Tips for the Struggling Young Reader
- Monday, April 25, 2005
Diane gave me a set of exercises to help Stephen's brain learn to cross the midline and a list of nutritional recommendations to help build it. She suggested fish oil, grapefruit seed extract, and lethicin. She'd found in her work with struggling male readers that combining the fish oil and grapefruit seed extract significantly helped their academic progress. (Interestingly, this combination did not seem to significantly help with most females who struggled with reading.) After further research of the material Diane offered, I also put Stephen on Mineral Rich. I'd often caught him chewing on his shirt, a sign of mineral deficiency. Interestingly, even now, a couple of years since we started this nutritional program, if Stephen goes for very long without his supplements reading becomes more difficult and his penmanship more sloppy.
The Large Motor Skill Connection
Other articles explained the need for large motor skills activity in which the student crossed the midline of his body. One resource suggested gymnastics. I signed Stephen up but after many tears and a few nightmares over how inadequate he felt, I allow him to quit after the first session. We discovered, however, that he enjoyed roller hockey. After the first 6 months of consistent skating and hitting the puck across the midline of the body there was improvement in Stephen's reading skills. His swimming instructor also mentioned how his coordination was improving.
Another tip I learned from Diane Craft is that a child with midline issues can better access stored letter sounds/symbols if the sound and picture is presented as a whole. So, I put aside the typical alphabet flash cards where Aa was written underneath the apple, and purchased a set where the letter was written on top of the apple-superimposed. The cards also employed the use of color to help cement learning. These cards, as well as other resources, can be purchased through Diane's website. She also recommended a reading approach that relied heavily on phonics and shared strategies for helping the brain store spelling words, like using pictures, stories, and color.
The Best Resource
Gradually, as we sought God's direction, Stephen began to improve. He prayed often that God would help him learn. During times of frustration and sometimes tears, Stephen and I both learned to cry out to God for help. We had a lot of discussions about how God has a special plan for Stephen's life and how learning to persevere and work hard was preparing him for the future.
Stephen is now almost nine and actually enjoys reading! I don't know if there are more concerns ahead of us, but seeing his progress gives me confidence to simply keep seeking the Lord's counsel and trusting the resources He gives me. I'm encouraged when I look back and she that the Lord didn't given me everything at once, which would have overwhelmed me, but He did give each step right on time.
The greatest resource for any child is his or her Creator, Who is eager to help each one become all He created them to be. Our loving Father knows just what each child needs. As parents, all we have to do is ask.
A homeschooling mother of four, Paula Moldenhauer is passionate about God's grace. Published over 300 times, she’s recently released two novels: Titanic: Legacy of Betrayal and Postmark: Christmas. Her website offers homeschooling and parenting articles, devotionals, and information about her books. www.paulamoldenhauer.com Contact Paula: Paula@soulscents.us
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