Reading Symptoms or Causes?
Reading Symptoms or Reading Cause? Which are you treating?
Reading is a lot like those spring allergens and treatment! If your child struggles with reading, do you know their reading ‘symptoms’ apart from the reading ’cause’?
Do any of you suffer with spring allergies? Do you just take medicine for the symptoms or do you know the cause, also? I know, you just want quick relief from the sniffling, sneezing, and scratchy eyes, but if you know the allergens that cause your symptoms…doesn’t that help you more? You can avoid the cause to thus avoid the symptoms better?
I’ve spent several visits this spring at the doctor. I explain where the issue lies and what it feels like. All I have gotten so far are prescriptions (best practices) for ‘symptom’ relief but no one seems interested in finding the ‘source’ (cause) of my issues. Have any of you, or your loved ones, had the same experiences? Defeating isn’t it. You still have the uncomfortable and concerning issues that make your life much more challenging. Sometimes the medicine helps the symptoms and sometimes it doesn’t. Maybe it is the wrong medicine and you get no relief so back to the doctor you go.
Your child’s teacher is very capable of relaying the reading ‘symptoms’ that your child is struggling with in reading.
Symptoms such as:
- omits words when they read
- reads the word wrong but doesn’t stop, and just keeps on reading
- not able to identify the sound for a letter
- taking a long time to complete a reading assignment
- can’t remember what they have read
- ignores punctuation
- omits complete lines of text when reading
- has a limited vocabulary
- can’t decode multi-syllable words
- their sight word vocabulary is low
- your child doesn’t focus on their reading and are easily distracted
- they performed very poorly on their standardized reading test
…and the list goes on.
So you start your child on the prescribed remedies:
- increase their reading time
- take away their play time and make them read more
- no TV or computer
- increase their sight word vocabulary with flash cards
- play reading games
- don’t give them the word when they are reading but rather suggest they look at other parts of the word, or get their mouth ready to say the sound of a letter, or skip over the word and read to the end of the sentence and let the rest of the words help them figure out the unknown word
Don’t get me wrong! These are all ‘best practices’ (prescriptions) from the classroom and the many reading experts. They are scientifically, and research based remedies and necessary skills.
But many times the ’cause’ is much deeper than just the simple application of reading more.
- Why can’t they decode a word? Maybe their foundational reading skill in phoneme awareness is weak. This is the single most important framework to reading success. If your child’s phoneme awareness is weak…so to, will be their decoding skills.
- Your child’s sight word vocabulary is low and no matter how long they practice, they can’t identify those words in text. Perhaps they need to strengthen their ability in ‘symbol imagery.’ They need to image those letters in those words on the screen in their mind. Shadow write that image on their screen also. Repitition at least fifteen times to get it into their brain’s storage room or ‘memory.’ And also, parents. This is needed for spelling. Do you have a poor speller? Chances are they avoid writing of any kind then, right?
- They just read it! OMG, why can’t they remember what they read? Think about this. When you or your child sees a movie, they more than likely can recount the entire story from beginning to middle to end! How can this be? When they read text, they can’t remember a thing? Will making them read more correct this? No! Maybe their ‘concept imagery’ is weak and needs to be strengthened. They need to be able to image what they are reading in order to remember what they read. Movies are nothing but ‘images’ so recalling the movie and its parts in sequence is much easier. Think about it!!!
So, where is this all leading? Parents, you are your child’s first responder to their reading symptoms AND causes. It is your responsibility to monitor their grade level reading ability for ‘symptoms’ and deeper rooted ’causes.’ I am a Reading Specialist and can help you monitor your child’s grade level reading ability with informal reading assessments. Done at least twice a school year will allow you to seek help in strengthening the weak areas of their reading process. Maybe this alone is not showing progress in your child’s reading. It may be necessary to look deeper for the ’cause.’ Are they dyslexic? Do they have speech difficulties? Are they non-verbal and perhaps on the Autism Spectrum? Do they need an eye exam by a pediatric specialist? Your child may require deeper therapy.
Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed. Research shows that one of the most important responsibilities voiced by parents is to see their child succeed!
CALLING ALL PARENTS:A preliminary ‘symptom’ relief for your child’s reading struggles is through early identification of weak areas in your child’s reading process. How? By using a supplemental, informal, reading assessment such as my Nuts About Reading. Let’s take a closer look for the ’causes.’ CONTACT ME at firstname.lastname@example.org for answers to any questions you might have about your child’s reading ability. Go to the products page and sign up and purchase your child’s informal reading assessment using my online format and your home computer. SAFE, CONVENIENT, CONFIDENTIAL, and AFFORDABLE.