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Reading, reading recovery, reading woes and reading success!

Reading and reading recovery are on my heart and mind this week. I'm just posting some random ramblings and thoughts on the topic and how they are affecting my family and what I propose to do about it.

Before we get into the meat of my post I have a few little stories to share.

My daughter came into the world via the drama of an emergency C-section due to a cord prolapse. I was totally under general anesthesia when she was born, but I was told later that her APGARs were something like 1 and 2, and that she had breathing problems. (The breathing problems in retrospect were part of the aggressive bagging done to get her going. In other words, they blew her lungs out, but I digress). I was very afraid that she might have had some brain damage from traumatic birth, but she seemed very normal and even bright right from the beginning. Still the prospect of something showing up later, like a learning disability continued to haunt me.

You see, I had been that route before. My first child was also a C-section (although not as traumatic) because after 48 hours of labor and two hours of pushing with no progress ( a posterior baby - don't get me started) and with decels etc. He was the child that didn't read until 12 and needed the help of an experienced reading recovery tutor. I always wondered if the circumstances of his birth had anything to do with his learning disability.


A few years before I even became a mother, I found out that the spouse of one my friends could not read. I had known this person for almost ten years and although I had little hints that something was amiss, I never suspected that this person was essentially unable to read or write without a lot of help. This person has become the master of being able to mask and hide a major learning disability, and had probably started doing so elementary school and even managed to graduate from public high school. This person subscribed to magazines but couldn't read them, but was acutely interested in the radio and t.v. news. Always having a pen and notebook around was also part of the masquarade although in retrospect, I never remembered seeing this person use them!

At the time we were hanging around I was always sort ot the joke of our crowd because I always ordered a burger whereever we went. Didn't matter what kind, and in fact I liked to ty different kinds, but I always ordered a burger. Once we went out to dinner and I was reading out loud about some kind of exotic cheesburger with some unusual cheese and special sauce and my friend's spouse really teased me about it. But when the orders came, that's what they ordered too. I thought that was odd at the time, but in retrospect, no one else read a description of what they were getting off of the menue and at least what I was reading was a known entity.

Another time we went on a long trip and my friend's spouse always double checked before making any exits off of the expressway. My friend's spouse and my friend had become quite adept at working as a team to overcome and yet hide the inability to read. I noticed lots of little compensations like that once I knew the truth about the reading.



I have been thinking of all of these experiences lately as I think I have another child who will need to have some kind of reading recovery program. It comforts me that my friend and my friend's spouse have been able to live full and productive lives even though not being able to read at a functional adult level (5th grade reading level) can be a real hardship. My friend's spouse has for the most part been gainfully employed throughout their marriage, and has even improved in reading over the years. More importantly they are good, kind wonderful people.

On the other hand though, I always wanted my children to be able to read at least well enough to do whatever they wanted in life. My oldest son just passed his written driving test at the driving school with a 100%! That proved to me that if he is motivated enough and willing, he can read well enough to accomplish what he wants to accomplish! He really wanted to get that driver's license!! So I am worrying less and less about him.

My daughter however is throwing up red flags all over the place. She had a difficult time remembering her number symbols. She took forever to remember that 7 means seven and 8 means eight. I just drilled it into her. But now I see she is also having the same problem with letters and their sounds and I know that I cannot move ahead in her Pathway Reader book without re-introducing her to the letters and the sounds they make. I finally acknowledged that last week, but not without a few tears on my part.

And I can't help but wonder if there was some small connection in her brain that suffered during her birth and that injury is slowing her down now? I know new connections can be made, but I also know that it takes a lot of time and a different way of teaching to accomplish this.

God am I ready for this struggle again?

As chance would have it, I stumbled on to the Bravewriter system over on the 4RealLearning forums. It sounded intriguing and so I ordered it. As I was watching Izzy at soccer practice I read the story of the author's own daughter who finally clicked with reading at age 9 and how she brought that about by writing, and typing and creative story telling - until it just clicked!

So it appears that yes, I am going to go through this struggle again. And yes, apparently God thinks I'm ready for it, and in fact he is going to give me the tools to get through it. I'll keep you posted.





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