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How to teach silent reading?

(31 Posts)
MandarinTwist Tue 26-Feb-13 13:28:25

My DS is in Y5 and is very badly dyslexic and really, really, really struggles with reading.

He can now read level 2b books 'with support' - ie if I sit next to him and point to every word. If he gets it wrong I leave my finger on the word and he tries again.

However, due to his early difficulties he is in the habit of guessing a lot - even though he's been very well taught with phonics and can sound out most words, he still guesses.

So, my problem is he can't really read silently at all. Because he guesses any word that he can't read easily. So, for example, he get's most questions wrong on a reading comprehension paper.

How can I teach him to read silently?

How can he know if he's read a word right or not?

How can I stop him guessing?

MandarinTwist Wed 27-Feb-13 18:21:46

Thanks mrz.

Hopefully these Hi/Lo comprehension passages will be easy enough.....

mrz Wed 27-Feb-13 18:01:36

MandarinTwist I would use easier texts to support comprehension so he can put the effort into understanding rather than decoding. Perhaps work on texts you feel he can read fairly accurately for comprehension and let him read these silently while answering verbally so you check his understanding.
Reading silently requires less effort (he can focus on reading rather than vocalising what he reads) than reading aloud but of course you can't be sure he is reading accurately if he's reading silently I would continue reading aloud at home to help develop accuracy with his normal books in addition to comprehension using simpler texts.

MandarinTwist Wed 27-Feb-13 13:44:01

Yes I've talked to Dyslexia Action. They were very happy to sell me tutoring and an EP report, but didn't have any other advice. I was really disappointed in them and their attitude.

I have considered speech & text recognition programs, and reading pens, but don't want to go down that route yet, as I think if we do that he is far less likely to ever learn to read and write properly which is my goal.

We can always take up that option in secondary if need be. But I don't want him to have stuff like that in primary.

And actually his writing is fine enough to be usable now. He doesn't mind writing so I wouldn't ever consider getting him to use software instead of writing.

It's just the last stage of learning to read we need to crack.

stargirl1701 Wed 27-Feb-13 13:38:33

Have you talked to the charity 'Dyslexia Action'?

Have you considered having him use a speech & text recognition programme? You can use them to write and to read text.

MandarinTwist Wed 27-Feb-13 13:36:16

Thanks stargirl and cecily.

I've ordered this book - Hi/Lo Passages to Build Reading Comprehension as they seem to have the same approach as Barrington Stoke - ie interest age higher than reading age.

Hopefully we can practice reading comprehension using them, so that at least he gets a chance to practice that skill. I might get him to read the passage silently first and then out loud to me. What do you think?

At home we read Barrington Stoke books, and he loves the teenage edgy themes in them.

School have done an awful lot of Star's list with him. He really has very bad dyslexia. At this age it's hard to get the balance right between taking him out of class, which means he misses out on something else and doing interventions with him.

And right now I'm not keen to ask school to do anything more with him because he's already missing half an hour a day to do phonics. So I'd rather continue to do stuff with him at home instead.

Not that school are keen to do more either.....

CecilyP Wed 27-Feb-13 12:06:17

It is reasurring that he really can read just about any word if he sounds it out, so it does sound as if his brain is just rushing ahead. Sometimes it doesn't really matter as in the case of rod/pole but in other situations it is really important that he reads what is actually there rather than what he thinks might be there.

I still don't see silent reading as the problem; it matters that he reads accurately and with understanding. Whether he does it silently or out loud is not the most important thing. And unless someone listens to him read at this stage, they will be unable to correct the inaccuracy. I also agree with stargirl about the need for more age and interest appropriate books.

It is good that he is interested in other subjects like history and science and this will stand him in good stead in secondary. You may also find that the secondary learning support department is both more helpful and more communicative.

stargirl1701 Wed 27-Feb-13 08:05:38

OK. 10. That's not much intervention at his age. Does he have an IEP? Do you meet with the class & support teachers to agree targets?

ORT Level 9 seems pretty unsuitable to me. If he was in my class I would use Barrington Stoke books which have an appropriate interest level but lower reading age.

In the past (I'm on mat leave) I have also used the following with dyslexic pupils:
Toe by Toe
Wordshark (computer prg)
Rainbow Reading
Stairway to Spelling
Literacy World Satellites books
Read Write Inc Recovery

I would also be teaching spelling using the senses - Phonix cubes, plasticine, Back2Board, gloop, etc.

Does he write with cursive script?

MandarinTwist Wed 27-Feb-13 07:10:53

stargirl - he's 10. Phonics is the only intervention hrs on that I know about. But I think in class he is supported by the TA or teacher when needed.

cecily - his comprehension on a passage read to him I think is OK. He certainly comes home and tells me lots about what he's learnt in science, history etc. it really is a classic dyslexia can't read problem.

By guessing I mean guessing based on what he thinks the story is going to say. So he said fishing rod instead of pole. He didn't even look at the word pole just assumed it was going to be rod.

Sometimes he may also guess based on the first few letters. But again the guess would always be a word that would make sense in the story.

The stupid thing is he really can read just about any word if he sounds it out. I guess his brain is going faster than his reading which is why he guesses?

I can see what you all mean about him not being ready to read silently. But he's in Y5. I don't think I have the luxury of waiting till he's ready. It does seem rather an essential skill for secondary school.....

