Do You Need Reading Help for Your Student?
Struggling readers are under a lot of stress. It is important to address the deficit skills as soon as possible and as early in a child’s academic career as possible. Most children, however, are not identified and treated earlier than third grade. The truth is that how that child was reading in first grade would have strongly predicted what kind of reading success the student would have as a third grader!
Difficulty learning how to read is often a shock for those eager to learn and for those who love and support them. Bright, verbal people sometimes experience difficulty learning how to read fluently. For those of us who never had trouble learning how to read, it is easy to forget how unnatural this process actually is for the human race.
Why? There are three generally agreed-upon and predominant answers. Number one is that a person is a “curriculum casualty”. The classroom literacy instruction was not sufficient or differentiated enough for them to become proficient readers. This does not mean a struggling reader is deficient, it means that they need a more explicit and systematic presentation of the components that underlie “good” reading.
Dyslexia is an inherited genetic trait and another cause for reading failure. Read more about dyslexia here: “What is Dyslexia?” There are different expressions of dyslexia as well. Children may have a “phonological processing deficit” (a core deficit in the diagnosis of dyslexia) only. These children may progress and present differently than children who have a combination of a phonological deficit and a naming speed deficit.
Children who are ESL (English as a Second Language) students or children whose primary language is not always English often experience reading failure. In some cases children who fall into this category do not have a strong language base in either language. As a result, these children enter school with an enormous vocabulary deficit as compared to their “middle-class” peers.
Other children who are “at risk” for developing reading failure aside from causes previously described are children who grow up in poverty with a dearth of valuable language saturation in the home. Needless to say, a lack of financial resources creates a different set of stresses for these children in addition to reading failure. No matter the cause, expert intervention needs to be provided to the struggling reader.
Some children are given small-group instruction within their school day. While this may address reading in a systematic way, it may still not be enough of the right kind of intervention for a child to recover during the critical early years.
Specific and systematic intervention needs to address key elements such as phonological awareness, automatic sound-symbol correspondence, syllabication, morphology, irregular words, spelling conventions, fluency, comprehension and written language. No wonder leaning to read is truly “rocket science.”
Learning to read is not natural. Most of us learn how to speak, but not all of us learn how to read.
Learning to read is hard work and it doesn’t always “work” for everyone. When it doesn’t, or when it is painful, intervention has to take place to prevent further reading failure. Exposure to reading does not make learning to read any easier. In fact, the more a person who is struggling is “made” to read whatever someone deems necessary that they read, the more averse they become. Often the passage, book, or other text presented is too difficult and inconsistent in terms of representing the English Language that a child is expected to master and decipher at certain developmental point in their lives.
Intervention is a term used here to mean comprehensive, differentiated and systematic teaching. This is what we do as clinicians at Holly Graves and Associates, Inc. Each student is given the benefit of the breadth and depth of our knowledge in multi-sensory, research-based instructional materials to provide the most individualized and effective intervention possible for each and every child.
Progress monitoring is continual to adjust for optimal growth. Careful records of our intervention are kept by each clinician and periodic summaries of a student’s progress are prepared to share with parents and other educators.
It is the right of all children to learn to read in the most efficacious way possible and we at Holly Graves and Associates, Inc., are dedicated to making that happen for children that are a part of our practice.