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Hitting a Road Block in Reading

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    Hitting a Road Block in Reading

    I started MP kindergarten with my son (6yrs, ASD) in July. He has liked it until recently. Handwriting has been tough, so we're still doing the letter activities at the beginning of the copywork book one line a day. I do see improvement there. Now he is getting frustrated with the reading portion which he had been doing really well with. I am started taking several days to complete one day of reading work (we've been SLOWLY reading Mac and Tab for three days now) but I am concerned that he is taking a dislike to it and seems so frustrated despite slowing down. He knows all of his letter sounds and does fine when we blend a word together on the board, but he is having a really hard time actually reading the stories. He starts reading the sounds backwards and usually just slumps on the table by the end. Should I just carry on slowly but surely or back off for a bit? I have thought about the alphabet books, but since he knows his sounds I think they might be too easy. He usually does well in his SRA phonics book and those activities seem to be a good fit for his level. Suggestions?

    Hi, Kara.

    Good for you to adjust now, before "delight" turns fully to "dislike." However, as you note, you do not want to adjust too much (e.g., moving backward to Alphabet Books).

    You mentioned before that your son might be on the autism spectrum. Has he been evaluated formally? Quite a few "soft signs" of learning difficulties popping up this year for you - handwriting struggles noted in an earlier post, problems transferring his phonics skills to reading, and reading some sounds backwards. These may be simply developmental, but be sure to note them in bullet-point form, in case you decide to pursue an evaluation or a follow-up appointment in the future.

    The good news is that your son's phonics skills seem to be building. If he can continue progressing in SRA phonics, this will eventually help his oral reading.

    A few ideas in the meantime:

    --Separate his phonics sessions from his oral reading sessions.
    Continue the phonics lessons during his "school" time, but set aside 15 minutes for oral reading later in the day on the sofa or in another slightly more relaxed setting. Do not labor over these oral reading periods too much, just provide the practice. Remind him that he is only practicing, and his reading will improve with practice.

    --Alternate pages the first time or two.
    He reads a page, then you read a page. This way you can model good reading (and give him a little break) throughout the book.

    --Notice whenever he handles his frustrations maturely
    Consider praising him (or even keeping a tally for an incentive) whenever he handles his errors with self-control and an attitude of "I'll keep trying." Given these early difficulties, academic frustration may be something he will continue to encounter. If he can learn now how to handle discouragement, he will be far ahead of many adults! Notice when he overcomes a struggle and perseveres through the word or the page. Give him a "high five" or "thumbs up" or whatever your son enjoys.

    --Prep some words on the board for him before he even sees the book.
    He seems to do well with the work on the board. Perhaps you can give him a little help before he encounters the readers. For example, before reading "Mac and Tab," you could write on the board ahead of time: Mac, Tab, pals. Explain that Mac (point to the word "Mac") is a friendly mouse, Tab (point to the word "Tab") is a cute little cat, and the two are pals (point to "pals"). Be sure he knows that "pals" are friends. Write ham, nap, mad, and cap. Briefly help him sound out these words. "Very good! These are words we will see in our story about the cat and the mouse." Then move over to the sofa to begin reading.

    Hope that helps...


    Simply Classical: A Beautiful Education for Any Child
    Cheryl Swope, M.Ed., with Foreword by Dr. Gene Edward Veith,


      Thanks for the suggestions Cheryl. We will try them this week. He has been diagnosed with ASD and pragmatic speech delay by his regular pediatrician. He has started speech therapy and OT and will see a developmental pediatrician this month. Up to this point his academics had not been affected, but I am now starting to see some trouble spots. I will definitely bring them to the attention of his developmental pediatrician.