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Spelling and reading comprehension age - do they really matter?

(15 Posts)
Youarentkiddingme Thu 21-Apr-16 18:05:29

Hi, I was hoping some teachers could explain this to me and hopefully reassure me.

Ds has a spelling age of 8.8 years and reading comprehension Accuracy age of 9.10 years. He's in year 7 and 11.8 years.

His spelling and reading age have only increased by a few months since year 5. He has has some wave 3 interventions and precision teaching in the past. (Read write inc and accelaread/write). He is very behind his literacy target that they get in English.

When he types (he has a laptop for school) and indeed if he ever hand writes (unusual!) he spends a lot of time asking how to spell simple words or trying to phonic tidally work out how to spell words. He is getting better at phonetically plausible spellings and is almost able to get the correct amount of syllables in words.

I am extremely concerned about this as feel it will affect him across the curriculum and as language gets more complicated it'll lessen his ability to access the curriculum. Eg taking longer to read text, limits his understanding of complex text and/or exam questions and also where he already struggles to produce written text at an age appropraute level it will hinder him further when so much effort goes into spelling simple words.

I've been told it's fine and stop worrying. I know I should grin but can someone please explain why it won't be an issue just to further put my mind at rest.

Thanks in advance for responding as I know teachers have enough to do already wine

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marthac265 Thu 21-Apr-16 23:06:25

I'm not a teacher, I am a speech and language therapist and I am only offering my opinion and very general advice - Please do not interpret this as a diagnosis would not want to give specific advice without meeting and assessing your son.

However, from what you are saying it sounds as if he might have some difficulties with his phonological awareness skills ( knowledge phoneme, syllable, rhyme awareness) morphological awareness skills (understanding and use of word parts that carry significance. For example, root words, prefixes, suffixes, and grammatical inflections (e.g., -s or –es for plurals)

This is not unusual, but it makes learning to read via synthetic phonics (print-to-speech, sounding out) very tricky! and exhausting for your son I would imagine.

So very simply, synthetic phonics works by showing the letter or digraph
e.g. th and talking about the sounds that letter can make in different word contexts - voiceless/voiced dental fricative

Alternative methods which might be more suitable for your son, teach orthographic pattern knowledge via sound to print e.g.

/k/ voiceless velar stop - can be written as K, C, CK, CC, KK

Alongside other skills such as -
*Phonological Awareness - focusing on auditory processing and sound perception
*Morphological Awareness & Knowledge
*Semantic & Vocabulary Knowledge
*Mental Images of Words

I won't go into masses of detail but very basically, the brain is biologically wired only for oral language—speaking, listening, and understanding—not for written language - reading and writing.

There are no genes specific to reading and writing. There are no neurological or biological structures specific to reading and writing.

In order to successfully read and write, each brain must “re-purpose” regions biologically designed for other purposes and create new circuits and neural connections. As well as that we expect children to develop automaticity for retrieving representations within the structures and efficiency in the connections among those structures. There's a lot going on!

If you are still concerned I would seek advice from a speech and language therapist that specialises in literacy development.

Youarentkiddingme Fri 22-Apr-16 06:21:36

Thankyou that is brilliant information.

It's interesting yiu mentioned auditory processing because I said he doesn't seem to hear sounds. For example he struggled with an excercises where he had 12 words and had to match them to the picture it rhymed with. Even when we'd been through the pictures together and said words he couldn't work out, for example, struggle and juggle rhymed.

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kesstrel Fri 22-Apr-16 08:17:24

A programme that teaches from sound to print, and seems to be very successful, is SoundsWrite. Depending on where you are, you might be able to find a tutor or access training yourself. There is also an app you could look at.

Lollylovesbones Fri 22-Apr-16 08:36:03

Have you had him assessed for dyslexia - amongst other things the assessment covers phonological processing, word reading efficiency, short term memory, reading accuracy, reading fluency, spelling etc. A report would also give you next steps in learning and he may be able to get extra time in exams. Students with severe dyslexia sometimes have a reader and/or scribe.

As martha says he sounds as if he has poor phonological processing (inability to hear rhyme is an indicator) he needs an intervention which has an element of phonological awareness training as well as straightforward phonics.

Youarentkiddingme Fri 22-Apr-16 22:09:56

He isn't dyslexic. That's been tested at various times.

I just realised I didn't out in op that he has ASD. That's nothing to do with spelling etc but I think compounds his problems with reading and literacy. He lacks basic skills as well as the higher level language stuff.

