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Story Comprehension

  • Posted on June 18, 2011 at 8:34 AM

Willy loves stories. He tells himself stories almost constantly. He watches movies, YouTube and television shows, and he acts out stories he’s really enjoyed or he makes up his own. Yet, Willy doesn’t really like reading. It’s a struggle for him to follow along. This is frustrating—for both of us.

Right now we’re reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. This is a story with a history in our family. This is the first book my mother ever remembers reading, and it’s a book I read and loved when I was Willy’s age. These facts helped me to develop a pre-reading interest for Willy. But the reading part—and the comprehension part—are still a struggle for him.

We’re keeping our reading periods brief, and that helps. We’re also going over what we read quite thoroughly after we’ve read it. That helps, too. But, it’s still a struggle.

On the upside, both Alex and Ben have been bringing Daddy (a.k.a. Mark) books for him to read to them. And they actually sit and listen to him read!

Staying Put

  • Posted on June 11, 2011 at 12:39 AM

So, I’ve been working with an individual over the last few months that made some big promises and failed to follow through. (I knew it was a risk going in, and I was willing to take that risk.) Suffice it to say, we won’t be moving out east, even if he comes through with the promised payments (which will probably require a court order). While I’m very disappointed in this individual’s unethical behavior, I find I’m surprisingly not disappointed with staying put. As much as I’d like a better house, I’d prefer that house to be in the same area with the same schools. I’d prefer to stay by our friends and sort of close to much of our family. Travel one direction, and in a few hours or less we can reach one batch of family. Travel in the opposite direction, and in a few hours or less we can reach another batch of family. Travel in another direction, and in a few more hours we can reach even more family.

Of course, we rarely travel and we have family that is even further away, but that’s not the point. The point is that relocating to the East Coast would put us further from all of our family.

Besides, for all the occasional complaints I have about my little park-filled city—which has a serious drought of some of the big-city restaurant and shopping choices, but also doesn’t have the big-city crime and inconvenience—I like it here.

So, we’re not moving, at least not far. And that’s good.

Speaking of staying put, though, there’s this other thing. The thing where Willy is behind in his reading skills, the thing where they wanted him to go to summer school, the thing where, when I filled out the paperwork and turned it in, I was told he would not be getting the supports he needs. Hm. So, basically we’re going to make Willy go to his most difficult class over the summer and not give him the support he had throughout the school year, the support with which he made insufficient progress to keep up? Maybe it’s just me, but that sounded a lot like a recipe for failure—which would not improve Willy’s attitude towards reading.

Turns out it’s not just me. His speech and language pathologist, who is also his case manager, agreed that it was cause for concern and that a home-based strategy might be better. So, instead of summer school, Willy and I will be reading books together, talking and writing about what we’ve read, and working on comprehension skills. Instead of the “punishment” of summer school, he’s rewarded with extra-focused Mommy-time, the flexibility to use alternative approaches, and a whole summer of skill-building that is wholly individualized. Now, that sounds like a recipe worth following!