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DS (age 7) plateau-ed in reading for about a year now

(14 Posts)
LittlePurpleCircle Fri 05-Apr-13 21:54:00

DS is in year 3, and since about this time last year, has been stuck around purple/gold level type books. He can read them well, but give him anything else with more text he finds it very hard, makes lots more mistakes, loses his place, forgets to use phonics etc.
His teacher doesn't seem bothered, says he is a good reader, but he still can't read Horrid Henry or things like that yet. She has offered no suggestions to help him over this bump. I have tried no reading/lots of reading/easy books/hard books/letting him choose/suggesting books/funny books/fact books. I just don't know what else to do.
I wouldn't worry so much, but it is a whole year that his reading skills really haven't developed at all, and he is not 'proper reading' yet imo.
Any ideas?

Periwinkle007 Fri 05-Apr-13 22:02:21

has he had any problems with writing or anything?

SaltedChocolate Fri 05-Apr-13 22:06:50

That could be an eye tracking problem, where he's just not very good at moving his eyes smoothly across a line of text.

Periwinkle007 Fri 05-Apr-13 22:12:27

thats what I was thinking Salted Chocolate.

My daughter has just been having tests at a local vision therapy place as when font is smaller she finds it a lot harder to read. we got her some coloured glasses on saturday and she has read 4 books since then, 2 of them Usborne First reading ones so sort of initial chapter books (level 10 apparently) one of them a blue banana one and one of them an Orion Early Reader one which was a story spread over 8 chapters. She read them all confidently and happily. Now she has been reading this sort of level for a while but she would suffer with eye fatigue and not read much in one go, now she was suddenly reading a lot more. The chapter book took her sun/mon/tue but the other 3 have been the whole book in 1 go.

the place we took her do an eye tracking test of some sort too and depending on the results can then set exercises to do at home to try and train the child to track better. We are going to give her a chance to settle down with the coloured glasses next term and see what her teacher says and then if we think it is needed we will do that test and exercises.

SaltedChocolate Fri 05-Apr-13 22:17:44

If she responds to coloured glasses and gets eye strain you could try Engaging Eyes

LittlePurpleCircle Fri 05-Apr-13 22:19:00

Thanks for replies. DS did wear glasses till a couple of months ago. He was under a hospital opthalmologist for several years re worries about monocular vision, but they are happy his sight is normal now and his eyes are now equally strong, so I don't think it is eye related, and it doesn't explain the length and timing of the plateau.

As for writing, his ideas are good, the execution pretty poor. Verbally he is bright, but underachieving in terms of what he can get down on paper. Again, teacher hasn't offered much, just handwriting sheets to go over and over, which she says will build muscle memory and which I reckon just turns him off the whole idea!

Periwinkle007 Fri 05-Apr-13 22:19:10


Ferguson Mon 08-Apr-13 18:17:04

Hi - exTA (male) here :

I have worked with kids that age who can hardly read at all, mainly due to them coming from homes that don't have or don't value books. Your DS is obviously not in that category, and if he is on purple/gold he isn't exactly very far behind the expected level.

Some children can 'plateau' in ability, effort, socially etc, possibly for reasons not connected with school at all. Is he making good progress in other subjects, or have they slowed as well? Could there be other factors unsettling him : a new sibling; death of a relative, friend, or pet; moving house; domestic worries? Children can be very sensitive to emotional disturbances, and that distracts them from effort at school.

Does he do other activities : sport, art, music etc? Does he play with Lego, and not spend TOO much time on computer games etc?

I think all these variables need to be considered, and even then you may not find a real 'cause' for the 'plateau'. Perhaps reading TO him more, particularly non-fiction if there are subjects that interest and you, or another adult, can share with, him might help. Is it possible he feels you put TOO MUCH desire into him doing well, and, unconsciously he is rebelling against that? (That attitude is more a teenage thing, so be prepared!)

However, I don't doubt that when the time and conditions are right, he will resume his progress, and in due course you will wonder why you worried about it.

maizieD Mon 08-Apr-13 18:24:21

^ and he is not 'proper reading' yet imo.^

It is possible that you are, albeit unconsciously, expecting too much of him.

