Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Questions from Parents Regarding Reading & Answers

From time to time, we all parents have questions regarding our children reading and education habits. I have got a list of 43 questions & answers posted to & answered by www.quickstartreading.com. May be a few of your doubts may be similar to the ones raised by parents earlier. So you have a ready made answer. Anyway reading through these Q & A's will be a pretty informative & educational experience for you all. So, Get Set & Happy Reading. It will take you quite some time to go through all of them. Though this is dated material, I feel that it is timeless & will stand the test of time in the near future.

Question 1: My daughter is in third grade and has always been an avid and wonderful reader. She was always an A student in reading. This past quarter, however, she received a C because she is scoring very low on reading comprehension tests. I have tried to work with her on breaking down the paragraphs to find the main idea and its support system, but it doesn't seem to be doing much. Help!

Answer: Concerning comprehension; You are approaching the problem by breaking down the paragraph for better understanding. You did not say how you were doing this method. Try having her write everything in an outline form and then read the outline form back to you. Sometimes the action of physically writing will get the need mental connection. Review the outline the next day and at the end of the week. Have her teach you about the subject, its content, and its meaning. She will be in charge of her own learning method.

Question 2: Help! My child is six years old and is having trouble reading. (It was easy to teach her older sister to read.) We homeschool, and have always read to her. She displayed signs of readiness. But she is immature for her age in many areas. She is smart and can do other subjects well. I have finally come to the conclusion that she is a kinesthetic learner and needs to move and do. How do you move and do while reading? She doesn't even want to look at the book. She moves her legs and wiggles. Keeping lessons short helps. I have also started letting her make words with letter cards. She can spell three letter words very well and then read them. Just reading them is a drudgery for her and very frustrating. Can you suggest ways to help her learn by doing?

Answer: Take a towel inner roll and stand before your immature child. Have your child place her hands at her side and feet together facing you. Show, by example, how to lift the roll with one hand and look through it like a telescope . Give instructions that she may only use one hand to lift up to her eye and she must keep her nose straight towards you. Next, with her nose straight, she is to look at you through the roll. You hand it to her with both of your hands from the middle of your body. What you are looking for is where your child is seeing. Does her eye look up,down, to the left, or to the right. Now use your imagination. A active, non focusing child very often has eyes that do not work together and will not look equally at the same word. One may look up and one may look down, exhausting your child with the brain going back and forth with left/right images. If you think that she is not looking with both eyes at the same work, put a blue marker under a line and with her nose straight ask her with pointing where her eyes are looking. If she points to two different spots, then her muscles are not working together. She will need an eye doctors examine to verified and help correct this problem. Check this first and get back with me for more help.

Question 3: My daughter is 4 years old she gets very angry very soon if the things she does is not done in the right way. Like in her school homework she is made to draw a kite if it is not drawn correctly she gets upset so fast and just scribbles the book which makes the book more bad. Another thing is that she cries for any small thing.

Answer: Children study their parents and enjoy getting a predictable reaction to any situation. Your daughter is setting a negative pattern with a predictable reaction. Here are a few suggestions to rid of this behavior. 1. Discipline with a way out. This helps your child to solve a problem in a positive manner. Set the ending before she begin with her. Example: "Today you will draw a kite. When it is half finished, we will toss a ball three times to each other. "Stop before she gets to the point of scribbling. Come back and set new finishes with her. "Draw two more lines and we will toss a ball two times. "Notice that you ask less each time to rid of the tendency to give up and watch Mom's reaction for entertainment and control. "Color the left side red. Stay inside the lines. We will play patty cake when you are finished. "Tired from a hand eye coordination activity, the child can stretch the fingers. "Now it is time to color the right side and finish your picture. "The word finish is scary, so add an ending with a reward such as "When you finish a picture we will put it on the refrigerator for everyone to see. Everyone will enjoy your picture. In school, everyone will enjoy your finished papers. "This helps her to accept her ability now and in the near future. 2. Do not ask for one task to be completed. Teach your child to approach a task one bit at a time. 3. Watch your reaction. Do not be predictable. Use a mirror behind her to check out the facial reaction. 4. Set an example of imperfection daily for the sake of your child. Spill milk on purpose. " Oh, I spilled some milk. You help me clean it up with a rag." 5. Have a mess period with your child to rid of the fear of imperfection. Select a box of small toys and dump it right on the floor. " This is a fun, messy time. For 10 minutes you and I will play imagination with the toys. No one can clean up until the timer goes off. Have fun working with your child. Laugh at your own mistakes. Call out the mistake and show your child how to solve it in a positive, acceptable manner. Your child will copy your facial expression and use the words you use with the modeling of handling imperfection.

Question 4: I've been a tutor of beginning readers for many years but never ran into this specific situation. I have a child who until about 5 weeks ago was a non-reader. Since that time he has acquired about 32 sight words that he knows inside and out. He's in second grade (how did that happen?/don't ask me) and is starting to get spelling words like slide, hide, etc. and he made 100% on his spelling test the other day yet he has trouble identifying simple word families like words in the -an group. Is he just a very good memorizer or what's up?

Answer: Experience is a great teacher. As you are discovering, every child that has problems with reading need individual help. A second grader that can pick up on sight words quickly and spelling perfectly but has forgotten past reading experiences may be a configuration visual memorizer. Memorization is done on an invisible chalkboard in the child's mind. Every word can be visualized as clearly as a cheat note. The child copies the list of sight words or spelling words he sees clearly in his mind. Some learn to look for the first letter ( a speck of phonics), but generally rely on the visualization of the shape of word. The bad news is that their mind tosses out all of the learned words for a summer break and can't seem to get any of it back without a review. In my opinion, a child using configuration visual memorization should get no sight words and be force to learn to blend simple CVC words. You have to introduce this method by taking separate letters and putting them together in front of the child with no studying time. Then you help him to vocalize the sounding out of the words. When a child depends on a method that is going no where, it takes lots of one on one time to change the way he is approaching reading. It takes about 80 hours to make the change. A trained parent is very needed to work at home with this student to help his brain accept the phonic approach to all words. A return to Kindergarten and first grade books with very simple words will be needed. Once the phonic approach is used with success the child may forget the words during the summer, but will not forget the method of blending. The child can now review words forgotten on his own and not depend solely on the teacher's review.

