One strong reader, one not so strong

Discussion in 'Childhood and Beyond (4+)' started by Babies4Susan, Nov 4, 2013.

  1. Babies4Susan

    Babies4Susan Well-Known Member

    My girls are in second grade.  One of them is a very strong reader, reading well above grade level since kindergarten (actually, since preschool).  She loves to read and will read anything and everything she can get her hands on.
    The other daughter has never been a strong reader, but she's plugged along at grade level.  Last year her teacher wanted to strengthen her reading a bit and she worked with a reading consultant for a while.  This definitely did help.  Now this year, her teacher just let me know that she's tested a couple levels below grade level and will be again working with a reading specialist.  Which is good.
    The biggest problem is that she hates to read.  It is a struggle to get her to do her 15 minutes, and we still have to do it with her because she's not a very strong reader.  Getting books she likes, she's interested in, etc. does not help.  I struggle so much with this.  It's so hard having one child who has been an independent reader for so long and does it willingly and often, and have to battle with the other one every.single.time.  I know part of it is that she knows she doesn't read as well as her sister, and how are you supposed to hide that when they are twin sisters?
    Just wondering if anyone else struggles with this?  Any advice?  We do try to have her read away from her sister so she's not reading in front of her.  But she still hates reading!
  2. kingeomer

    kingeomer Well-Known Member TS Moderator

    My girlfriend went through this with her second son.  He is not a fan of reading (not like his older brother) and it took her sometime to find books that he would find appealing and be willing to read.  I think that did not happen until 2nd or 3rd grade (he's in 4th).  What she would do, is she has a system called Mom Bucks and the kids do certain things to earn Mom bucks so they can earn "prizes"  Prizes could be 30 minutes of TV, 30 minutes of computer time, certain snacks/treats, juice/soda etc.    So for him, he would earn Mom bucks for a certain amount of time for reading-it did not have to be school related but as long as he was reading a book.
  3. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    A few thoughts:
    One of my DDs was reading & writing fluently a while before her sister. DD2 was happy to have DD1 read to her, write for her, etc. But they were young (preschool & Prek) so I think that competitive edge was not there. They are not terribly competitive to begin with. DD2 said "DD1 is good at reading -not me." Well, that was not true since they both were doing well- just DD1 was more determined to read/write/do and DD2 has a more passive personality. Splitting up to read  and picking up different texts helped DD2 make big leaps for herself in 1st grade.
    Is it possible that your DD simply fulfilling that sort of scenario? She just kind of gave up and/or determined it was not worth it to learn since in her mind she could not surpass your other DD? Just a thought since it has happened with other twins (one of the rationale for my school wanting to split our twins was a history of twins comparing/competing).
    A visual issue:
    Has she had her eyes checked? I mean not just vision, but convergence & stamina? That is really what we found with our DD2. She had all the reading pieces in place, but her eyes struggled to focus. She *did* happen to enjoy reading and was willing to do so. She had an excellent vocab, but struggled to read for any length of time ( had a hard time moving to smaller print & lengthier texts inspite of 'skills' on place and having outgrown the larger print easy/beginning readers). We did some vision exercises and a year later her reading stamina  greatly lengthened and in fact, in 3rd grade- she is now at a higher reading level than DD1, whom is above grade level.
    A learning disability:
    Has she been tested for a reading disability? Many kids I worked with started to really struggle in mid/late 2nd when the reading demands got higher and more complex (you go from learning to read to reading to learn). Reading also starts to permeate all the subjects- which can complicate even favorite subjects like math & science for a struggling reader. You can initiate the process with a written request. I see it as a win-win. If she needs more specialized instruction/curriculum she will get it.  Also, many kids are relieved to find out there is a *reason* that reading/writing/math  is not as easy for them as their peers. Once kiddos get a 'I can't or I'm dumb' attitude, it is really hard to change that thinking- especially since it is not true.   If she does not have a reading disability, then you really get a firm grasp in areas that may be harder/easier for her through the testing and can adapt accordingly.  
    A learning preference mismatch:
    What curriculum is the school using? Does it work well with your DD? Sometimes a kiddo just struggles with the methods that are used and then flourishes under a change in instructional methods.
    When she works with the reading consultant- she what they think specifically. Is it a phonic skill, a comprehension, a fluency concern...etc. That also may help you support her at home. Since a weakness (or strength) in any of those areas may be able to be used to help boost other areas. Plus, there are certain things that work better with each reading skill.
    What test are they using to evaluate her? Some tests are better at picking out certain skills than others. As previous posts, I dislike the MAP tests and find them to be inconsistent. Did they base the assessment for the TC on one test or a series of tests?
    Does she resist reading at school (or just at home)?? If so, see if you can get the social worker involved. I know ours helps with perception & childrens thinking patterns that may affect their learning. One of my DDs sees the school social worker for social skills (not reading), but it has been great to get 'advice' & social support from 'not mom'.
    No matter the reason a few ideas:
    Does she prefer fiction or non-fiction? (this was key to engaging many kids I worked with)
    What are her interests? Whatever they are- get books on them.
    Will she read magazines? They are much less intimidating than 'books'.
    Will she listen to books on tape? The audio feedback is invaluable for kiddos that learn well through listening.
    Is reading time *special*- as in read under the table, in a soft chair, snuggled up with someone or something?
    Does your area have a 'reading therapy' dog? Our library does and it is was fantastic for DD2!!! 
    Is she on reading level enough to read short books? If so, see if she can mentor or buddy up with a non-reader (a kindergartener, a senior neighbor, etc). It really helps keep the focus off reading and on helping...but you are getting reading practice in there!
    Will she use online books? Lots of neat interactive books on ereaders that attract kids that may not want to read traditional books. You could do a minute  paperbook for a minute of ereader.
    You read-she reads. There is a fun series out there called "You read to me and I read to you" That has passages for young readers and adults.
    Just some thoughts.
    DD2 lags on a lot of skills and always had. She had more muscle tone/coordination issues and/or sensory stuff going on. This past year- she has  started to shine in math & science, which is really fabulous since when they were small- DD1 almost always did everything first (walked, talked, read, ran, rode a bike, etc). She just thinks so differently than DD1-- much more literal and fact-orientated. She prefers non-fiction by far over fiction, which at times she does not comprehend why characters act the way they do.
    I think if they were more competitive it would be a different situation than we have in our house. So far, they are accepting of their strengths/weaknesses pretty neutrally for the most part. I think it is a result of personality traits and the fact that both have some areas that they see each other struggle in (D2 social skills and sensory stuff and DD1 has medical issues and lots of related dietary restrictions).
    3 people like this.
  4. sharongl

