Monday, August 29, 2011

My Son and Reading....What I did to help him with his struggle.

I have an absolute passion for reading, and that is one thing that I had hoped to pass to my children. You can imagine my concern when in first grade our son couldn't do sight words, then when he was passed to second grade he could not read. I knew there was a problem, but I couldn't get anyone to listen to me. I remember sitting in a meeting with a group of teachers and wanting to absolutely bang my head on the wall because the only solution that was offered was to 1)Send him back to first grade or 2)Tutor him with first graders then let an assistant who didn't speak very good English help with his speech and reading. I begged them to consider dyslexia, but was told that it was not a disability and they would not take it into consideration even if I did have him tested.

Immediately following that meeting, I went to the main office and my son was moved to his present school within two days. Surprisingly, he was immediately tested at that school and was found to have "strong dyslexic tendencies". FINALLY....after struggling through Kindergarten and First grade we knew what we were dealing with. We had a new fabulous teacher who sat down with me and mapped out a plan. My husband and I did not expect miracles from her, but we felt like that is exactly what she performed. Our plan was to hold him back so the remainder of the year at the new school would be used for catch up. We were not so much concerned with his grades as his progress. He was also tested and put into a Texas Scottish Rites Program for dyslexic children that was offered at the school. He started his new school in the middle of the first 9 wks of 2nd grade. At that time he tested at a PreK reading level, but when school ended he was reading on a beginner 2nd grade level!!!

I thank God everyday for Beechwood Elementary, the Texas Scottish Rites program that was being offered there and his teacher, Jennifer McCaa. If we had not received the zone transfer to move him and  ....I don't know where my son would be.

In saying that.....has he still struggled? Yes. Self esteem issues are difficult, but also just finding what interest him so that he will want to read has been very challenging. Our school is big on Accelerated Reader, and our kids have to read so many books, as well as, take computerized test on those. Every year has been a constant battle to complete his goal. We are now into about the fourth week of school and in the past I would still be battling with him to get past a few chapters or even stick with the same book. This summer I had an idea to try to help him with his reading AND get him interested.

After receiving a Nook Color for Christmas, I started thinking that it may be helpful for him to read his books from an ereader. By using an ereader he can change the font and the text size. With him being dyslexic this is a huge help for him. After getting the Nook I found a website called AR BookFinder that I was able to use as a reference to find if there was an AR Test and the AR level of any book purchased. We then sat down together and started browsing books to see what may catch his interest. I made it a point to write down the titles and prices so I could go back to them at any time. He presently has a list of books he WANTS to read that just about fills one whole page!! Not only that....he is one chapter book away from meeting his goal and we are not quiet half way through the nine weeks.

To say we are thrilled would be an understatement!!! It has been a long hard road, but I still have hope of him finding a passion for reading.

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