Question 5: My six year old son is not grasping the concept of blending his letters. He is learning the sounds of the letters and the short vowel sounds but when I put a consonant and vowel together he says he can't do it and guesses. I don't know if he's just not ready or not interested. Is repetition the key or backing off for now?

Answer: Do not back off as now he is young enough to go through the very, very hard learning process to blend sounds. Face him, and put your finger above the letter he is sounding out. He will copy with putting his finger under the same letter. Move your lips as an example for him to copy as he moves from one sound to another. Move your finger as you change your lips, so he can copy. You must do it silently, so he can hear his own voice making the change, otherwise he will only learn to depend on you . Upon completion, ask him what he just said. If he fails, repeat the same action as much as 30 times until he can hear his own voice change and his eyes are totally focused. Never voice the answer until he has successfully heard his own sound change. Stay with the same change of sounds until he gets it, then stop for a break. Review later before starting a new change of sound. It takes 80 hours of this kind of work to get a phonic reader(0r about 4 months). For now use a marker under any letter or word he is attempting to read. Then experiment by putting the marker above the letter or word to find out if this helps him to focus.

Question 6: My son does recognize most of his lower case letters. He gets his b's & d's mixed up. Does not know w that well. He does know most his consonants. Has some trouble with vowel sounds like i & e. Has begin to do his blends but has some trouble with the th. Also, he is not noticing his site words. When he sits to study at home he sits on his foot or is trying to play sometimes. I think it is boring to him to sit and study so I nedd to learn how to make it more fun.

Answer: Twenty percent of children have problems with their eye muscles, causing confusion on letter positions. A w and m look the same. A b and d look the same. Sometimes one eye looks at a line below the other eye. A child with this problem will pass a 20/20 test. It does not necessarily mean glasses, but will involve vision therapy ot eye exercises. Have a professional eye doctor give him a complete examination.For now use a marker under any letter or word he is attempting to read. Then experiment by putting the marker above the letter or word to find out if this helps him to focus.

Question 7: I have been helping a six year old in reading for a while. It seems she is having trouble with knowing what sound the vowel should make. I tried the "when two vowels go walking the first one does the talking" but it doesn't work. When she first saw the word steam she was sounding out the short vowel for both letters. Do you know of any stories that would exercise this skill? Or, do you know how I could teach it to her so she can understand it?

Answer: Short vowels talk but long vowels say their names. Explain that the word stream has a long vowel "e" followed by a silent vowel. The first vowel says its own name, the second vowel says nothing. Teach the five long vowels by drawing them on each finger of your child's right hand. Ask your child to name each vowel on each finger. With in a week, she will clear up the confusion.

Question 8: My 5 year old is having trouble with her lower case letters. She has a problem with b, d, p,q. How can I help her tell the difference. I have tried worksheets. Right and left, saying the b is facing right the d is facing left. Flash cards and constantly picking out lowercase letters in the books we read. Any suggestions?

Answer: Each of the four lower case letters can be attached to a story. The four stories that I found best helps a small child who has difficulty seeing the difference in the lower case q,p,d,and b are fun and easy to remember. The Letter Hotel (http://www.quickstartreading.com/product.html) uses the story method of association to help make these four letters different.
The b is a bat that hit a ball that hit a bee. Draw a bat first, then add a ball so the letter b can be seen by the child as a picture story.
The d is a duck with feathers. Draw a d with a beak on the round curve and on the straight line draw a feather.
The q is a balloon on a stick. Draw a large balloon and add a stick.
The p picks up papers and puts them in a pouch. Draw papers laying on the ground and pretend that the p is sharp like a stick with the ability to stub all of the papers. Then with you hands form a round pouch that you can stuff the papers in. I often hop with stiff legs to show picking up the papers followed with a hand formation pretending to stuff papers in a pouch.
With this background, draw a small picture above the letter before your child has to read it. Or, you can point to one of the four picture letters as needed when one of them appears in new words. By association, your child will begin to see the difference in each letter.

Question 9: My son is four and 1/2. He will be starting kindergarden in a year. He can count to thirteen. What is the best way to help him with his recognition of the alphabet, and the sounds associated with the letters? He really wants to read. How can I help prepare him?

Answer: Start your son with only the lower case letters. Start him with the five vowels: a,e. i, o, u at first. Give each one a personality to make it fun. The a is a baby and likes to cry/ The e is an elephant named Ed. The i is warm in an igloo. The o is an octopus swimming in the sea. The u is an umbrella in the rain. This will help him connect the first sound to letter identification. Our Letter Hotel kit would be very helpful at this stage of learning. Add one new letter after two weeks of many reviews/conversations about the five letters. Add m, then t, then p. Gradually finish the alphabet. Meanwhile, introduce words using the known sounds and help him sound them out by singing: mat, pot, top, ant, etc.

Question 10: My daughter is 3rd grader. She has difficulty comprehending what she just read. She needs to read a story and answer the questions. Please advise, if possible, where can I find this material.

Answer: The best way to approach this problem is to examine what is a paragraph. Discuss what a paragraph looks like. Notice that it indents and has sentences. Count all of the sentences in a paragraph before reading it. Count how many sentences end in a period in the paragraph. Then look for the one sentence that has the main idea of the paragraph and underline it. Number the sentences that tell about that main sentence idea (1.,2.,3.,etc) Box around the word in the numbered sentences that is the key word of the supportive sentence. Now have your daughter write on another sheet of paper the main idea and the three supportive words about the idea. Next , look her in the eyes and ask her to say what the paragraph is about using the vocabulary boxed and underlined. The comprehending will increase with patience and teaching her a new approach to reading.