    sharongl Well-Known Member

    KC had a lot of great thoughts!  I am not going to repeat her here, but I do want to add my personal experience.
    Jon read at 3.  We found out when he was reading "Curious George" to himself in bed.  Marcus, didn't read a lick at that time.  In K, he did K work, and came out of 1st grade reading middle of the road 1st grade level.  Then over that summer, he decided he liked to read, a month into the year, he jumped up quite a few reading levels.  Now in 6th grade, both boys read well above level, but Marcus is in the Honors LA class and Jon isn't.
    If you haven't tried the "Weird School" books by Dan Gutman, give them a try.  The chapters are short, and the books are funny!  Every book starts with "My name is AJ, and I hate school."  By the end of the book, he loves it, of course.
    Good luck!
  5. mommymauro

    mommymauro Well-Known Member

    Everyone has very good points, i just want to add my oldest son hated reading... we had him tested for everything... i would get his attention with silent films (slap stick/Buster Keaton worked for him... but your daughter may not be into that). well to make a long story short... we went to an eye dr and found out he had an eye tracking problem .... 20/20 vision... just his eye mussels just were off... so, some "eye therapy" for a few months and NOW... he is an avid reader and wants to be a writer... i try to tell everyone that story.  Because if it weren't for some random lady at a store telling me her daughters story... i wouldn't have thought to have THAT checked...
    Good Luck
  6. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    I wanted to add something that worked for 2nd-5th students I worked with that were reluctant readers:

    Turn it into a writing fun activity. Take wordless cards (eeboo makes some fun ones ) and have her tell you a story. Type the story up and then read it together.

    It is a reading/writing exercise....but really most kids forget about the 'reading' part and really get sucked into the silly story writing (use one or more than one picture) and then reading their creation outloud. Great for fluency, vocabulary building (written), story structure/sequence, and creativity!

    I have done this with cartoons (white-out the real words and allow kids to rewrite them), magazine cut-outs, picture cards, and actual pictures.

    We have done complete books or short story collections. Kids really enjoy it because it is their creations...and they usually will read and reread it over (which is EXCELLENT for fluency!).

