I read an article yesterday that frustrated me that was about Struggling Readers. It was frustrating for a few reasons. The article talked more than once about the "small window of time" in order to teach a child to read successfully, the importance of learning to read at an early age, and that if a child does not read by the third grade it is so much more difficult for them to learn after that. There even was a literacy statistic listed after the article that said, " the most important learning to read time for a child is 2 through 7 years old."
Articles like this frustrate me even though the tone of the article was meant to be encouraging and to trust in the Lord, because to a mom that feels like she is swimming upstream against the current with a child that is not reading well, it imprints "I am a failure" right into their brain. It gives them a hopeless "My child is never going to be successful because I can't teach them to read" feeling. Articles like this make them believe if you don't "get them reading" on grade level by the third grade or there is no hope. You child is doomed for the rest of their lives. No pressure right?
I have experience with the struggling reader. I have blogged about it many times because I don't want other moms to read things like this that make them feel like a failure because their child is not reading fluently by 2nd or 3rd grade. I don't know who came up with this idea when in fact, there is plenty of research showing that a better time for a child to learn is when they are older.
There is nothing more frustrating as a parent than to watch your child struggle with something they want to do so badly. My Alex would take books and pretend to read them because he saw his older brother and sister reading and he wanted to read so badly but could not make sense of phonics. IT BROKE MY HEART. If I had not had two older children already homeschooling, a supportive husband and homeschooling friends, and not continually reading for information on the subject of struggling readers and dyslexia, I probably would've caved to the pressure and put him in a "real school" because I had failed as a homeschool mom.
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
I think this verse applies to homeschooling. We need to be strong and courageous and know that God is with us even in the most discouraging times when we feel like failures as a homeschooling mom. God has called you to homeschool your children and he will be with you through all of the challenges and the triumphs as well.
I have seen such great improvements in my struggling readers reading this year! I honestly cannot believe how well he is reading! The child that I feared would never read, who had to have all of his schoolwork read to him was reading Math problems to his little brother the other day. It was all I could do to not cry! He has been reading aloud to me every day, from chapter books! There is hope mamas for your struggling reader! I have had great success with the All About Spelling/All About Reading Programs. Their multi sensory approach made phonics and blending sounds make sense to Alex. You can find a review I wrote for All About Reading here . I highly recommend All About Reading and/or All About Spelling. I do not have all the answerrs to his reading struggles. I will never completely understand why he cannot read the word "to" or still will spell cat "tac" but can read the word "comfortable" with no problem, but he is reading, and reading successfully on his own with no more pretending! I am so glad I did not give up and believe there was no hope once he turned 9!
I am going to link to a short article written by Andrew Pudewa from The Institute For Excellence in Writing. It is very encouraging and links to great resources to help with reading struggles. You can find his article here. Here is a quote from the last paragraph:
"Late reading is not the great disaster that it might seem. Although the education
establishment has made reading a god (because without reading one can’t take
standardized tests), we need not follow that disordered thinking. There’s no reading test
at the gates of heaven, and many successful people—even those who’ve gone on to get
doctoral degrees—didn’t read until in their teens. As parents we desperately want to help
our children overcome obstacles to learning to read and write, and I hope I’ve offered a
few thoughts on the different places to look for that help. But above all, we must keep
things in perspective: God made our children the way they are, blessings are often hidden
inside challenges, and with His guidance we can help them find help for the symptoms of
dyslexia without falling into extreme frustration or despair."
*link to All About Learning Press is my affiliate link. I only form affiliate relationships with companies whose products I actually use and can recommend.