Question 11: hello, i have a 6yr old, who is going into the first grade this fall. her kindergarden teacher left her 6 books to read over the summer, of which she has barely touched. everytime i tried to get her to read, the words were so hard she became frustrated and just shut down. i don't know how to teach her to read. she knows all the sounds of the alphabet, and the vowels, but she is having the most difficult time understanding that the concept of putting the consonants and vowels together is what makes the words. she knows they are supposed to go together to form the words, but she cannot sound them out together. I don't know what to do. I have to do something in a hurry, because she absolutely loves school, and for the first time since pre-school i heard her say she didn't want to go to 1st grade because she had not learned anything this summer.

Answer: God bless your efforts in redirecting your child into the great adventure of reading other peoples stories. Identify and separate two types of stories: ones made up by your child and ones made up by other people. For every story she reads, have her write her own story and illustrate it. Collect her books and have her read them before attempting an approach to a book with someone else's words and pictures. Set some rules for the book that another has written. Have her read only one sentence and you read the rest. Keep a marker under the sentence she is to read to keep her eyes from jumping all over the page. Tell her to read very slowly. Write down missed words on a separate sheet of paper. On the same sheet write what she said. An example would be "has" for "have" written on a sheet of paper. Explain the mistake phonically and set the sheet aside. Collect the sheets and review before reading the same sentence the following day. When the sentence is correct, have her read two sentences on each page, until she can gain confidence and focusing ability. Keep in contact.

Question 12: Our children are ages 7 1/2, 8 3/4 and 10. They all have been recently diagnosed with having "eye tracking" problems that are making reading laborious and exhausting. Our children have been taught (and we reinforce it daily) phonics and blending along with sight words and other "outlaw" words. Our ophthamologist suggests that we conduct some vision therapy at home since I'm a stay at home mom and work closely with my children. However, he doesn't have many resources for us. Can you recommend an on-line source, computer program or book resources that we can use to provide vision therapy in our home?

Answer: Contact the College of Optometrists in Visual Development (C.O.V.D.) for specific information and guidance. If you are in the Southern California area call Dr. James Hawley at the Palos Verdes Family Eye Center, 827 Deep Valley Dr. Suite 311, Rolling Hills Est. Ca. 90274. Phone: 310 5413411.Meanwhile I suggest you getting started with daily crawling on the living room rug. This morning exercise session will include bean bag tossing to CD,s designed for children exercising. There are guide CD's available at a teacher supply store. Example : Chicken Fat. This is a fun, lively exercise CD. Get everyone in to movement to get the eye/hand coordination under control.Secondly, let your children use a marker to guide their reading and a plastic sheet over the page to eliminate glare. Glare is very difficult for eyes that do not track together. Glare becomes painful.Thirdly , study on a non glare table surface with low light overhead.Fourthly, approach learning through writing. Have your children read a paragraph and pick out the main idea, then write it down on a paper. Then have them find the supportive sentences and write them down in an outline form. Try teaching outlining in all areas of learning. Test only from their outlines. Outlining skills can be an enormous help to get through long books in high school and college. Learning is done through the movement of the hand.

Question 13: I have an 8 year old son who is having problems with reading/spelling. He can spell very well, but only by memorizing the word. When he takes a spelling test, 99% of the time he will get an A+ because we practiced all week. But, if he reads some the same words a week later, he stumbles over the words because he forgot what they look like written.

Answer:If a child is smart enough to get an A+ in spelling through intense help at home, then he is smart enough to learn a new way to approach spelling and reading that is long lasting. A child on a two wheel bicycle with side wheel guides will not get the lasting balance needed unless you remove the side wheel guides and have him struggle until he wins his lasting balance. Dependence on a learning method of Configuration is no better than his ability to visualize the word as a shape. This method leads to failure as the words have the same or similar shape as he enters third grade. So the A in the spelling test has no value. Your son memorizes the list and then fits the shape to each word. Later, he is read hundred's of words with the same shape. He is not limited to a specific memorized list, so all of the words look the same. Do not teach him the spelling words the same way. Say," I have a list of ten words. Each one has a vowel sound in the middle. Three have a short e sound, five have a short u sound, and two have a long a sound. I will give you the two with the long a sound first. One is spelled with ai and one is spelled with only an a. The first one starts with a w sound and ends with a t sound. Write it on the paper and sound out the word for me. Remember the sing as you sound it out , so one sound goes to the next sound without stopping vibration. Then you tell me the word." You are giving him a whole new approach to spelling that will be a struggle at first because he is so dependent on another method that leads to a dead end. DO NOT TELL HIM THE ANSWER. HELP HIM WITH A PHONIC METHOD TO FIGURE OUT EACH SPELLING/READING WORD. It will take about 80 hours of work to change him to a phonic method or about 4 months. Slow down his learning so he has time to think of the use of this new method. Have him write what he is thinking , so you can guide him on this new approach.

Question 14: My daughter is 3rd grader. She has difficulty comprehending what she just read. She needs to read a story and answer the questions. Please advise, if possible, where can I find this material. Thank you in advance.

Answer: The best way to approach this problem is to examine what is a paragraph. Discuss what a paragraph looks like. Notice that it indents and has sentences. Count all of the sentences in a paragraph before reading it. Count how many sentences end in a period in the paragraph. Then look for the one sentence that has the main idea of the paragraph and underline it. Number the sentences that tell about that main sentence idea (1.,2.,3.,etc) Box around the word in the numbered sentences that is the key word of the supportive sentence. Now have your daughter write on another sheet of paper the main idea and the three supportive words about the idea. Next , look her in the eyes and ask her to say what the paragraph is about using the vocabulary boxed and underlined. The comprehending will increase with patience and teaching her a new approach to reading.

