Category Archives: Blog

You Are Not Alone

November 27,2018

Do you have a child for whom learning to read is especially difficult? Has it ever crossed your mind that your child might learn differently? If so, you may be glad to know that help is available – and best of all, it is free!

The Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education funds Parent Technical Assistance Centers across the country. These centers provide parents with free information regarding learning differences, other disabilities, early intervention, school services, therapy, and more. The centers also provide one-on-one consultations which can be invaluable.

So, if you have a nagging feeling that perhaps your child does learn differently, trust your instincts and have your child tested. For information regarding where to have your child tested, (or, if your child has already been diagnosed and you need support regarding next steps) visit your Parent Technical Assistance Center website or pick up the phone and call for advice. You and your child may be very glad that you did.

Scary Thought

October 29,2018

Halloween is here and soon little ghosts and goblins will be knocking on our doors. Want to know something truly scary? Many of those trick or treaters struggle to read proficiently. According to the 2018 KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a nonprofit that issues an annual report on the well-being of U.S. children across a range of factors, two thirds of fourth graders in public school read below the proficient level. This statistic is unchanged since 2015 when the foundation said, “Children who reach fourth grade without being able to read proficiently are more likely to drop out of high school, reducing their earning potential and chances for success.” Now, that should send shivers down our spines!

As parents, many of us send our children to school assuming that our children will successfully learn to read there. Depending on your school, your children, and the preschool preparation you’ve provided, that may be a safe assumption. Unfortunately, for more than half of all public school children in the US, that is not a safe assumption. You see, the trick is that parents must do their part at home (reading to their children daily, encouraging singing, playing, writing, and active play) so that teachers can do their part at school. So be sure to make story time and literacy activities part of your family’s daily life. It can be a real treat for you and your children and promises to make their futures really sweet!

The Five Finger Test

September 27,2018

When a book is too difficult to read, it can be frustrating. When a book is too easy to read, a child may not be challenged to learn new vocabulary. So how can you help your child find a book at just the right reading level?

Try the “five finger test” as described on the award-winning website, Reading Rockets. Here’s how it works. Open a book to a page in the middle; choose a page that is full of words. Ask your child to read that page out loud and to hold up one finger each time he or she comes across a new, unknown word.

  • If your child holds up one finger (thumb): Thumbs up! This book is a great choice and will be easy for your child to read.
  • Two fingers (thumb and index finger): Makes an L, this book is looking good! Your child should enjoy this book.
  • Three fingers (makes a W): Warning! This book may be best when read with an older sibling or adult.
  • Four or more fingers (whole hand): Stop! This book may be too difficult for your child to enjoy alone.

The five finger test is very helpful for finding a book that is at just the right reading level. We hope you find it “comes in handy”!