruction in boosting phonemic awareness is the best solution. But be careful what route you choose, "phonemic awareness" has become sort of a buzzword in the reading world lately so some phonics programs have started throwing that word around a lot.
4)"What would you recommend doing? " I recommend having your daughter tested with a full reading assessment. Getting an accurate profile of her reading strengths and weaknesses is the first important step to designing accurate effective instruction for your daughter. Let's Go Learn, offers an on-line reading assessment. If you decide you want to pursue assessment and would rather have an assessment in person, look for someone in your area who specializes in reading assessment and instruction. Make sure any assessment you choose measures all parts of reading; sounding-out words, memorizing words, spelling, reading in context and vocabulary.

I hope these things are helpful to you. Please feel free to email me more questions. Happy Reading!

Tags: struggling reader, content area reading, phonemic awareness

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