Struggling Readers From Barking to Fluency By Kathy Reynolds
Helping You Focus While Your Struggling
Reader Figures It Out
ABOVE: Two heads are better than one—Gideon, 8, and
Ben, 5, confer about a project on a snowy day.
Book in hand, 12-year-old Brent barked1 nonstop throughout the reading. His frustration mount- ed, he fumbled, and I felt awkward. My teacher-ingrained confidence
trusted that my young sons would fare
far better than this young man was faring. Homeschooling? Scary stuff!
Uh-oh, my inflated ego was showing.
Later, having been humbled through
our own struggles, I empathized with
Brent and what numerous other homeschoolers had experienced. I wish I had
known more about the process my later-age readers were going through.
My firstborn, Josiah, read early and
easily. If one of my two middle sons had
been first in line, I’d have thought I had
•;A;good;teacher;is;not noted by how
early a child masters important skills.
•;All;kids;don’t read and write fluently by
• Poor readers in elementary school
could end up as thriving bibliophiles in
Reading Can Wait
Parenting is a challenge. James 1: 4 reminds us that patience produces maturity (or perfection) with perpetual results.
Better Late Than Early authors, Raymond
and Dorothy Moore, share many unconventional success stories through their
research and publications. Their conclusion is significant: “. . . We analyzed over
All kids don’t read
and write fluently by
8,000 studies of children’s senses, brain,
cognition, socialization, etc., and are
certain that no replicable evidence exists
for rushing children into formal study at
home or school before 8 or 10.”
I was eager, yet sometimes frazzled,
as our homeschool adventures evolved.
Gideon and Ben were ages 11 and 10
when reading finally clicked, so that’s a
five/six-year wait and commitment to
reading readiness activities compared to
their older brother, who was fluent at 5.
We don’t just wait for their brains to
get ready, though. In Different Learners,
Jane Healy, Ph.D. advises that we prepare
the brains of late-bloomers by providing
the right experiences, and get this: she
proposes that they may be smarter in the
3 She cites a study published in
2006: “. . . Children who ended up with
the superior intellectual abilities were the
ones whose brains took longest to mature—as much as four years longer—
possibly because the extra time helped them
develop richer neural networks.”
this the case for Albert Einstein, Thomas
Edison, or Leonardo da Vinci, who were
noted for their learning glitches?
Attitude Is Prime
Many discouraged late-bloomers think
of themselves as stupid. Children need
success—not failure, which can result
in being labeled as some kind of failure.
Thankfully, with homeschooling, my
sons were spared those disabling tags and
accompanying ridicule, yet there were
instances in Sunday School, with neighbor kids, and with some well-intentioned
adults that we had to be wary of.