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Struggling Reader

(18 Posts)
uhoh1973 Thu 24-Sep-15 13:06:40

I am listening to a year group read one day a week. They are all doing fine with the exception of one student. This student seems to struggle over every word and the experience is painful and slow for both of us. In the time that other children read 9-11 pages we manage only 3-4 (the books are different levels according to each child's ability). From their reading diary I can see that no one else is listening to this student read.

So i told the teacher they are all doing fine except X who seems to be struggling. The teacher didnt really respond. This week we had a book which was even harder than last week and each word was a struggle. My understanding (as a parent) was that the child should be able to read some 90% of the words if you are at the right level. My feeling is this student is finding the books too hard and then it is demoralising them so they find it hard and have low energy for reading.

What should I do? Should I ask the teacher again? (From the reading diary it seems the teacher has not heard this student read this academic year). Or is it none of my business?? I just feel for this student and am concerned they are getting left behind :-(

BathshebaDarkstone Thu 24-Sep-15 13:09:51

If this were my child I'd want them on an easier book and I'd want someone to listen to them read more than once a week. Poor child.

educatingarti Thu 24-Sep-15 13:11:55

Definitely keep mentioning it to the teacher in a friendly non- blaming way. Chances are s/he is just so overwhelmed with work or has forgotten. Really important this child' s reading gets sorted. How old are the children?

uhoh1973 Thu 24-Sep-15 13:15:31

Year 2.

Also surely someone should be listening to them read more than once a week (especially if it is not happening at home?)? How often are children listened to at school at this age?

Thanks for your feedback. I dont want to get involved but it just seems a waste of this student's time if they are finding it so hard?

Ferguson Thu 24-Sep-15 19:58:43

I was a primary TA for ten years, but prior to that had been a 'parent-helper' half a day a week for five years. I then worked in secondary school, and lastly when I retired, another ten years voluntary helper in KS1.

Are you familiar with the way Phonics and reading is taught in the school, and have you been given guidance by a teacher how to support and 'teach' reading?

I once did voluntary help in a Reception class, where many of the children would recite whole pages from books, without even having the book open at the CORRECT page! They had done it so many times, they knew it all off by heart - that is NOT reading!

Can you see from the child's reading log/diary if they are reading at home? And is a parent making an entry in the log?

Being a 'voluntary helper' can put one in a difficult position, as ideally you need to be able to behave as a 'helper' and not as a TA or teacher. But the welfare and progress of the pupil is the important thing, so sometimes one needs to 'push boundaries', though that could put you in a dangerous position. There were occasions when, as a volunteer, I would amend up or down, a book that was not suitable for a pupil, BUT I would tell the staff what I had done, and why, and because I had been a trained TA, they accepted my judgement.

They way you describe your experience with X, makes it sound like the class is not doing proper Phonics, but is using 'mixed methods' of learning to read.

If you can manage it, without putting yourself at risk, I would try to understand WHY this one child is not coping. Get him to 'sound out' easy words, that should be within his phonic ability; if he can't even manage that, then he needs intervention from his TA or teacher.

What are your own qualifications to be supporting reading? It can be an enjoyable and satisfactory experience, but also can be frustrating and even upsetting if it doesn't go well.

uhoh1973 Thu 24-Sep-15 20:40:35

They are not reciting the books as I can see from their reading diary that the book is 'new' to them. And the children are 'reading' as a pose to 'guessing' or 'reciting'. I can also see from the diary that whether they are reading at home. In this case - not.
I am not able to select the book for the child. They already choose them for themselves from a stipulated basket (different baskets for different levels). My impression is this student would benefit from reading 'easier' books to get more practice, confidence and enjoyment from the experience rather than grinding through what they seem to be getting.
I have zero 'qualifications' to support reading other than a) I can read and b) I am supporting my own child to read. I am not claiming to be an expert but I can tell when someone is struggling rather than thriving.

educatingarti Fri 25-Sep-15 07:58:42

uhoh I think it is great that you have noticed this student. Yes they should be being heard to read by the teacher but I know from when I was class teaching, how hard it was to get through hearing readers. I would keep mentioning it, positively and non-critically. It may be that the school is short staffed and the class has less TA input than normal, or the teacher is concentrating on another group of readers ( possibly struggling even more)at present or just that in the pressure of everything, your comment didn't register properly. You could aways ask " Would it be OK to try x on a level y book because s/he was struggling so much with level z"

You are making a big difference by volunteering to help like this on a regular basis.