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Youarentkiddingme Sun 24-Apr-16 17:29:27

Any teachers able to reassure me it won't matter or if it will what I can do to support DS?

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Lollylovesbones Sun 24-Apr-16 18:39:02

I am a specialist teacher - has he had a full assessment for dyslexia or is it just screening? Screening is very unreliable IME and what you are describing sounds like it could meet the criteria for dyslexia. Dyslexia and ASDs can be co-occuring conditions. Obviously it is impossible to say over the internet.

The advice that martha gave you is very good - you need to try to get a specialist assessment either from an Ed Psych or Dyslexia Assessor or the Speech and Language Literacy Specialist. Are the school prepared to help - they must be aware he is having difficulty if he is using a laptop at school. Does he have EHCP?

Youarentkiddingme Sun 24-Apr-16 19:18:12

Ive just applied for echo assessment but been refused. About to start appeal process.

Dis is due to see ed pysch soon and I can ask about these things being tested but the previous ed pysch didn't pick up in it either. He has planing and processing difficulties.

Ds current school don't see a problem. They say 'everything is fine' despite the fact DS has made less than 4 months progress in 3 years with interventions on spelling and reading and his literacy attainment is 3 years behind expected level and his target.

The La have said (paraphrased) "we had head teachers on the panel deciding to asses and they said it is insignificant and not enough to warrant assessment that ds is 2-3 years behind despite

DS is an able student. When answering choice questions or giving a verbal answer he is above average in some subjects - however he is, I believe, going to get to a point he can't communicate this knowledge because he cannot write the information out.

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Youarentkiddingme Sun 24-Apr-16 19:19:59

*despite interventions!!!!

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ChalkHearts Sun 24-Apr-16 19:25:30

It's not fine. It is and will hinder him. (For example all Y7 science textbooks need a reading age of at least 13)

School are just telling you it's fine to get you off their back.

There is no advantage to school to agree with you that it's a problem - but lots of advantages to them if you 'stop worrying' and stop expecting him to make progress.

PM me if you want some recommendations for phonological awareness programs.

Quietlygoingmad67 Sun 24-Apr-16 19:30:20

Not a teacher but just to let you know my very able DD 'passed' dyslexic screening up to the age of 14! She was reaching her targets at this point - we knew something wasn't right and decided to have private testing done and had a full dyslexic assessment. She was dx with visual processing disorder and visual stress and dyslexia (more to do with phonological issues rather than 'classic'). She still struggles to understand the phonics of the English language BUT due to her hard work and natural intelligence she is currently studying at a top uni for her degree after achieving high A level results - her last assessment done aged 18 have her a spelling age of 11. Her auditory processing is amazing and has definitely helped her along the way - she records and sings info she needs to retain. Also has a programme that turns text rich files into audio files - as this is how she learns easier. So in her case her spelling age hasn't held her back X

Lollylovesbones Sun 24-Apr-16 19:53:29

If you can afford it, I would consider private assessment and tuition. It is not unusual for able students to develop coping strategies that mask the severity of their problems. Lots of students get as far as uni before they are assessed as dyslexic.

Also LA vary in their attitude towards dyslexia and their willingness to support and help. Some authorities are very obstructive and are reluctant for students to be assessed as this may have a financial implication. Unfortunately there are probably several students in his year that are 2-3 years behind so he won' t be ringing major alarm bells at the moment.

Youarentkiddingme Sun 24-Apr-16 20:00:44

Tbh it's not the being behind that concerns me so much - not every student will be over achieving or even achieve in all subjects. It's the lack of progress. That despite him managing to improve in some areas with support I think the spelling etc is holding him back from bridging the gap iyswim?

Ds is about to see ed psych so I'm going to ask about dyslexia and phonological awareness. I'm going to ask about everything in this thread actually grin then I'm going to ask her to pinpoint how much intervention he needs on each thing for how long and how much progress is expected. They may not do this being an la ed pysch wink but I think it will be hard to avoid being quite descriptive when faced directly with the question.

I can't afford a private assessment ATM. However I will have funds next year (well more like towards end of this one) as I'll just not book a holiday (realises that sounds awful but that's where spare funds have gone this year blush)

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Youarentkiddingme Sun 24-Apr-16 20:02:15

chalk thankyou. It's reassuring albeit frustrating to hear that my concerns are justified.

quietly thankyou for your post. Congratulations to your DD, what a star and I hope my DS finds his way through education just like she has.

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