Question 15: How do I teach reading to a child with English as an additional language?Answer: Begin with the vowel sounds. Write the five vowels down and ask the child to say them in Spanish. Follow with saying the short vowel sounds in English. Let the child watch your lips as you form the English short vowel sounds. Repeat all of the sounds with the total class at least five times a day for four months. My experience has proven that it takes this length of time for the mind to automatically say the sounds and the full nine months to make them permanent. Meanwhile teach rules of sound patterns, such as three letter words in English always use a short vowel. Also add the sound/ symbol connection to your teaching as you blend three letter words. Explain new sounds before they show up in the reading, so there is no confusion. Model what they look like and sound like and how to blend them in the word. Show how the new sound is different than the short vowel list. Compare all sounds to the short vowels. You will be amazed at the progress.

Question 16: My son struggles with reading comprehension. As a small child he went from scooting to walking and never crawled. I thought I had heard crawling was important in reading later on. Is this true and why?

Answer: Crawling develops a network of coordinating movements that creates an involuntary , focused approach to learning to read. Crawling gets the eye and hand working together, so focusing is natural and easy. When a child crawls, the eyes roll from one side to the other without the nose moving. The head stays straight so the eyes coordinate together movement so need in focusing later in reading. Some children are born needing this exercise more than others. Some have problems with the eyes looking in two different places, thus losing his place or jumping from one line to another. Have the eye doctor check this out.

Question 17: For several days my son will do ok and then he will forget most of what he learned (what we thought he learned). He is nine years old and can barely read at a first grade level. As you can guess his attitude toward any school work is awful. I home-school and have taught my other childred to read without too much effort. I have worked with this child for four years. I have tried many reading and phonics programs. He seems to feel talked down to because these are written for young children, yet he can't learn enough words to enjoy a book that is at his interest level.

Answer: Every child is born with different talents and skills. 70% of all children will learn to read no matter what method is used, but 30% struggle with reading. Your 9 year old is in the second category and will need special methodology to fit his individual need. The first thing is to write down all of the methods you have used to get him to read. You then put them into three groups: Visual, Kinesthetic, and Auditory. Figure out which group methods has had the most success. If you only teach visually (flash cards, pictures, repeated words) then expand to more of a touching approach ( writing the word in sand, pointing to the word with a guide) or to an auditory approach ( sounding out the word together in song ). Look carefully at his personality and decide what motivates his desire to learn. Play on your observations in a positive way. Remove any faces of disappointment and patiently guide in a new way. Leave the old method and try a new approach to find success. Give us more details on your experimentation in methods and we can further help you develop a successful learning environment.

Question 18: My son is 4 1/2 years old. He loves books and I want to do everything I can to kick start his reading skills. Currently, we read a book to him everynight and we have LeapPad and the Apple (that has find the letter or the sound). Do you have any games or ideas for me to work with him?

Answer: Take one sentence from the book you are reading to him and write it down in large, straight letters. Use lower case letters, not all capitals. Show him the sentence, and read it as you point to each word. Remember to set an example of how to approach a word by blending the letters in song. Then cut the words apart and mix them up on a rug. Have your son replace the sentence to its original order and try with parental help to sound it out. He is to use his finger now as he moves from one sound to another. One sentence a night is enough. You will be surprised at the speed at which he picks up phonic skills.

Question 19: I have a 7 year old son who is struggling with reading. He is not at the level of reading the school want him to be at. he is easily frustrated and has little self-esteme when it comes to reading. He has trouble with short vowel sounds and sight words. How can I help him over come this and get him where he needs to be in reading?

Answer: Concentrate on the Short Vowel sounds. Draw a picture above each short vowel in three letter words to help him with their sound visually . Use an ant for the a in ran. Use an elephant above ane in ten. Use an indian feather above an i in pin; Use an octopus above an o in pot. Use an umbrella above an u in fun. This is one method that helps children having difficulty hearing the middle short vowel sound. It is a confidence builder.

Question 20: I recently heard a four year old reading and thought to myself, "I hope that my child, who is now eight months old will be able to read as well as this kid". How do I go about insuring that my child will be a good reader? It worries me because I was a somewhat a slow reader and very unmotivated.

Answer: Begin now to instill readiness skills appropriate for an infant. Sing every chance you get a repetitive, soft song that contains simple joyful words for the future. A special song from past experience, perhaps a childhood favorite will bring a warm bonding. A child learns boldly and with confidence when he knows that he is loved. The rhythm of singing is the keys to phonical changes from one sound to another. The eye contact between Mother and child helps the baby's eyes to exercise together. Move your head from side to side trying to get the baby to follow with both eyes. Do everything you can to have the baby crawl. Avoid walking-with-help and encourage crawling. The movement of each hand makes the eyes roll from side to side and develop involuntary eye/hand coordination so needed in reading. Every discovery toy on the rug helps normal eye/ hand growth to organize thoughts with eyes and hands. It sort of develops a path of learning through the brain. Use CD's such as the Letter Hotel to stimulate interest in sounds and their connections. A farm baby book with animal sounds begins this important connection.Read a book to your baby every night . Using the same one makes the baby think this is part of the special daily routine. You say the sounds of the short vowels twice a day, so the baby gets accustomed to hearing them. Sound out three letter words slowly while baby observes your lips changing. Keep the baby learning and by four, he will love to read.

Question 21:My son is age 16 and can only read the little words. He is a level 6, which means he was in a unit at school that caters for kids like peter. He is really bright in all other areas. He wants to yet his learner's soon but we fall back into the same problem, he can't read. Can you help me with this problem?

Answer: When a 16 year old has difficulty with processing reading symbols we look first into a physical reason. About 90% of the teens having reading problems is do to a lack of eye coordination. You need a vision therapist to examine your sons eyes. Very often eye doctors will say, " It is another reason, he sees 20/20." So the parents fail to pursue the possible eye problem. Sometimes one eye sees only the first letter of a long word and the other eye sees the end of a word. Totally missing the middle of a word. Sometimes one eye sees two lines below the other eye and jumps so badly that the whole paragraph had no meaning. Use a guide ( color other than white) to guide the eye movement. Look directly at his eyes to see if they look in two different directions. Use the large printed magazines to help him and of course, have a physical.

