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Using audio CDs for struggling readers and other suggestions

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    Using audio CDs for struggling readers and other suggestions

    My 7th grade daughter has been in speech/language therapy for 3 years. She has improved in her expressive speech, and her reading has also improved. The therapist gave her an unofficial diagnosis of having Auditory Recall and Auditory Discrimination. She can't remember the names of common, every day things like "lamp." This happens when she speaks and affects her reading because her brain doesn't fill in words that just make sense, i.e. every word must be sounded out - there are no givens. All that to say, she is a struggling reader. We read everything out loud together which has been doable until 7th grade. She's in the "Wind in the Willows" Lit and "Iliad/Odyssey" Classical. Not to mention "Book of Ancient World."

    I need suggestions. Is it time to get an official diagnosis so that we can get more help? Is following along with audio CDs helpful or harmful for children with reading struggles? Are any of Memoria Press's non-fiction books (like "Book of Ancient Greeks") available on audio? Basically, how can we keep doing this as the amount of reading increases each year?

    mom to 5 (middle and high school)
    Nashville, TN
    Last edited by apregont; 09-27-2016, 05:43 PM.
    Mom to 5 Teens.

    Re: Using audio CDs for struggling readers and other suggestions

    Good morning!

    First, your daughter's background and accomplishments are inspiring! Thank you for posting this.

    Second, yes, given her age, a good evaluation with clear diagnoses will gain access to good services for her, especially for pre-college testing purposes and in college classes.

    Third, regarding audio books. Yes! This not only saves your voice, time, and energy, but audio books can benefit her. While nothing compares to sharing, enjoying, and discussing a read-aloud book with mom, dad, or brothers and sisters, audio books can contribute greatly to her remaining education in middle school and high school.

    See the excellent article, "Reading With Your Ears." I just linked to it here @

    Finally, for MP resources, see this post from a recent MP discussion. Many portions are quoted (i.e., repetitive), but if you sift through, you may find some links to benefit you here: Audio Books. Here, for example, is the Iliad on LibriVox. Readers vary. If your son is like mine and enjoys history, he may also appreciate these sets by Jim Hodges.



      Re: Using audio CDs for struggling readers and other suggestions

      See also Learning Ally.

      Here are the Iliad and Odyssey, as examples.

      eta: Browse their audiobooks here.


        Re: Using audio CDs for struggling readers and other suggestions

        Thank you for replying. I've just recently discovered Learning Ally (a friend with dyslexic twins raves about it). I think for books like Book of the Ancient Greeks, Book of the Ancient World, and others like these we will just continue to read out loud together. Perhaps when I have time later in my life I can read them for librivox for those who are coming along behind me. :-)

        My daughter is adopted, and her family medical background is unknown. There are no clues as to why things aren't clicking for her. Here's one example of a recent question in her Speech/Language therapy: Choose the correct word, "The cowboy put the (saddle/hay) on the horse." She repeatedly said "hay" even after the therapist questioned her several times. It just wasn't clicking. Another odd thing is that she often uses the wrong tense and can't for the life of her figure out what the correct tense should be. It sounds fine to her even though she lives in a home where correct grammar is spoken. And she can't rhyme. "What rhymes with 'lake' ?" "rain."

        One of my biggest concerns for her right now is that she is getting discouraged with school. I hate to see such a hard little worker start to get down about things. I need to figure out how to modify the work but still give her a good enough feast of knowledge. I'm open to any suggestions.
        Angel Pregont
        Nashville, TN
        Mom to 5 Teens.


          Re: Using audio CDs for struggling readers and other suggestions

          Yes, first you'll need a good diagnosis, or set of diagnoses, not merely for services but also to explain what you are seeing. A good report to include the full battery with I.Q. subtests, processing, and academics will be helpful for you from now through her adulthood. Obtain the most recent normed testing from her speech and language therapist. You can let the examiner know that she already had these tests.

          Second, separate your expectations for "input" from those for "output." Continue to provide her with elevated, rich literary input in the home, just as you have been doing through conversation and literature. But drop back to the basic foundations for her expressive output. You might consider one of our SC levels. Take a look at the readiness assessments. We take an incremental, step-by-step approach to skill development exactly for students like your daughter. You can view a sample of SC Writing with a read-aloud set for rudimentary science vocabulary.

          If you think this is too basic, or if you think she needs more work in word recall/retrieval and vocabulary, you might begin to build this vocabulary in a systematic way, as through literature guides for "younger" books than those she can comprehend aurally.

          My daughter struggled tremendously with recall/word retrieval when she was younger. When stumped, she boldly created her own word, or she impulsively substituted a different word that did not make sense.

          Our language therapist's cure: "Teach her so many words, she will have a veritable thesaurus at her fingertips at all times." Systematic vocabulary building was not the therapist's entire strategy, but it became one major part.

          Latin helped us with this. If your daughter does not yet study Latin, you might begin with Prima Latina. She will be exposed to the roots of words, which may assist comprehension and memory.
          Work, labora, labor, so Labor Day is the holiday about working;
          Memory, memoria, memorial, so Memorial Day is the holiday in which we honor the memory of our veterans.

          But the first place to begin, especially because of so much unknown history, is with a good, thorough assessment. Try to secure this, preferably privately through good insurance, as soon as you can. While you wait, find "output" language books precisely at her level, even if that level seems shockingly low right now. Work through them as quickly as she can achieve mastery. She may progress rather quickly, so do not worry that she will remain at a low level for an entire year.

          Other tips:
          -See if your SLP has language books or vocab photo cards she can loan you. We found the HELP series nice for sequential exercises. She may have this on her shelves. Here is an example. In other words, ask for "homework."

          -Include very basic questions during your read-alouds.
          Example: You read, "An emperor named _____ entered the gates." Immediately ask, "What was his name?"
          Give her practice answering correctly. Increase the level of difficulty. Do this occasionally with each story, not so much as to be distracting, but enough so you are making the most of the reading sessions.

          As for your own practice to become an audiobook reader, you just might find yourself in that position. The explosion of audiobooks requires many readers!

          I hope some of the above helps. You are doing good, meaningful work with and for this young woman.