Friday, August 21, 2015

When Your Own Child Struggles with Reading ~ Real Talk (Part 2)

 Hello Friends!
Welcome back for part two of my real talk about when your own child struggles with reading.  Yesterday I shared the history of our struggle.  You can read it here.  Today I want to share about second grade, some decisions we made, and what is working.

Yesterday I left off with the end of first grade.  As I was thinking and reflecting on my post I realized that there were some positives about her first grade year here.  The biggest one was the math program her school used.  They used Singapore Math.  It was my first exposure to Singapore Math and I really like it.  I like the strategies they teach the kids and the way the content is taught.  The scope and sequence is really good and on par with what first graders need to know.  The other positive was that in combination with her reading instruction and the resources I was supporting her with at home, she was making progress.  Slow progress, but progress nonetheless.

But her school refused to promote her to second grade.  I knew she was ready to do second grade work given the chance.  So I went to the principal of the new school a mile from our house and I begged.  The director of the school was the same director of her school from first grade so I made sure to let her know what I was doing and asking.  The good news was that they said yes and Suri moved on to second grade.  She had a WONDERFUL teacher.  She had a relationship with this teacher which is crucial in getting Suri to perform for you.  If she likes you she's much more likely to do what you ask.  She made a ton of progress this year in reading.  She made some progress in math.  It was a fantastic year and I was so hopeful.

I WAS so hopeful.....

Then I learned about who her third grade teacher would be.  It is not a good match for Suri.  There is only one teacher per grade level at this school.  We worked so hard to overcome a really tough first grade year.  We can't go backwards...  What to do???

Could we put her through another transition?  

Talk about agonizing....

At the end of the school year we were also deciding whether we wanted to stay another two years or head back home to Seattle.  With her education seeming to be suffering we ultimately made the decision to head home.  So our family will be moving home to Seattle in November/December.  But what to do for the beginning of her third grade year??

Homeschool??  Would our mother/daughter bond survive knowing how challenging working together has been in the past??

Leave her in her current school and hope the warnings were wrong and a couple of months won't do too much damage??

Send her to another school?  A school that could meet all her needs but is on the other side of the island and is basically a self-contained classroom?

Ultimately we decided on the other school.  It is very similar to a self-contained classroom back in the states.  Is it her least restrictive environment?  No.  Is she loved, nurtured, and being pushed to perform at her highest ability?  Absolutely.  She attended the school for their summer session and is doing so well there.  She has bonded with her teacher and teacher assistants.  She is learning to sign with her classmates that are non-communicative.  She is learning to show compassion and empathy for her classmates whose struggles are greater than hers.  But she still has some gaps...

I had to have a real and honest conversation with myself.  

Yes, working with her is hard.  Yes, there are tantrums and tears and whining and yelling.  But this is what I know how to do.  This is what I'm good at.  She's my daughter.  I HAVE to do this for her.  I HAVE to show her how amazing reading is.  Time to dig in and get it done.  No more excuses!

So along with the intense instruction she is receiving at her new school we have started "Mamacademy".  She is enjoying a 2 week break currently until school resumes in September so we have Mamacademy in full swing.  We work every morning for 1-2 hours at our table.  I say 1-2 hours because it depends on her.  Some days we work smoothly through everything and we are done in an hour.  Other days there are tantrums and tears and whining.... it takes a lot longer.  What are we doing?  Intense reading intervention.

**I know that she knows her letters and sounds.

**I know that she knows her short vowel sounds but occasionally confuses them when reading.

**I know that she struggles with long vowel patterns.

**I know that she doesn't use her reading strategies when she comes to word she doesn't know.

**I know that she knows Fry's first 200 words for her sight words.

**I know that she really struggles with reading comprehension.

So knowing all this where do I start??

I'm starting with reviewing short vowel sounds.  Yes she pretty much knows them but I want her to buy into working with me and I can do that by building her confidence.  I can review short vowel sounds with her, she feels confident and successful because it's relatively easy for her, and mom and Suri are happy.  Mother/daughter relationship intact.  :)

What am I using?  Two resources:

Deanna Jump's Guided Reading 101: Printables, Strategies, and Word Work.  You can get it here.

Reading Reflex... a book that details a reading intervention program widely used in the US.

Want to know where to start with your child?  Want to know more about what kids need and in what order when they learn to read?  Grab your cup of coffee and check back in on Sunday when I share some action steps and resources to get you started and how we are using the above resources.

See you Sunday~  

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