Question 22:I'am a single mother of 7 years old twins. My girls are having so much trouble with reading. I would like to know if there's things that I can do to make it more fun and easy for me and them. I want to do as much as I can to help them. Please help me.

Answer: There are hundreds of ways to make learning to read fun and exciting. A chart on the refrigerator that can be filled in with stars of accomplishment puts a little goal oriented twist to learning. The first chart may be on all of the sounds of the consonants. Write each letter unknown down on the chart. The list may be different for each girl. A star covers each correctly learned sound. Soon all are covered in stars. The goal has been met, so how about a play time at the park?

Question 23: My daughter is in the 3rd grade and she is having a hard time comprehending what she reads. She was a straight "A" student from Kindergarten to 2nd grade. She has now turned out to be a "B" student. Her class size is 32 with one teacher. She is in a French-English program (IB). Teacher says she is constantly wondering off while she's teaching, does not look at the teach or the board. Is there anything I can do to get her interested in what the teacher is saying or doing? What can I do to help her focu? Should I take her to see a child Psychologist? I have spoken to her and she just doesn't seem to care. She hates to read! She used to love it when she was younger. I would appreciate any suggestions on how to help her "comprehend" what she's read and how to help her focus better in the classroom.

Answer: My heart goes out to you as you solve this classroom learning problem. After teaching third grade for six years, I understand the problem and have found solutions. About one third of the children who entered third grade could not read even thought the majority had good grades. These bright children had learned to guess so proficiently that they even fooled the teacher. These children used picture clues, remembered the words the last child in the circle read, looked at the first letters, checked out the shape, watched the expression on the teacher's face and came out with reasonable accuracy as to what the story line was all about. This is not reading and in the third grade these efforts really show up. Of the ten children having difficulty, all were started into sight reading in kindergarten. In other words, flash cards with pictures were their first adventure into reading. The sound/symbol connection was skipped and the phonical blending was too much effort to use, since they could read a page now with the memorized words from the flash collection presented. The second greatest reason for the ten not doing well in reading was that their eyes were not focused into one spot on the page. Some had one eye looking on the line below the other eye's line Can you imagine the confusion in the mind. We used colored paper under the line to help this problem and six months with a vision therapist to get the muscles of the eyes to work together. Consider an eye specialist first, and second consider an English only class so you can focus on the reading problem wholly. Third, take hold of the home schooling and go back to the first grade reader, help your child read them with the pictures covered. Write down missed words and show your daughter what she missed in the word. Slow down and get into the details of the problem. Ask questions about the page read to increase comprehension. Your child has missed a big step in reading, so time at home will be very important in filling in the gaps missed. Also from what you said it sounds as if she is not an auditory learner and may need to see the words, and not just listen to the words to learn. Most double language classes primarily use auditory lessons for learning.

Question 24: I have been teaching my children phonics from an old book of my fathers and good old chalk and a blackboard. The problem is I was wondering, if my children were special needs children, what would I do to teach them? Is there other methods of teaching phonics?

Answer: Every child is different. Each is born with special gifts and needs. To make sure that you are relating to all of their talents, you teach phonics in three main ways: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Try asking questions about your Father's book that the children can write on the blackboard. Get their minds thinking about the beginning, middle and end of a story. Have them write the main idea in one sentence with three other sentences proving the main idea. Visually write ten letters on the blackboard, five are vowels and have a contest to see who can make up the most words using only the ten letters.

Question 25:My son who is in grade 2 is having trouble remembering sight words. We learn the word today and the next day he finds it difficult to recall the word. What can I do to improve on his skill?

Answer: When a child learns by configuration to read, he will hit a solid wall in spelling at the second grade. Up to now he could guess and eighty percent of the time come up with the answer. Now all of the words are about the same shape if you draw around each spelling word. Memorizing the sight words is not working, so it is time for a change of methods. He is not using his auditory skills or his kinesthetic skills, so he needs to develop these other modes of learning. Do not show him the words. Tell him that you are slowing down the way he spells to make it more fun and easier and that you will only practice with two words until he knows them. You will add on another word from the list when he thinks he is ready. PUT YOUR CHILD IN CHARGE OF THE LEARNING, SO HE HAS A CHANCE TO DISCOVER HIS PERSONAL APPROACH. If he figures out a new way to spell with two words, the others will come quickly. First, the pressure is off to perform immediately. Say the word one letter sound at a time, without giving him the total word. As an example, in the word "farm", sing an "f" and hold it until he writes an f down on the paper, then transfer your vibration sound to an "ar" until he writes an"r" and transfer to an "m" until he finishes. Look at what he wrote and above the work write the corrected word. Discuss with him why you need to add a letter, etc. We care at QSR. You may want to review the letter/sound connection as with our kit the Letter Hotel if he does not know his sounds.

Question 26:Hi, We have a three year old boy who can count to 10 and knows his letters by sight, but he seems not as interested to write these letters. Is this ok at this age? Our other child, who is an eleven yearl old girl now, wrote her letters at this time. I realize that boys are a little behind in development than boys, but how can I help him want to write his letters? Am I pushing it too early? We have played with popsicle sticks, play doh, and other materials like these to write, but he seems to not want to write with a pencil. Is this age too early to want him to do these things?

Answer: Your son is ahead of the average child in recognizing all of the letters at three. The eye/hand coordination is in the developing stages, so writing the exact letter may almost be painful when the brain is not ready. Start slower then what you did with your daughter. Give him confidence and exercise by asking for easy strokes with the pencil. Ask only for up and down lines across the paper. Always have him start at the top and move downward. Pin up the paper on a special spot of honor in the house so everyone can admire the wonder,completed work. Ask for only one line. He will want to get his own paper the next day to complete another line of good work to be admired in the place of honor. Each day put up the paper and ask him if it is finished. Accept his answer of yes to build confidence that he will not be pushed too fast. Add horizontal lines the next week, followed by one letter the next week. Keep him thinking that he is in charge of finishing this wonderful work. Keep in touch. We care about your son's progress eye/hand coordination.

