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Teaching My “Unteachable” Daughter How to Read

05/26/11
by Wrightslaw

After reading your article, “Waiting to Fail” Instead of Teaching a Child How to Read, I had to write to add a “hooray” to your article!

When my daughter was in elementary school, the school told us she would NEVER read. Being the Special Ed Teacher that I am, I did not believe a word the school told me about my daughter’s reading ability.

I took a summer off to teach my “unteachable” daughter.

My adopted daughter, who is now 25, has Fragile-X and Aspergers.

That summer, I immersed her in words. I labeled everything labeled all over the house. I used alphabetic-phonics to teach her the basics. We read everyday!!

She even tells people now that she HATED that summer of her life. But it was worth it!

After a very long, long summer, school started up in the Fall. The teacher had “reading” time. She put Jenny over to the other side of the room to do her bead work.

Jenny Joins the Reading Circle

WELL, my daughter put herself in the reading circle. Jenny sat there , but the teacher insisted that she had to leave. Jenny insisted a little harder!!

When it came time for her to read, the teacher wanted to skip her!! Jenny showed the whole class what she could do.

She was reading on a 2nd grade level-after just one summer!

I got a call from the teacher that night wanting to know what I did!

Alphabetic-phonics! It changed the way the school, and more importantly, how Jenny felt about herself!

People should never give up! Jenny still isn’t fond of reading, but she can!

From Pam: Not Giving Up

Thanks for taking the time to write and share your and your daughter’s wonderful story.

Re: not giving up on kids, we agree with you 100%. People learn differently. All kids don’t learn the same way or with the same method. If one method isn’t working, change to a different method – and that’s what you did.

It’s scary to realize that school people are ready to throw in the towel when kids are young.

Diana King, the tutor who taught Pete to read, developed programs to teach reading to prisoners. Most had learning disabilities and hadn’t learned to read as children. But they did learn to read when they were adults when it is so much harder.

More articles about Reading

“Waiting to Fail” Instead of Teaching a Child How to Read

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6 Comments on "Teaching My “Unteachable” Daughter How to Read"


Jennifer
01/31/2013

Kerri—
I would say it depends on the training and the program used by your special education staff. I have not used any comprehension program, but I can tell you that the Barton Reading and Spelling system has worked well in my school. The Barton system is designed for parents to implement, and it has been used by everyone from reading specialists to aides–with measurable success.

Margaret
01/29/2013

My son who is in High School also has ASD and for years struggled with severe difficulties with reading comprehension. Last year I put him in tutoring with Lindamood-Bell Learning Services. Since then he has made years worth of progress! I highly recomend them. They specialize in kids and adults with Learning Disabilities, ASD and much more. Lindamood-Bell has locations nation wide and can be reached at http://www.lindamoodbell.com They are expensive(small group instruction is available to help reduce the cost) but very much worth it!

Kerri
01/29/2013

My daughter has ASD and school just determined Learning Disability. They suspect Dyslexia but won’t diagnose due to her ASD diagnose clouding things. My daughter is in 2nd grade reading at an end of kindergarten level, barely. My question is, should I allow her special education teacher to teach her reading skills or insist on a reading specialist at her school?