Thursday, March 7, 2013

Cara Update

I was so frustrated with my testing experience at USU for Cara as expressed in the previous blog entry.  I expressed my frustration and got a meeting with the Early Childhood Department Head, who happens to be a leading specialist in reading, as well as the Director of USU After School Tutoring Program. The two of them spent more than 90 minutes with me and went over all of the data I have gathered from the schools testing as well as the testing they did.  

By definition she is dyslexic.  The only thing we can do is give her lots of practice and the opportunity to master one skill at a time.  She will progress slower than the other kids, but she should progress.  Skill mastery before moving on is imperative.  They also believe that her speech and reading delays are absolutely related.  After reviewing how much reading help she is getting at school they don't even think that the after school program is a good idea.  It was wonderful to have them really take a look at the data!

Following are my major "take-away's" from meeting with Dr. Reutzel.  

1. She is being bombarded with too many programs that are unaligned.  Each program has it's own objectives, language, cues, etc.  She needs to work on a single objective, in a variety of ways, until she masters it.  She is currently doing four different reading programs at school and being pulled from the classroom 90 minutes a day.  She is doing reading over three hours per day. (He sent me home with a published research article entitled, Does Instructional Alignment Matter? It can be found in The Elementary School Journal volume 112 number 2 page 259.)

2. FOCUS on a chosen program and even if you use materials from a variety of programs make connections to the common objective.

3. She needs to start back at the basics and not move on until she has mastered each skill.  She needs to go all the way back to letter names and not move on until she first has accuracy and then fluency.  Then move on to blending.  First shoot for accuracy and then fluency etc.

4. Teach her through modeling.  Most teachers say, 1) sound it out, 2) give the child the word, 3) interrogation, sound it out, 4) look for cues to figure out the word.  What we should be doing is modeling (thinking out loud) how to decode a word.  "Watch me, this is how I figure out this word.  This letter is d it says d. This letter is o, it says o. Together they say do.  The last letter is g.  Together they say d o g.  dog."

5. Perceptual Reasoning (Block Design, Picture Concepts, Matrix Reasoning, Picture Completion) are a huge strength for her.  Whenever possible we need to capitalize on that strength.

6. Her IQ is high enough that she may have some success with whole language.  We me want to implement some whole language memorization for high frequency words.

He sent me home with two research papers he has published on topics he felt were relevant to Cara's situation.  The second article is titled "Behind test scores: What struggling readers really need"  Published in The Reading Teacher Volume 57, Number 6, March 2004 page 520.  Her hearing has been tested before, but she will have a full auditory test at USU on March 20 to eliminate a hearing impairment because she is getting further and further behind in speech. 


The Ravsten's said...

You're a good mommy. It's hard to see our sweet little girls struggle isn't it? But, at least we work hard to help them. Thanks for your example. Keep up the great work. Love ya.

Diane said...

Oh, to finally have some answers and direction. I hope that helps her. It must be frustrating to have so much going on for the poor girl.