Many parents send me questions like this at the end of a school year:
I have a daughter who just finished first grade. I am pretty sure she has dyslexia.
The last two months of school have been a nightmare of real and feigned sickness and tears every day as she tries to get out of going to school.
Jane struggles so much and ends her day so sad and frustrated due to journal writing, or even worse, having to copy poems from the board. What makes it even worse for her is seeing every other kid at her table do it faster and better.
My daughter’s school is recommending summer school. My worry is that their summer school is not going to help her – and it may make her hate school even more.
Most summer school programs just teach the very same reading program your child got during the school year, which will not help someone with dyslexia.
So I tell parents to say “no” to summer school, and instead, get your child the right type of tutoring – with the Barton System or any other good Orton-Gillingham based system — for an hour a day, every day, during the summer.
If you do not, second grade will be even worse – as this mother shared:
I am the mother of an extremely bright, frustrated, and sad 8 year old girl.
We have been struggling to find answers to her troubles within the school system.
Everyone knows she is very smart, but her written work reflects the exact opposite. She cannot spell or get ideas into written form.
The teacher claims she just needs to study harder, or she is just being a “difficult” child.
My daughter overheard her tell the principal that my daughter is “unteachable.”
Kids bully her and refer to her as “dumb” and “stupid.” This is so far from reality.
She is extremely articulate, has a wonderful imagination, loves information, and thinks things through very carefully. I want her to aspire to all that she can be. She is so bright and so interested in the world.
But if I don’t find some answers soon, she is going to fall through the cracks and continue on this downward spiral.
And by third grade, they all hit the wall in reading development, as this mom shared:
I must say that your video is superb! I cried a lot as you described my son. I wish teachers and administrators were required to watch it – as I’m sure my son would have been caught much earlier, and that would have saved him (and us) a lot of anxiety and stress.
For the past two years (during first and second grade) school became such a stressor that my husband and I not only looked forward to the summer break, but we would get start to get anxiety attacks in August . . . realizing school was about to start again. I’m sure whatever we were feeling was 10 times worse for our son.
My son just started 3rd grade and I can see that brick wall before us. He can read, but his reading speed is so slow. It took us 2.5 hours to get through 16 pages of a small chapter book last night.
By fourth grade, they often qualify for special ed. But that doesn’t make school any better – as this parent shared.
My son is in 4th grade. He has dyslexia. He is a special ed student.
His regular ed teacher is so ignorant of dyslexia. She wants my son to participate in a 4th grade spelling bee because she wants to “challenge” him.
My son is terrified and traumatized at the thought of standing up in front of his classmates and being humiliated – again.
Without the right type of one-on-one tutoring, they will be stuck forever at the third grade reading level, as this mother shared:
My son is in 7th grade, but his reading fluency and comprehension have been stuck at the 3rd grade level for years – despite years of special ed services, and despite my following their advice of forcing him to read out loud to me for 20 minutes every day.
When he passed 6th grade, I was thrilled because newspapers, magazines, and job applications are written at the 6th grade level. So we bought a box of brownie mix to celebrate. I was crushed when he could not read the cooking instructions on the box.
And adults who were forced to go to summer school when they were kids know it never helped, as this adult shared:
I have dyslexia.
My early school years were horrible. No one knew what to do with me, so they just passed me through each year.
But I had to attend summer school EVERY summer. I hated it, and it never helped.
I grew up thinking I must be stupid because it took so much time to read, study and retain information.
I am pretty sure my 7 year old daughter has dyslexia, too. I see so much of myself in her. She is struggling with reading and has started saying that she hates school.
I will do anything to prevent the torture I went through as a child from happening to her.
So, parents, if you know or suspect your child has dyslexia, just say “no” to summer school. Get them the right type of tutoring instead.