Question 27: My son is in Kindergarten this year and is 5 1/2 years old. My husband and I have discovered recently that he relies almost completely on memorizing not only in reading but also in math (counting by 2's or 5's by rote), as well as letter sounds. Frequently, we notice that he looks at a written word for an instant and produces an answer, without really sounding out the word. If he is wrong, he gets frustrated quickly and then distracted. He knows the "buzz words" like, "I can blend these sounds, I can slide these letters together", but I see very little comprehension. Tonight he wanted to spell the word "bad" for me. It took about 5 minutes sounding out each letter...lots of effort and lots of emphasis on each letter sound, but right before getting the right spelling, he offered "ban". By the time we were done, both of us were exasperated!! I see that his eyes wander around alot when we are working together, as if he is "looking" for the answer somewhere in the air. Sometimes I have to stop the spelling exercise to tell him to look at me and listen to what I am saying, or the sound I am making with my mouth, or even to close his eyes to hear the sound better...I have spoken with his teacher (12 years experience, HEAVY emphasis on reading in her classroom) and she says that he is a very active, intelligent, capable child and that there is nothing to worry about. She has also shared that his class is "bottom heavy" (lots of kids on the bottom of the curve) and that the class is a very active, energetic (boy heavy) class. My husband says that he was a memorizer and he very closely relates to what our son is doing. He acknowledges that much of what he "learned" in school was forgotten because it was never really learned in the first place. He simply regurgitated what was offered to him in school and did fairly well, however, he will acknowledge that his self esteem and confidence has been affected (thinking everyone else really "knows" and I just memorize). I am concerned that our son is in the same boat. I feel fortunate that he is showing these signs so early on and so clearly, but I am not sure what to do about it. Any suggestions?

Answer: The eyes are a key here. The information heard auditorily is bouncing off his head and not going into the brain for consideration of future use. He copies everything said, but really hears nothing. He is not "focusing". His mode of learning needs a new around the corner approach. Let's try a kinesthetic or thru the fingers approach to getting the "eyes" to focus on new learning. Write a number from zero to five. Have him pick up crayons that match that number. Then have him make dots next to the number. Throw them away and start over, so he cannot rely on the other completed work, but must rely on his auditory/visual memory. Keep using fresh new blank sheets and writing the number spoken orally on the sheet. Repeat picking up crayons and making dots. Add, for fun a square block with dots on each side.He can help make it. Toss the block and have your son jump as many times as dots shown. Now make a block with only numbers. This transfers action into visual/auditory learning. On reading/spelling a CVC word, he will need visual help, since this is the method he unsuccessfully relies on but finds comfort in at this time. Put a CVC word in front of him and help him sound it out. As you both sound it out , sit across from him. Your son needs to use his finger under each sound as he forms the word. You , the parent, needs to place your finger also on the word but at the top. By example he will kinesthetically relate the sound to the symbol and to the changes of one to another. The second time he is to do the same thing by himself. Wit the eyes not focusing, he will probably not listen to himself even though he says the sounds correctly. What ever word he decide was sounded out, you write directly under the one you want him to learn. Example; You wrote "bad" and he said, "ban". Say to him, " I want you to read the word on the paper, but you chose to say a new word that ends with a "n" sound. Here is the new word you said, now sound out the one written on the paper first. Be calm and loving during this exchange. It may take as many as thirty tries before he focuses. You will see a sparkle in his eyes when he finally discovers the real word. Do not tell him the word, but do help him discover a method that demands focusing with success. Let him rest before attempting the same word (15 minutes). On the second attempt, show him the word, turn over the paper and ask for oral spelling. Whatever he says,write it down under the word and visually compare. Turn the word with comparing word over and ask again for a spelling. Continue with a warm, laughing nature until he successfully spells the word. Let him rest with a big hug for success. You are transferring internal mental learning behavior one step at a time. Get back with me in a month.

Question 28:My five year old grandson has just completed the first nine weeks of kindergarten. At conference this past week, the teacher related that he only recognizes the letters o and s. She was asked her methods of teaching the letters. She said that she teaches them by the months. In August, they learned the letters of that month, September, etc. My problem with this method is how does it relate. She goes over all the letters as a group every morning or day, but never teaches one specific letter for mastery. I am very uncomfortable with this method, I just don't see that this is an appropriate method to teach "unknowns" to a group of children.When asked how many children of the eighteen could recognize the twelve letters required for that period of time she said four. I asked if she saw a problem with that and she said, "no". Also, these students are supposed to be able to read the following words after this nine week period; red, yellow, orange, black. I do not feel that this is learning to read, it is only recognizing that certain shapes made that particular word. The students haven't even learned the letter sounds yet. Should we try and get him into a different classroom as soon as possible? We are really concerned that she is going to create a big problem with his learning the letters and learning to read.

Answer: Teaching means creative imagination in presenting symbols called letters. The Letter Hotel is a fun way to present letter/sounds using the three major modes: auditory, kinesthetic & visual at http://www.quickstartreading.com/product.html. You, the parent or the grandparent, are the first teacher. The school teacher, is the second, who supports phonic based learning using repeated patterns of simply consonant-vowel-consonant words. Children in kindergarten really don't care if they learn to read. After all reading takes effort like learning to ride a 2 wheel bike. The school teacher is the motivation of the effort needed to learn to phonically sound out words. Teaching by configuration is used after phonic sounding out has found success in student's mind and the effort to sound out words has been accomplished. At home set examples with your own lips as to how to sound out a word. Use simple books and work slowly. Visit all of the kindergarten classes at your school and ask for a meeting with the teacher to explain her method of teaching.

