Monday, August 30, 2010

Reading Help For Struggling Readers (TEENS)

My struggling reader was recently tested for grade level and ability this summer.  Both children were.  While it's good to get this information, it can FEEL really bad.  I've been reminded of my child's struggles, and even though I've known it intellectually, it takes on a new meaning when someone else hands me the news.  We need to work on our reading.  A language based learning disability isn't a death sentence; having come huge huge miles, we have work to do! BUT~he hates OR SAYS he hates to read!

So what's a mom to do? Do I just keep going and plugging along without regard? Of course not! I have gone over the results and been researching until my eyes have nearly spun.  The reviewer who tested was great help, but it honestly took several days after I received the results for me to be able to call her to discuss it.  It just hurt too much. Hurt for him and me.  Both of us have worked so hard, and while I can placate myself with all kinds of niceties about how he might have had a bad testing day, the test was unfamiliar, or that he just "can't" test, I KNOW that if he wants a college education like he says he does, we gotta get the lead out and MOVE like we've not done before by attacking our issues so strongly that they budge and go in the directions we need!  But how?  HOW do I take him further than I even know how~ to push or prod or encourage ever so gently? And what about his heart and spirit being constantly reminded of his struggles as I poke and require something he hates and finds so hard?  Oh Lord, help us!

It's taken a few weeks to assimilate all of the info, get with our consultant and do the research to develop a plan of attack.  I needed to recover and find a good way to go forward.  Lesson planning has taken a back seat while I've researched and cruised website after website.  There was no way to make plans to teach until I knew what we were going to do about all of this. The reviewer suggested a type of books, and I looked for "high interest/low vocabulary" for teens and found a few websites that offer them for a price.  While they may not seem pricey to others, the fact that we really needs about 3-4 books a month make them somewhat prohibitive in cost.  Many books if written on a lower level are juvenile in interest unless designed with a struggling reader in mind, and I am guessing that this entails a specialty that is high end.  Dunno~but it's what I've found.  I did research the library as well to find the collections somewhat limited.  When discussing with a neighboring county branch's Young Adult Librarian, I found that there just isn't the circulation required AND that less books in general are available. I can see that for sure! But this still leaves me with less options for a teen boy who does NOT want to read girly, sissy, baby books.  I can't blame him.  No one wants to waste their time on stuff that doesn't interest them...Soooo again, I've got a huge problem!

With no money, or little money, and limited library resources and a kid with an issue who refuses to be challenged to stuff that he "hates" and has certain reading needs, the librarian of our county system offered me a wonderful site to try.  Search-able by grade level and thereby ability, genre and either fiction or non, this site offers me some hope to help my son.Book Adventure by Sylvan Learning  Oh yes, we plan to utilize whatever is in the collection locally, but once we have titles of these books, I can look state wide.  Did you know many public libraries are networked by state resources? This gets a big thumbs up from me!!

If you are where I am, I offer you a hug and some empathy~but I know we are going to get through this too!  What are your strategies for your struggling reader? Let's share~maybe together we will win and most importantly our kiddos will win finding the success they so much desire!

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