Cedar03 Fri 25-Sep-15 11:07:05

I did volunteer reading with Year 2 and it is tricky because you are there as a volunteer and you don't know whether there is a plan or whether a child is just struggling on. I found that some children could read the book but they did struggle with a lot of words but if they persevered they would get through the words. Then I would read the book back to them to help reinforce what they had read.

Have you tried talking to the child about how they are finding the book? Are they enjoying it, do they find it very difficult, do they want to carry on trying to read it.

Sometimes a child is keen to try something that is really above their abilities. And then they become discouraged. If the teacher isn't quite on the case - and at the start of the year they might not be - this might have been missed. It might appear from the previous year's records that said child should be OK at that level of reading.

You could then ask if you could try them with a different book. It depends on how strictly they are following the reading schemes.

Mashabell Fri 25-Sep-15 14:34:58

Instead of worrying about how many pages u get through, u could make a note of words x struggles with, stop when u've collected about 7 - 10, look at them again together and then ask x to read again what s/he had just read before.

When i was in a similar situation, i found that paying more attention to the words that a child found tricky made a big difference.

mrz Fri 25-Sep-15 16:49:48

The 90%rule is throwback to Look & Say.
Can you explain what you mean by "struggling"?

MrsKCastle Sat 26-Sep-15 14:09:30

Is the child able to read almost all of the words? If he/she doesn't have the appropriate phonics knowledge for the book, that is a problem. (E.g. if the book contains 'ships' and 'shock' and they don't recognise 'sh'). If this is the case, I would push for more appropriate books.

Either way, the child clearly needs more reading practice. I would keep flagging your concerns to the teacher, and if nothing changes after a couple of weeks, I would mention it to another member of staff- a year group leader or SENCO perhaps.

uhoh1973 Sat 26-Sep-15 21:41:23

If I tried to write down every word the child had difficulty with it would get rather embarrassing... and I would run out of space..

I mentioned it to the teacher again so we will see what happens this week. I don't think they have a special needs but just need more practice. It could well be they didn't do much reading over the summer and have got rather rusty?

mrz Sun 27-Sep-15 06:34:54

Sorry I'm still not clear what you mean by "have difficulty with" what exactly does the child do? Do you have to tell the child most of the words? Do they guess mist of the words? Are they sounding out most of the words? What exactly?

lljkk Sun 27-Sep-15 10:05:08

I'm surprised you're asking for specifics, mrz, look at all the people on MN who moan about parent helpers saying too much about specific children.

UhOh: all you can do is flag it up in their reading record that they are finding things challenging. I had a few like that and usually (we realised a yr later) they needed glasses!

mrz Sun 27-Sep-15 14:41:58

It's important to know what someone considers "struggling"

Mashabell Sun 27-Sep-15 16:48:20

I did not suggest writing down all the words x is struggling with. Just 7-10, then look at them more carefully together, before re-reading the text they came from again.

If u also posted them on here, it would be much easier to see what the child's problem is, for u, and for us to be able to give any sensible advice.
Just try it at least once.

uhoh1973 Mon 28-Sep-15 10:54:40

Given I'm only a volunteer I don't consider it my place to forensically analyse why / what the child is struggling with. I was just looking for advice on how to approach the teacher ;-) so thank you. Hopefully onward and upward.

mrz Mon 28-Sep-15 16:46:40

If you came to me and said that a child was struggling I would listen to them read and either decide you are right in which case I would take appropriate action or I would decide that the child is doing ok.

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