    Mad Libs are fun is silly, short enough to not be intimidating, and they are willing to re-read it over and over! Kids are reading so it counts!! Ask questions about the silly story afterward and then start all over again! Real or e-mad libs can be used.
  7. Babies4Susan

    Babies4Susan Well-Known Member

    I thought I would re-visit this topic.  Thanks everyone for your advice, it was very helpful.  We are going to have both of their eyes checked soon.
    Since she started back to working with the reading consultant it's been like night and day.  She happily reads the books that are sent home from the reading consultant daily, she's excited about her progress, and it's just really weird the drastic change.  She's a quiet, perfectly behaved little student and sometimes I think she gets a little "lost in the shuffle" of the louder, naughtier kids in her class that take too much of her teacher's time.  She had an especially wild classroom setting in kindi, first grade was better, but this year she seems to have a lot of disruptive students in her class again, along with a second year teacher who I think is struggling with her behavior problem kids.  At least I am getting that impression from some of the things G says is going on at school.
    Our conferences are this week so I am going to ask the reading consultant about what specifically she struggles with so we can work on those areas.
    Coupled with some other things that go on at school and in our district, I am putting some consideration into sending G to a private school next year.  I fully anticipate that L will be moved to the MAGNET program for third grade (which is a different school than where they go now), so the timing would work. We'll see how things look at the end of the school year.
  8. Leighann

    Leighann Well-Known Member

    I just found this thread now and I feel like you are writing about my girls!  One is an advanced reader (right now she is home from school sick and has been in bed all morning reading a chapter book by herself).  The other teeters between on grade level (they are in 1st grade) to a little below.  She also doesn't LOVE it like her sister does and in the past has been more than happy to let A read to her instead of reading things herself.  
    At the beginning of school she qualified for a reading specialist and when her teacher called to tell me, I think she expected me to be upset, but instead I was thrilled!  We spent the summer reading, but she didn't want to, got frustrated easily, begged me to read for her, etc etc.  I was really struggling with helping her because I didn't want to push too hard and inadvertently make her hate it.  However since she started with the reading pull-out 3 times a week, she is like a completely different kid.  I woke up this morning to her in bed with her sister reading to A a piggie and gerald book!!!  She sounds things out, she brings me books to read to me, she is excited about reading now.  I don't know what that woman is doing but she is fantastic!  
    Anyway, this long novel is to say I'm glad I'm not the only one dealing with this and I'm glad both of our girls are getting the school support they need now.
  9. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    Glad things are working well for now!!
    I dont know what district you are in but if you are in B.field and if they have school of choice, I know a FABULOUS 3rd grade teacher at one of the schools. She will not let  your DD get lost in the shuffle…just an option :)  There are a lot of great private schools around here if you do go that route too. I have heard good things about the magnet school through the grapevine- I hope that works out too!
  10. Babies4Susan

    Babies4Susan Well-Known Member

    We are in W.B.  Unfortunately, B.field does not have school of choice, but then if they did, they may be running into some of the issues that W.B. now is.
  11. KCMichigan

    KCMichigan Well-Known Member

    Ahhhhh…. I forgot which district you were in. I know which magnet you are talking about, but forgot which district it was in! 
    What is happening in W.B.? It was a nice district back in the 90s when we lived in the area. Wonder if loss of jobs, school of choice, and aging population has done to it what happened in Farmington. I know Farmington has struggled the past 10-15 years, with the exception of their single lottery-based Elem- the district has lost much of its positive reputation and has closed some schools. I can imagine that if W.B is school of choice that they are getting a lot of kiddos from Farmington & Southfield schools.
    I know that B.Hills still has a strong reputation. We are in Rochester area, which also is doing well as a district-- but is fighting overcrowding. It does not have school of choice from students out of district. Troy has limited school of choice from out of district ( K-3 only), but it- too- has a good reputation. It has IB curriculum, which is  something a lot of areas are moving toward (I wish our area was!).
    You have a great selection of private schools that are commutable as well. 
  12. Babies4Susan

    Babies4Susan Well-Known Member

    We live in the north end of the district, where School of Choice enrollment is most prevalent.  I think our school and the school they attended for K-1 are approximately 40% choice students, mainly from Pontiac and Waterford.  I don't think that there is much choice enrollment in the south end schools, because the average choice enrollment district wide is about 25%.
    They originally opened up choice due to declining enrollment.  They just decided last year to close a school and start to (barely) limit choice enrollment. But it is grandfathered, so the limitation starts with new kindergarten enrollments.  Unfortunately, the house we purchased in 2002 (not at the height of the market even) is worth about $8K less than we bought it for then.  So we are kind of stuck here, which is why we are contemplating private school for G, possibly. 
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