Posts from the ‘reluctant reader’ Category

WHAT’S OLD IS NEW…

As You Wish

Written by Tyler W. Kurt

This book is a charming, coffee table book that can be used to spark conversations with family or friends. An elderly woman dressed in retro fifties clothing discovers an old trunk in the attic. The stuffed animals that are trapped inside have been there since their former owner abandoned them. They are torn, soiled, and tattered. The old woman can communicate with the stuffed animals. She offers to repair them and make them new once more. Then one of them announces he doesn’t want to change the way he looks or feels.

At the end of this short story, there is a set of discussion questions for readers with open minds and open hearts. I would recommend the book for all ages.

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MISHAPS AND MAYHEM

Down with the Dance (Middle School Mayhem)

Written by C.T. Walsh

This book is the first in a new series. The story opens on the first day of middle school for Ben. He is smart and clever but haunted by his older brother, Derek. Derek is just eleven months older. Unlike Ben, he is athletic and popular.

Middle-school readers will delight in the colorful characters like Mr. Buthaire, the principal students love to outsmart. Ben desperately wants to take Sophie to the Halloween Dance but there is a plot to derail it and destroy Ben’s plan. The book contains lots of humor, sibling and peer rivalry, and smart kids determined to outsmart the adults in their lives.

This book is a good choice for readers in grades four through six, though reluctant readers and many young adults will also find it an interesting read.

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WHAT IS #AUDITORY PROCESSING DISORDER

As a special educator, I have worked with preschoolers and elementary school age children diagnosed with reading disabilities and speech language problems. I taught the Wilson Reading Program, which is a phonics based approach to reading. While I found it effective with many of my students, it did not meet the needs of all of them.

A lifelong book-lover, Dr. Karen Holinga’s interest in helping children learn to read began during her six years as a classroom teacher, where she saw how much some children struggled to master the skill. Her desire to solve the puzzle only increased during the twelve years she homeschooled her own children.

Eager to better understand the reading process, Dr. Karen pursued a doctorate in Developmental Reading, Curriculum, and Professional Development from The Ohio State University.

With Happy Cheetah Reading, she has taken all her expertise—years of classroom experience, years homeschooling, her doctoral research, and her extensive clinical practice—and crafted a simple plan. As The Reading Doctor, she has successfully helped over 25,000 children learn to read— many of whose parents had lost hope. She knows how some students struggle, and she knows how to help. 

I am presenting this program as a resource for parents and educators and not as an endorsement or beneficiary of any of its products.

As you might guess from the name, auditory processing relates to sound. But children with poor auditory processing are not usually hearing impaired. Rather, these children’s brains don’t interpret the incoming sounds correctly. 

Is There a Cure?

Auditory processing is a developmental issue. 

This means it’s like losing teeth, which is another developmental milestone. Children who lose their first teeth at age four are not “better” than those who lose their first teeth at age seven. If your five-year-old doesn’t have a loose tooth yet, you don’t get angry, or start Tooth Loosening Therapy. Teeth loss is developmental, and it will happen when it happens.

With auditory processing, it’s the same way. You can’t make it happen, so release yourself from any pressure. There is no appointment for you to make, no official diagnosis that will help. There is no fix for the neurology. 

Most children work through their auditory processing issues and eventually catch up with their peers, when their body is ready.

Symptoms of Poor Auditory Processing

If, as you read through these symptoms, one or two stand out to you, then assume that, yes, your child deals with auditory processing.

1) Poor phonemic awareness. A single sound is called a phoneme (FOE neem), and children who can’t hear the difference between sounds have “poor phonemic awareness.” This means they cannot easily separate or distinguish individual sounds, and have an especially hard time distinguishing between short vowel sounds, such as bet and bit

Children with poor phonemic awareness will probably not be able to determine which of these pairs of words rhyme:  

sock – sell 

rim – slim

sink – drink

tap – shirt 

These children can’t hear the wrong rhymes, and can’t guess the right rhymes. 

This also can show up in very slow letter sound acquisition. It took my son three years of daily work to (mostly) remember the 26 basic letter sounds and their written component.

2) Difficulty with word retrieval. My son would know what he wanted to say, but his brain couldn’t access the specific words. For example, he might say, “Hey, Mom, remember the book about the person who went on a trip?”

And based on the context of whatever we had recently been talking about, I could usually guess, “Do you mean the book about Chris taking the logs down the Mississippi in Swift Rivers?” 

But not always. “Hey, Mom, do you remember when we went to that place and rode on that thing?” could equally apply to the time when our family went to the amusement park and rode the tram, or to the airport and rode on the moving sidewalk, or to the lake and rode on the paddle board. Which sentence is my son trying to communicate? 

When children have difficulty with word retrieval, the specifics of language are missing, those clarifying and important words that differentiate experience. 

3) Unclear or delayed speech. Self-explanatory.

4) Delayed auditory processing. These children’s brains overload really easily, because they can’t process language quickly. 

