Thursday, February 23, 2006

Reading for the child with a processing disorder

Ive been lying awake trying to figure out how to cut down on Tinks tantrums during school. We waste so much time handling meltdowns instead of doing schoolwork. It finally hit me that most of her meltdowns could be isolated to one thing. Then this slow thinking mother had a light dawn in her thick skull. Seventy five percent of Tinks meltdowns come when she has to read aloud to me.

Okay, now common sense says that she will have to read out loud at some point so I can tell where she's at in reading. But...I can sneak those read alouds in through other subjects and she wont be quite as aware of whats happening.

I read every story into her tape recorder and have her follow along in the book word for word. I was having her stop and rewind the tape and read again. That proved to be the wrong thing. In the stopping and rewinding Tink could find every reason under the sun to never get back to the second reading; she fiddle with the cord, then mess around with the mic and whine that she'd accidently pushed fast forward and that she needed a drink.

This called for intervention. So instead of having her read and rewind I now just read the story twice giving her time to get back to the begininning page. Every time I turn a page in the story I give her the page number so she never loses the spot.

Yes, I spend a lot of time reading into a tape recorder. But it seems to be working. I then let her go directly to her workbook without reading the story to me. This has totally cut out the reading tantrums.

The poor girl. We go to the library and she brings me all these books she wants to read and I tell her that they're way too hard and she wont be able to read them. It's interesting to note that she's in fourth garde and those are the kinds of books she wants to read. When she brings me a book it's not a first or second grade book at her reading level. It's a fourth to sixth grade book, bless her heart. It shows that her brain is interested in that level of story but the ability to read it is that of a 7 year olds. It breaks my heart.

I finally decided that I cant keep telling her no on these books. She needs to be able to read books at her age level. So now I am letting her bring home the books and I read all of those into a tape too. You may be wondering why I dont just read them to her instead of into a recorder. The reason is twofold; our times dont match up and when she follows a cassette she actually feels like she's doing the reading. In this manner she has done more reading in the last three weeks than she has done in the last three months.

Working with Tink takes continual evaluation of the process. How I would love to just hand her the assigned pages for the day and have her go at it. But no, I spend all day in the shcoolroom with her. Peter's work is done while Tink is listening to her tapes. When I begin school at 9:00 am I know that I wont have a minute to myself until 2:00 pm every day. It's something Ive reconciled myself to.

On top of all the taped readings I'm doing I'm also doing tons of read aloud stuff in the school day. We're still reading The Princess and The Goblin. Oh my, I could go into the disaster on that too but you're probably all bored. Suffice it to say that I learned that Tink needs to have her hands busy duing readings or fights with Peter and general rowdiness follow. So every time we read a book Tink works on something; beads, tanagrams, velvet art, anything that will make her sit still and listen.

I discovered a couple of days ago that Tink doesnt know the majority of the words that end in "le".Whats funny is that by careful listening I can isolate her reading problems. At first it all seems random. But its not! It's the most amazing thing. Last spring I figured out that she was stumbling over every word that had a short vowel followed by a double consonant: happy, bunny, fuzzy. You may recall how I wrote stories to include these words in abundance. Well, now she knows those words and rarely stumbles over that letter pattern.

But now I've found another pattern that she has not grasped. So now we're going over words that end in le. You'd be amazed at how many words that is; terrible, ladle, candle, cuddle, (which by the way has the short vowel double consonant pattern too and one of the few words that she cant read with that pattern, now I know why)struggle (again those two patterns) able, stable, table, kettle,simple, tangle, noodle, battle, beetle, whistle, trouble, ripple, scramble, tentacle, dazzle (again both patterns)...I mean can you see how this would make reading hard? And can you see how the public school could never catch these things?

If any of you are interested in seeing if your child has reading patterns that are tripping him up it's not hard to discover what they are. Just listen to him read a couple of times and write down every word he misses. The patterns become perfectly clear! It's amazing and also exciting.

Now I cant just tell Tink that those words make such and such a sound. I literally have to expose her to every word that ends in le and practice that word. It's a long and ardous process but it works and thats the main thing!

Today we're going on a Field trip with the church academy. We're going to Safarri Sams, a big jungle gym, and letting the kids play. The school asked me to go as a chaperon so that means my kids will get in free. They are so excited!!! So now I msut go make breakfast and get the kids dressed and combed. We have to be out of here in a little over an hour.

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