What does he think about it all?

Bessiebuss Wed 10-Apr-13 09:39:20

I have been teaching children to read for 14 years and most of the children I see, are around age 7. This seems to be the point at which memory of words runs out and, although they know loads of words, they do not have the skills to deal with new ones. Also, they have to work so hard to read the new books they are given, it is as if they give up. They often say they don't like reading and give their parents a really hard time, during reading practise.
I find they benefit from a different approach. I encourage them to practise listening for sounds in words, and sounding words out. Sometimes, I even do it for them, to help them. I have a list of similar words and I sound out one word, a child sounds out the next. We keep it brief and fun, but I act as a model. I also remind a child to listen carefully for the word, after he/she has said the sounds. This is all preparation for attacking a new word.
If you come across an unfamiliar word when he is reading, tell him what the word is and then ask him to sound out. It is easier (stops the frustration), but is still good practise. You could also write the word, on sticky note lets - one sound on each notelet and stick it on the wall, where he can see it. Using coloured pens and coloured note lets keeps it fun.

LittlePurpleCircle Wed 17-Apr-13 15:41:51

Back again. Thanks for replies.

In response to your questions - nothing else going on for DS. He is happy, busy etc etc. He likes TV, but we don't have an Xbox/play station kind of thing, and I restrict screen time, so he plays outside a lot, does a lot of lego/drawing/den building/cooking etc.

I read to him quite a bit (could do more, I'm sure) - about 4 times a week, which he loves. I will try and increase this.

I don't think he feels pressurised, other than he gets discouraged very quickly and hates feeling like he can't do something, and he would prefer not to read but to be doing sport for example, so there has to be a certain amount of pressure to get him to sit down with me and a book, even if it is a really simple one.

I do think he is capable of reading 'better'. He just doesn't want to give it much time or attention - rushes through, just to 'get it done' - so no wonder he isn't progressing really, despite there being a huge range of genres which might pique his interest.

DS does stumble on new words, but after a couple of times of seeing them, will remember them. He will then struggle on a new word - his learning doesn't seem to transfer iyswim? He is still making basic mistakes, based I think on trying to go too fast/guessing a plausible word based on context. But how to slow him down, if the reason he is going fast is coz he doesn't like it - it is self re-inforcing!

Any more comments are most welcome!

freetrait Wed 17-Apr-13 20:07:15

Hmmmm, seems like you need to break the pattern of rushing through, guessing and being discouraged. Could you go back to some phonics books to re-enforce the sounds? It sounds like he doesn't have the phonics at his fingertips, which is what you need for new words not to be incredibly hard.

Are you able to break the words up phonetically for him? This could be a deal breaker- if you can role-model how to do it when he gets to a tricky word, he copies you- then after you've done this a few times he should get the idea of always doing it himself. I think it's not uncommon for kids with good memories to not want to do this as they are used to relying on their memories, which as pp says, works up to a certain point, but then is hopeless after that. It needs to be the only way to do the new word, so stop telling him- you can help him break it down, but don't tell him. Also, to avoid the rushing through can you decide to spend however long- 10/15 minutes reading so there's no incentive to going at speed?

He sounds fab. Oh yes, important point- do you listen to him read EVERY day. This is also a winner. Every day for 10-15 minutes, no excuses. My nephew was a slow starter with reading and my sister found that this finally cracked it when they did it with him halfway through year 2 (he was a lot less advanced than your son at the time).

learnandsay Wed 17-Apr-13 23:07:32

If the problem is longer words, rather than longer texts, I'd make up some sort of game. I'd stick with the Horrid Henry books and make the reward one smarty for each page. (Or one smarty for each long word, depending on what the problem seemed to be.) Horrid Henry is doable at a younger age than that, so it may be physical issues as suggested above, or it may be attention issues/lack of rewards.

simpson Wed 17-Apr-13 23:44:50

Have you tried reading using a bookmark to underline each line iyswim.

It might help him to track each line.

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