Question 29: I am interested in a program to use, that can teach 3 or 4 year-olds to read. Is this your program? I am looking for a thesis topic for 3's.

Answer: Your three year old is at the wonderful stage of experimentation with all the new stimuli. The speed of learning at this stage is uninhabited with fears, so do everything you can to expose your child to learning, including learning sounds and letters. Keep in mind that learning should be with smiles and encouragement, so the attitude develops normally with the learning. Our new Letter Hotel Kit (http://www.quickstartreading.com/product.html) is fun. The CD guides the early learner in a coloring book through all of the letters, and a toy man helps a three year old discover new doors of sound/symbol learning. A three year old thesis might be on left and right handiness development and comparison. This is a topic not discussed enough and so needed in early childhood development. Let us know if we can help you in any way.

Question 30:Our daughter is 6 years old and is slightly below average (school assesment) when it comes to reading and writing ability. Can you give any advice on how we can help her to improve. We read with our daughter every day but I guess there are better methods.

Answer: Increase physical activities daily, such as ball tossing, before she reads to get the mind focusing. Keep a marker under each line to help focusing during homework. Do not tell her the answer to the difficult words. Instead, help your 6 year old daughter blend by singing, so she discovers her own reading ability. Get back with me if problems continue.

Question 31: Hi. I just accessed your web site and was very interested. I have a young son who will be 5 in September. He will not be going into kindergarten until the following Fall. My son, Braeden, has some high level language processing difficulties. he tests within age level expectations, but functionally and qualitatively you can see he has difficulties. He is a very cautious internal, observant young boy. He has fine motor delays and has had sensory intergration therapy to improve his coordination, motor planning and sensory processing. I am a stay at home mom who is concerned about his future learning. Is there anything that you could recommend that we do know to facilitate his learning to read and write? We read books everyday and he often picks up books and will "read" them by himself. SInce he has been 6 months old, he has sat and listened to us reading book after book after book. He has some reading comprehension difficulties as well. He also is beginning to pick up on some phonic skills such as saying things like "Ball and Braeden have the same sound/letter--B" He is also asking questions like "What does Iguanadon start with". Anyway, I love my son dearly and am wanting to do whatever I can to help him. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Answer: Your searching for the unique way Braeden learns will be found by trial and error. First, some more professional help maybe needed to help his mind focus on reading such as vision therapy. Second, Braeden needs more eye hand exercises daily such as crawling on a rug for two ten minute sessions and ball tossing and kicking with Mom daily with specific directionality goals. Example: kick with your left leg only today; catch only with your right hand, etc. Third, he needs to increase auditory learning skills. He sounds as if he is not listening at all but finds comfort in the rhythm of your voice. Start a story and let him finish it verbally. Now he must participate in the story. He must be part of the special family time. Get back to me after trying all three of my suggestions.

Question 32: My daughter is 6 years old and finishing Kindergarten. She has not really been open to reading and I have not tried to pressure her, but when we have reading time she usually tries to show me that she can read when she memorizes books. I tell her that memorizing a book is not the same as reading and that she needs to look at the words when she tries to read. I think that in some way I am discouraging her. Is there some way that I can make her more interested in reading without making her feel like a failure?

Answer: Guessing at words is a bad habit. It begins with a few successes and the listener says, "that's great, keep reading!" The child thinks reading is easy and says, "I look at the pictures and say the most repeated words and everyone is happy."You need to start a new method by slowly sounding out 3 letter words with your child. Slowing down to a snail's pace will actually speed up reading as she customs herself to a new style of reading called phonics. Sing from one sound to the next with your child. Do not tell her the answer, instead help her to discover the answer. Wait for her mind to take in all the sounds & then put them together. Her eyes will light up with joy when she discovers a word and the mystery of reading.

Question 33: My son is in the 1st grade and 7 years old. His teacher came to me last week 5 days before school is to get out for the summer telling me that he is not reading where he should be and that she is going to hold him back. I have been reading with him all weekend and have found nothing wrong with his reading. I feel that he is right where he should be. I feel that this was completely unfair to him seeing that his report cards have all stated that he was on or above grade average. please what can i do for him?

Answer: Ask for a conference with the teacher and principal immediately. Discuss what "where he should be" means and what modification the teacher has done to try and solve the lacking skills. Perhaps he reads fine but is low in comprehension or the ability to use new information in a creative way. Let the pros guide you, but demand a plan to help him meet standards including exactly how you should work with him at home (method) and what materials you should use at home. Select a new teacher that can help him meet the goals set next year. Consider both 2nd & 3rd grade teachers. Maturity may be a factor.

Question 34: Hi my son is in second grade and we have been told he failed his test and cannot remember words from one page to the next.. Any ideas as to how we can help him?

Answer: Your son has learned to read by configuration (the shape of the word). In second grade the shape of the words are similar & the guessing done in first grade with 80% success on his part, no longer works. He relied on pictures to tell a story and now the method doesn't work.Your son needs a new method to learn to read. He needs to blend sounds by singing from one letter to another until in his own "audio input" the whole word is heard. Do not tell him the word. Let him use this new method slowly until he can hear the words he says to himself. Use a simple child dictionary with no pictures. Every day have him read by "audio input" the words on one page. He may not stop vibrating between sounds so the "audio input" can develop new synapses of understanding in the brain.

Question 35: My daughter reads very well, but lacks motivation. Are there any products out there that will help to motivate her to read. My daughter would rather play then read and does not seem to get lost in her books, or how should I say become a part of a story she is reading.

Answer: Imagination is the center of reading for enjoyment. Playing is imagination. Play act a story. Take parts of different characters and pretend you are both inside the book. You set up the fun. Could your daughter be saying, "If it is not fun, it is not worth thinking about." Try a new approach. Also you set an example of how to read a story with expression. Give each character a different voice and have her follow your example. Keep it fun & imagination will follow.