In fact, some children process information 80% more slowly

Think about trying to do anything if your brain had slowed down 80%. How much less would you comprehend?

4) Poor auditory memory. Children with poor auditory memory don’t remember what they hear, so they miss a lot. 

If a parent says, “Go to your room, get your shoes, and meet me at the door,” the children will show up at the door, but without their shoes. 

This isn’t because they’re deliberately disobeying. They simply cannot remember.

On occasion, my son will have listened to almost all of a chapter book. Then, on page 250 of 300, he’ll ask about a key secondary character, “Now who was that again?” He more-or-less has understood the book, but he clearly doesn’t have specific ideas about the different characters.

5) Difficulty with hearing the number of syllables in a word. You may have heard the trick of clapping syllables, a clap for each syllable. So one clap for cat, two claps for tiger, three claps for beautiful, four claps for hyperactive

My son would guess: “Does computer have one syllable? Does cake have two?” It was astonishing to see all the ways he would contort his speech to make the syllable claps fit the word. 

When children can’t hear syllables, it makes reading programs that focus on syllables almost impossible. 

Does this sound like your child?

If this sounds like your child, I encourage you to keep reading. Some children, like my son, have both auditory processing delays, and the other challenge that we’ll cover tomorrow.

But if this sounds like your child, only one reading program on the market is going to help your child. Every Orton-Gillingham program, supposedly the “gold standard” for struggling readers, focuses on syllable division and rule memorization. For a student who has a hard time hearing and remembering the letters themselves, loading them down with rules is unhelpful at best, and destructive at worst. 

I am thrilled that a program exists that acknowledges and allows struggling readers to move forward, even with delayed auditory processing. 

The Happy Cheetah Reading System is designed to get your child up to speed as quickly as possible.  happycheetah.com

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FOREVER FRIENDS

The Sunny Adventure: a story about friendship

Written by Ira Alice

Illustrations by ElenaTeplove

Translated by Nina Kutia

This book is a tender tale about a little fox named Redkin and her first hunting quest. Redkin is rather lazy. She reacts with shock where her mother tells her to go out and find her own food. A bit reluctantly, Redkin sets off on her quest. She looks up at the Sun and decides that it looks like a delicious pancake. She decides to bring it home to her mother.

Redkin meets a frog named Loudcroak along her route. They decide to become partners. Redkin remains fearful but Loudcroak provides the courage and inspiration to continue their search. Other animals offer advice, but the sun continues to elude them.

How will Redkin handle her defeat? What does the fox learn about friendship, compassion, and bravery?

This book is targeted for ages six through twelve. While the length of the book is appropriate for a beginning chapter book, some of the vocabularies are a bit advanced for the lower end of this audience. I would recommend the book particularly for reluctant readers; the illustrations are beautiful and suited to the mood of the tale. Recommended especially for readers ages eight through twelve.

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ANXIETY CURE FOR KIDS

CALM DOWN

A Little SPOT of Anxiety: A Book about Calming Your Worries

Written and Illustrated by Diane Alber

This short book is a good introduction to the topic of anxiety for children. Readers learn that feelings of anxiety stem from being anxious, worried or scared. Alber presents a few common situations that may cause anxiety in children like separation from parents or meeting new people for the first time. She illustrates a simple technique of imagining grey spots on the fingers and a calming green spot in the center of the palm. By taking a deep breath and blowing the spots away, children can release their fears.

After reading a few of the reviews, I noticed some readers complained of layout issues, but I did not find issues when reading on my Kindle. I believe this book might be a useful tool for parents and social workers, but it needs to be read with the careful guidance of an adult.

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GOING GREEN

Pea Soup Disaster (A Gregory Green Adventure Book 1)

Written by Elaine Kaye

Gregory Green is excited to find a thermos of green pea soup in his thermos. Unlike most kids, he loves his mother’s homemade pea soup. After lunch on the playground, his friends begin making fun of him. Gregory has turned green! Gregory is feeling bad when an unexpected buddy comes to his rescue to end the bullying.

This book contains elements of fantasy, a family curse, a lesson about bullying, and strong family bonds. The layout is more like a chapter book but there are some multicultural illustrations. I read the book in kindle format which did contain a few formatting errors, but the clever storyline and message make the book a good choice for beginning readers, reluctant readers and a parent read-aloud for any age child.

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A Child’s Best Friend

A Wet Nose Christmas

Written and Illustrated by A.R. Harwell

A boy and his father visit the pound a couple of days before Christmas. The little boy chooses a black puppy with a white spot on his chest and a red bow around his neck.

They bring the dog back to their farm where he eagerly plays in the snow. On Christmas morning, the puppy receives three gifts, for which he is so grateful. The boy promises to love, feed and train the puppy, and he is rewarded with all the love the puppy can give.

This book is written in rhymes that are easy to read. Children learn respect for animals, love, kindness and responsibility. Harwell captures the mood well in her illustrations. This is a winner for any child who loves animals. Caution, they may ask you for a wet nose puppy after reading this book.

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