Why your smart 3rd grader still can’t read

Do you ask yourself why your child is so smart, yet still can’t read?

A new school year is underway, and I’m already hearing horror stories from parents.  They hoped this year would be a fresh start for their child, but it’s only September and they are ready to pull their hair out in desperation.

 Does the rest of the year have to be this way?

I have heard this story many times, but parents feel so alone when it’s happening in their family.  It is the story of the dyslexic child, and it is more common than you think.

A parent recently shared her concerns about her 7 year old boy:

She noticed the problem since kindergarten, but nobody believed her.  His teacher said he would “grow out of it”.  Her husband said she worried too much; he was just being lazy.  In 1st grade he could guess at some words and understand the big picture, but would skip the small words like ‘to’, ‘at’, ‘a’, and ‘the’. He was a master Lego builder, but couldn’t tie his shoes.

It takes him hours to memorize his spelling words, only to misspell them in sentences the next day.  He is creative, has a wonderful personality and is incredibly curious (“He could watch the Discovery Channel for hours!”), but his younger sister helps him with homework sometimes.  All this makes him a very confused, frustrated and embarrassed little boy.

I may be describing your child, AND his father, AND his grandmother!  Dyslexia is a hereditary trait and is often present in the family tree.  It is common to hear parents describe how grandma would put words in the wrong order and laugh it off by saying “Oh, you know what I mean!”  Of course, it was never diagnosed back then…so nobody suspected it was dyslexia.

It breaks my heart to hear these stories.  For 20% of students, the first 6 weeks of school are progressively difficult.  That’s because they have a learning problem (often un-diagnosed) that makes reading, spelling and writing much harder than it should be.

For these students, school is an endless nightmare of “playing a game they can’t win.”  For parents it is a frustrating, guilt ridden, seemingly never ending search for answers.

The great myth about dyslexia is that dyslexics can never learn to read or write, and are destined to fail.  The truth is dyslexic children are usually of average to above average intelligence.  They are gifted visual-spatial thinkers, creative, empathetic and artistic.

They simply can’t learn to read, spell or write the same way that other children do.  But they CAN learn. They just have to be taught differently.

THE GOOD NEWS IS that ANYONE CAN LEARN TO READ AND SPELL.  If you suspect your child may be dyslexic, get him evaluated as soon as possible.  With an Orton-Gillingham based program, your child can learn how to read, spell and write as well as his peers. It is not a quick fix, but giving your child his smile back is well worth the wait.

Read about common warning signs for dyslexia at www.learningfoundations.us/dyslexia

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