I think he does need to practice reading silently. But that will have to be on very easy texts. If I can find some.....

stargirl1701 Tue 26-Feb-13 22:53:29

Hmmm. I am a teacher (Scotland). His support is phonics and ORT Level 9 - is that all? How old is he?

numbum Tue 26-Feb-13 22:49:34

Smugness and lack of compassion is what generated rude and thoughtless comments

CecilyP Tue 26-Feb-13 22:43:53

He sounds as if he is having real difficulties and I find it hard to understand what generated the rude and thoughtless comments of some of this afternoon's posters.

I don't know that anybody really teaches silent reading, it is just something children do as they become more fluent. However, I don't see any point in him reading silently until he is able to read a lot better. Until his reading improves, he needs a lot more practice which he really does mean he needs someone listening to him read and keeping him 'right'.

There are a few problems here that need to be unravelled. When you say, he sounds out words, does he go through all the sounds and come up with something plausible, or does he then just guess something totally random? Can he work out easy words for himself but get stuck on harder words? Are the problems with comprehension because his reading is inaccurate or does he really not understand? If someone read the passage and the questions to him, would he then be able to answer the questions properly?

It sounds as if the school is not being at all helpful and he really does need more support. However, at this stage, silent reading does not sound like what he needs.

MandarinTwist Tue 26-Feb-13 21:38:33

He gets daily phonics lessons. At school he is reading Level 9 ORT books 'with support'

Yes, he can't understand what he reads and gets frustrated. Or else he just sits quietly and daydreams.

It's school's reaction to this behaviour which surprises me or it would if I hadn't been down this path for the last 6 years

numbum Tue 26-Feb-13 21:29:02

Sorry, that should have read 'I'd guess that he can't understand what he reads and gets frustrated though'

numbum Tue 26-Feb-13 21:28:25

I'd guess that he can't understand what he reads though. If you're not getting anywhere with the SENCO or HT then the next move would be Governors and then the LEA. A y5 child with a level of 2b 'with support' obviously isn't getting enough support. What extra help does he get through the week?

What books is he reading at school?

MandarinTwist Tue 26-Feb-13 21:25:20

numBum - yes, it's made me think. Maybe lots of kids can't read silently and the teacher hasn't noticed?

His teacher certainly hasn't noticed that he can't read silently.

He just thinks he either
* can't understand what he's read or
* when he throws the paper down on the floor and walks out of the room that that's because he doesn't want to read. confused

MandarinTwist Tue 26-Feb-13 21:22:07

ReallyTired - thanks for the link to RRF

Phyllis - funnily enough I have had one or two talks with his teacher and with his SENCO and with his HT over the years. They don't mind that he can't read. They do mind me questioning them though.

When a child is doing very badly at school the last thing the teacher wants to do is talk to the parent.

simpson and talkingNonsense sounds like nobody has any advice as to how to teach silent reading, so maybe you're both right and it can't be done yet.

In the US there seems to be more emphasis on silent reading then there is here in the UK. There are US based programs on building reading fluency but I haven't seen any of them.

numbum Tue 26-Feb-13 21:17:29

IMO (as a teaching assistant so halfway to what you're looking for!), I don't think there's any point in him silent reading unless he can read fluently because it will do more damage. The trouble is, parents assume that, because their child is reading silently, they're reading every word perfectly. The reality is that some children will silently skip over words, pronounce words incorrectly in their heads and not understand half of what they're reading.

If I were you then I'd still listen to him read every night but then let him read whatever he wants at bedtime (magazines of their choice are a good starting point).

And I agree with talkingnonsense, there was no need but expected for the rude replies from some posters

simpson Tue 26-Feb-13 21:05:53

To me (not a teacher) it sounds like he is not ready yet...

If he cannot read accurately without assistance then he probably could not read silently to himself.

However, it might be worth seeing how he gets on with a short easy passage that is not too long and easier than the books he reads aloud and then you can ask him about it afterwards to gauge how much he has understood.

talkingnonsense Tue 26-Feb-13 21:01:38

Crikey, why's this gotten so rude? Ime, you can't read silently until you can read aloud accurately( not neccessarily fluently or with expression but that helps). You need to keep keep practising, and help him develop strategies to check meaning through context.

Shattereddreams Tue 26-Feb-13 20:52:08

Wait a while longer, there are some teachers who post who may come along.

PhyllisDoris Tue 26-Feb-13 19:44:17

Why don't you ask the boy's actual teacher?

learnandsay Tue 26-Feb-13 18:26:01

I've got a tip for you. Why don't you thank the people who've given their time to help you so far?

MandarinTwist Tue 26-Feb-13 18:21:13

Any tips or ideas from teachers?

ReallyTired Tue 26-Feb-13 13:54:30

I am sorry that your son is struggling to read. I am not a teacher, but I suggest you post your questions in the reading reform foundation discussion board.

"I wouldn't put too much pressure on your DS - he'll work things out in time.
I think the important thing is that he learns to enjoy reading - the rest will come."

That may well be true if a child is five or six years old and can't read, but the OP son is in year 5 and 10 years old.

I imagine that your son can read material that is within his ablity silently. I suppose your issue is how to teach a severely dyslexic child to read and sadly there are no easy answers.

The reading reform foundation has a lot of specialist reading teachers who post. I hope they can point you in the right direction.

learnandsay Tue 26-Feb-13 13:46:42

Why don't you write to a teachers' convention, then, rather than posting in a forum for mums? Do you shop in the swimming pool?

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