Our 7yr old son is struggling with reading. The sight words (words that you are supposed to just memorize) he is doing so so on. Words that you have to sound out he is not getting at all. He knows all of his letters, he knows all of the letter sounds. He just can't blend them together. Ex: CAT he will make the c sound, the a sound, and the t sound and then say dog. The school has been awesome at trying to help me figure this out. I just got the results of the tests that the special ed department did (they tested everything), and he scored on the low end of average, but only met criteria in 2 of 3 catagories, so he does not qualify for services. At home we have done hooked on phonics, we read out loud every day, zillions of "workbooks", computer/online educational games, etc. He is doing ok in math, but can't read. When you think he's got something and he seems to be on a roll, a few weeks later it is just "poof" gone. All the tests they did didn't tell me anything I don't already know, except that he is on the "low average" for everything. Should I just except it for what it is, and just let him slide through school? Or is there something wrong with him that can be fixed before it is too late. He is only in first grade (late sept birthday). I can't aford to take him to Sylvan, or any of the study help centers, he needs help. I don't know what else to do.
First, I want to ask what kind of testing he has had? If he had a full psycho-educational battery that was ordered by a special education or early intervention team in your school, then that is more valid and reliable than a test that was given to his whole class a the same time.
If he has NOT had an individual psycho-educational please request one in writing and outline the difficulties he has with reading, very much in the way you wrote above.
If he has had a full battery of assessments then you may wish to ask for an update if there has been some time between the previous testing and the current date. If this is the case, talk to the team about more suggestions they could offer to you.
As for strategies to help your child, please note that there are many fun games and techniques that are not very expensive to help him learn to read without breaking the bank.
Here are a few suggestions:
1. Play Doh Make letters and words with play doh. If you have a video recorder or a computer that can take video, play in front of the camera. Have him watch you make the letters, sound it out and then practice. Some kids need to simultaneously SEE and HEAR the process of learning words over and over again. Start with simple two and three letter words. Switch the first, middle or last letter. Such as CAT, BAT, FAT, FIT, SIT SAT, SAM
2. Sign Language. Have your son learn the American Sign Language alphabet. (www.ASLpro.com for an online resource) Then have him use his fingers to spell out the letters and words. This is an integrative kinesthetic approach.
3. Have him take a bucket of water and and an old paint brush and write words on the sidewalk (or use chalk). This supervised activity is a fun and cool way to pass the summer months with learning!
4. Play some new games that help with learning, such as Kubit2Me Little Scholars. This game is available at www.Kubit2Me.com