Archives for October 2014

Why Do Kids Hate School?

Child hates school

Does Your Child Hate School?

A 3rd grader hates school and mom asks Dr. Linda what to do. The answers include finding out if she has ADHD, or a physical problem first. Having more fun with learning and physical movement both also help.

Dear Dr. Linda:

My little girl Tammy is already whining about school starting. She’ll be in 3rd grade. I’m not really sure why she doesn’t like school. She liked her teacher last year and has lots of friends.

Her grades were o.k., but I know she could do better. She keeps telling me that school is boring and that her homework is boring. And she certainly didn’t get too much homework.

I think she makes mistakes on her arithmetic and reading worksheets because she just doesn’t pay attention. So now she’s really not reading up to her grade level. And she doesn’t know her arithmetic facts for her grade either.

Do you have any suggestions? Thanks. Perplexed Mom

Dear Perplexed Mom:

Tammy isn’t the only little girl who finds school boring. Parents sometimes ask me why do kids hate school? So many factors can cause a child to say that school is boring or that they hate it. Some kids have [Read more…]

Reading Strategies for Dyslexia

reading strategies for dyslexiaTiger Tuesday helps dyslexic kids learn to read!

Dyslexia, a common reading disorder affecting as much as 17% of the population, can affect a child’s performance in every class, even math and science. Reading is a basic skill for school success from the primary grades on through college.

All of school can be a struggle for children who can’t read. However, dyslexic children canlearn to read and do well in school if they’re provided with appropriate reading strategies for dyslexia.

The Tiger Tuesday Multisensory Interactive Reading Program provides fun activities with the reading strategies for dyslexia that kids need.

What is Dyslexia?

Children struggle with reading for many reasons. Many of these children aren’t dyslexic. Dyslexia isn’t reading backwards. It’s not a visual problem. It’s not associated with a low IQ. Many people with dyslexia are highly intelligent. Dyslexic children aren’t stupid or lazy.

According the International Dyslexia Association, “Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origi [Read more…]

How to Teach Kids to Read Words

Teaching Children to Read Step by Step

Learning to read begins with vowelsSurprisingly, learning to read begins soon after birth,  when an infant hears spoken language. The more language young children hear, the more the language part of the brain develops. Hearing a variety of words and language patterns, through conversation or by listening to and looking at picture books, promotes development in the “reading centers” of the brain.

Reading Readiness. Next, between the ages of two and four, children are introduced to the alphabet. The English alphabet is made up of 26 letters. Five letters are called vowels, a, e, i, o, and u. (Eventually they learn that w and y sometimes act like vowels.) The other 21 letters are referred to as consonants.

As an aside, for those who are interested, vowels are sounds made with unrestricted air flow through the mouth. Consonants, on the other hand, are sounds made with restricted air flow, usually by the closed lips or by the tongue against the teeth or upper palate. Interestingly, in other languages, even more complex sounds are created than English speakers are accustomed to making.    

Preschool children usually enjoy learning the alphabet because it involves fun activities like singing the ABC song, pointing to or touching the letters on cards or in games and toys, writing the letters in activity books or playing electronic alphabet games. By doing these activities they learn to recognize and write the 26 letters in the alphabet, in both upper and lower case. [Read more…]

Is Retention the Answer?

Retention not the answer for dylsexia

Holding Kids With Dyslexia Back a Grade is Not the Answer!

Dr Linda argues that retention is never the answer for slow readers. Instead get them the appropriate remedial help.

Dear Dr. Linda,
My mom, who lives in South Carolina, told me she read that her state is planning to improve their educational performance with a new plan to go into effect in 2017.

They’re proposing that any child who’s not reading at a third grade level by the end of third grade will be retained.

I almost choked when I read that.

My son who’s in 8th grade has severe dyslexia. He reads at a third grade level. By the way, he’s also is on the honor roll. If they kept him back because of his reading, he’d still be in third grade!

How can I, and other parents of children who have dyslexia and other learning issues, get through to the people who make these laws? Any advice will help.

Thanks, Alison.

Dear Alison,
Since I haven’t read the article, nor do I know about the new law in South Carolina, it’s difficult to comment on this. However, if that’s mandated by 2017, I hope there’s more to it because [Read more…]

What do Beginner Readers Need?

What do beginner readers need?What do preschoolers, kindergartners and 1st graders love?

Beginning readers play, run around, skip, sing, and imagine. They love learning new things about their world. They’ve got questions, energy, and enthusiasm.

Most, especially if they’re been read to or introduced to books, look forward to reading themselves.

What they don’t have [Read more…]

How to Promote Reading in Your Home

Create a Reading Environment to Help Kids Learn to Read

Dr. Linda explains why a reading environment at home is important and how to promote reading with your children.

Dear Dr. Linda,

Madison’s teacher is telling parents to encourage reading at home. She says she’s not just talking about helping Madison with reading her school book or helping with homework.
Man reading to himself models reading for children.

We do both of these things already. And we read stories to Madison when she was younger.

The teacher recommended creating a reading environment at home. I have no idea what she means. She didn’t explain how to promote reading.

Can you tell us if you think a “reading environment” is a good thing and how to promote reading? Wondering about reading

Dear Wondering about Reading,

I’m assuming the teacher means making sure people in the family read and talk about reading. She’s just didn’t tell you how to promote reading for your kids. She’s probably suggesting [Read more…]

Not Reading in First Grade

Not reading in first grade

Most Children Begin Reading in First Grade. Your Mileage May Vary.

Today’s question comes from a concerned mother who asks Dr. Linda if her son should be reading more and playing less.

Dear Dr. Linda,
Joey is entering first grade and still isn’t reading. All he wants to do is play. Every day this summer I made him take time to read.

I bought him a lot of reading workbooks that said for Grade 1. It’s been a disaster. He won’t do them, ends up crying, and I end up yelling.

I’m really scared that he’s going to have a hard time in school because he won’t be able to read. And, if this isn’t bad enough, my mother-in-law is mad at me because she thinks I shouldn’t be bothering Joey with reading.

She keeps telling me that he should go out and play. How do I convince her that reading is important?

Thanks. Valerie [Read more…]

Multisensory Phonics Reading Program

Phonics Help Kids Learn to Read…And Enjoy Learning!

From the mailbag, Dr. Linda Silbert answers a reader’s questions asking if phonics-based reading programs work for a struggling reader.

Struggling readers can benefit from multisensory phonics reading programsDear Dr. Linda:

My daughter has a terrible time with reading. The teacher suggested that I look for materials that use the Orton-Gillingham Method.

Then I talked to another mom whose daughter also had trouble with reading. She said that she’d heard the Wilson Method was good too.

I have no clue about these methods. I’m not a teacher, but I really want to help my daughter with reading. Can you tell me what to do? Do I have to know these methods in order to help my child? Confused Mom

Dear Confused Mom:

You can certainly help your daughter with reading without knowing the Orton-Gillingham Method or the Wilson Method. But before you do anything, first [Read more…]

Teaching ESL Students to Read

Teaching ESL Kids to readWhat Works Best for ESL Children?

Teaching ESL students to read can be a triple challenge. They don’t know English very well. Some can be dyslexic or have other learning challenges. And few of them will hear English spoken at home, much less will parents be able to help.

Although most of us don’t think about it in this way, language is noise. Children learn their native language by organizing this noise into discreet and meaningful sounds.  The sounds makes sense as syllables , words, and sentences.

ESL students who learn English quickly do this easily. Other students struggle with [Read more…]

Phonics Centered — Consistent with Orton-Gillingham — Multisensory