Question 36: My sister made me aware of her son's reading problem last week. My nephew is 8 years old and he is in the third grade. The school would like to hold him back because they say his reading is not up to par. Is there a way that his mother and I can improve his reading so that he does not have to be held back? What should we do?

Answer: Any family can work together to get an 8 year old up to grade level. Holding back a child only works if the new teacher is skilled with working individually with a "behind-in-reading" child. If the teacher depends totally on the district reading program (repeat the same way until he gets it), the child will be still behind in reading. A new individualized approach will need to be created in to meet the specific mode for your nephew. Usually a "behind-in-reading" child cannot learn with an auditory program and will need a combo of hands-on and visual cues to relate to the general classroom reading program.To begin at home, experiment with the eye-hand coordination to improve reading focusing. Toss a ball with him, calling out left hand or right hand catching. Kick a ball with him daily asking for a left foot kick or a right foot kick. Have him dribble a ball in one hand or the other for five minutes. Play with clay or color to get the brain to coordinate volunteer eye/hand movement.Check out eye, hand and foot dominance. Check out hearing and vision by a professional. Schools are understaffed and can not give a detailed test to check out physical problems. A child that is behind will need testing immediately by a vision therapist /eye doctor.Start here then get back with me.

Question 37:My daughter does not comprehend anything she reads, and I can't get her to slow down, she runs the words together and doesn't understand a thing she read. Even when she does slow down, she doesn't remember what she read. I think she is just reading to be reading and doesn't really care if it sinks in. I usually stop her after a few paragraphs and quiz her to see if she understood the previous paragraphs.

Answer: Children panic and may freeze during reading. Their lips form words but they hear nothing. Watch her eyes during reading to see if they are glassy or moving with disinterest. Sit across during a reading session to observe physical habits that may explain why reading is difficult. Check if she is leaning to one side and only using one eye. Check to see is the glare from lights is irritating.Experiment with an easier book with larger letters. Ask your child to chose her own book that she can and wants to read. Notice the type on the book and the level.

Question 38: My child wont work with me. When she does, the first time she gets frustrated she will quit. How can I get her to be intrusted in working with me?

Answer: Meet the child at his level, then gradually bring him back to grade level. Before beginning talk about frustration. Ask her about what is hard and what is easy before beginning. Draw a picture of frustration. Then give instructions like this, "Learning to read is like bicycling, it is hard at first but all of a sudden reading will be easy and never forgotten. When you are confused, point to the picture and we will stop and take a slowed down look at the word. We will look at the vowel sound and the consonant sounds and sing the letters together until it forms a word you recognize. I will not tell you the word but I will help you sound it out. Then we will write it down on a special list to review later. Any word on the list that becomes easy to sound out slowly will be marked off. Ten words gone means a walking trip to the park."

Question 39: My son is in the 3rd grade and is a slow reader. He has a hard time breaking down the words. What can I do?

Answer: The term "breaking down" is a little confusing. If you are referring to parts of speech, I suggest cutting the sentence up word by word with scissors. Then lay the words scrambled on a table. Tell your 3rd grader to make sense out of the words by putting them in a sentence. When ever a line of words is formed ask him to read it as it is placed. Then ask him to make a decision on if it makes sense. Ask questions such as which word shows action (verb) or is a person, place or thing (noun). When his mind is clear on what makes sense the parts of speech will begin to stand out.

Question 40: My children are in Kindergarten, and they are learning to identify star words such as and, can, do, did, the, get, it, we, said, I, like, not, have, but, a, in, put, my, go, as well as the number words and the color words. The one kid is picking the words up rather well but the other is having problems remembering the words.

Answer: Solving a complex reading problem takes investigation. There are hundreds of reading styles. One of them is for your Kindergarten child who is not getting the typical sight word approach. One child have figured out a personal system to cope with learning the 500 dolch words frequently used and the other child has not. Let's start the investigation with a paper towel cardboard roll and a little game to check on coordination. Have the Kindergarten child stand directly in front you with their hands at their side and legs together. Then say to the child, "We are playing a peek-a-boo game. Then grab the roll with only one hand and look at me through one end. Remember only one hand."The child who learns the sight words easily will usually have his right hand holding the roll directly over the right eye. A child with problems will hold the tube between the eyes and roll one eye towards the tube. You must hand the tube to the child with your two hands or they will select a hand according to the way you pass the paper towel roll to them.Check if the heads tilts to one side when looking through the tube. Check if the eye turns in, etc.Get back to me as to the results. We are on an investigation to find an individual technique to make every child a reader.

Question 41: My child has a problem getting started reading. What do I need to do?

Answer: No child will start unless he knows it will end. If the reading lesson ends in disappointment, why would any child want to start again. Set short goals with the child before beginning, so he knows when the lesson stops. Be encouraging by using positive sentences before the child starts. "You can do this easily." To get a first time start you might use one stick of gum in foil. I put the shiny foil half out under five pages ahead. The child wants the gum, so the lingering potential taste makes the hard core learners strive for the preset goal.

Question 42: My child has no confidence. He cries everytime one little detail is wrong.

Answer: Your child has too much self-discipline. Perfection can destroy any personality. Have a mess art time, a time to freely move the hands and fingers in wet, gooey paint. A time to discover that mistakes are O.K. Our greatest scientists learn from their mistakes. Also model your acceptance of your own mistakes. "Oh, I spilled that paint. It's O.K. for me to make a mistake. I'll just clean it up". Experiencing new coping methods and modeling words will turn a problem into fun.

Question 43: My child always rushes thru her homework quickly, leaving a messy paper. What can I do?

Answer: Using a timer, set a reasonable limit to a homework assignment. Explain that in the time limit the work may not be finished. "If you finish all of it then you loose 10 points, but you get 5 points for every line that is written neatly. 30 points means a star on the refrigerator for neat work and a hug from me." The race will have new meaning now.

Source: http://www.quickstartreading.com/read.html


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