13-Year Old and Reading Troubles
We have a 13 year old boy who does not like to read and we believe this is affecting his test/quiz grades in school. What he has told us is that he loses interest very quickly, about 1/2 page or less, and does not retain much of anything. His mind wanders when he starts to read. As his father, I remember having the same difficulties when I was young and I never got into reading. My reading skills today are what I call technical reading and only pick out the items I am interested. I would like to help my son to enjoy reading, which will help his grades in school but I don’t know how to structure any type of lessons. I have found personally that when I read faster I can grasp some of the words better and understand and enjoy reading more. It may sound a bit weird but my thought is that his mind is going too fast and needs to slow down to read, which causes him to lose interest. Does anyone have any insight on this type of problem?
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Welcome to Connect, and thank you so much for sharing your concerns about your son. It is so nice to know that you "would like to help (your) son enjoy reading." I have a 13 year-old reluctant reader too, but I think it's the excessive stimulation with all the technology that's the culprit in his case!
There are a number of conditions that doctors look for when it comes to such problems, the most common being dyslexia and ADD or ADHD
Some others are:
– Convergence insufficiency https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/convergence-insufficiency/symptoms-causes/syc-20352735
–Auditory processing disorder (APD): http://mayocl.in/2F9eQP1
@jeffbilsland, has your son seen a doctor or specialist? Does he have any physical symptoms, such as headaches, or constantly rubbing his eyes, etc?
Thank you for your reply. We have tested our boy for reading by 2 separate people/organizations and he shows good reading skills and comprehension. ADD, ADHD and Dislexia do not seem to be a concern from either group. Yes we are concerned with technology influencing his abilities. We are focusing on him going too fast when reading and writing and he has confirmed that he does not want to slow down. He gets board with us and his teachers moving too slow and we are focusing on slowing him down. Any suggestions?
I'm tagging @lisalucier, our moderator for the Just Want to Talk group on Connect, with the hope that she may have knowledge of members who might be able to offer more insight.
Many studies have shown that kids who are under-challenged are typically very capable and smart, but don’t always present that way! In fact, many under-challenged students are sloppy in their work, don’t read much, and tend to zoom right through their work without rechecking or going over their work.
@jeffbilsland, since you mentioned your son gets bored, may I ask if he may perhaps be under-challenged at school?
I don't know how to quantify his abilities. Is there specialized testing that can be done? If so, where would I find a location. We do have him in Sylvan but I don't know if they are looking for that type of ability. I would assume they could pick that out but he is very reluctant to go even though he says he has learned some tips from them on test taking. We have seen an improvement in 2 of his subjects, Social Studies and Literature. He received an A on a test for Social Studies and a C in his Literature test. Very good improvements based on us slowing him down and studying with him. Our focus now is just slowing him down and taking time to review. Any further suggestions are very much appreciated.
I'm tagging some of excellent educators (past and present) from the Connect community. @rosemarya @irene5 @mrsjoanie and @retiredteacher. I think they may have insights about reading assessments and child development.
Hi @jeffbilsland Nice to e-meet you here! I am Scott and while I am not a teaching professional, I can add a couple of insights on reading. One based on my own experiences and the other from our son's.
I didn't enjoy reading as a kid until I happened to take what then was called a speed reading course. I don't know if this is even a 'thing' anymore, but this system taught me to look at word groups and focus on the important words in that group and then quickly move on. It was sort of like scanning, but for content. I was in this course for quite a while (it was offered by a school that is no longer around) and I still use this technique today.
Our son was having a series of learning challenges back in third grade. His specific teacher couldn't identify his problem so she connected us with a place in Minneapolis, where we lived at the time, The Groves School. He was tested there on a wide variety of learning skills, styles, etc. and they were able to pinpoint the learning challenges he faced. After three years there he was able to move back to mainstream schooling.
Our daughter-in-law teaches in Florida at the Roberts Academy at Florida Southern University. This is a school focused on children in 2nd through 7th grades with reading challenges and they are amazing at what they do.
Wishing you all the best!
@jeffbilsland Hi, Jeff. My wife is an elementary school guidance counselor who is about to start work on her doctoral dissertation and I think she would suggest that whether he tests positive for ADD/ADHD, he is functioning exactly as a child who has this type of issue. You are correct about his mind moving too fast and the drugs used to treat this type of disorder do generally slow down their abstract thinking allowing them to focus on the specific topic in front of them. Please don't read any judgement into this question because it is not there, but does he play video games? If so, are you ever concerned about the amount of time he plays? As with most things in life, they are not all good or all bad. Games, cell phones, social media all lead to what we have labeled as FOMO or the fear of missing out and that can cause an inability to focus on something else for any significant period of time. I am not a doctor, of course, just know what my wife explains to me about some of the problems are that she works with every day. I hope you find a solution as this is a crucial time for building self esteem. Take care and keep us up to speed on his progress and what is working. Many of us have children or grandchildren who may need your technique at some point.
Greetings, @jeffbilsland I understand how frustrating this problem must be for you and your son. I wish I had suggestions and recommendations, but I have always taught advanced students literature and composition in high school and college with the exception of a class or two of junior high (to gain experience with that age group). I am not qualified to speak to reluctant readers since my students devoured books and loved them. They just loved to read. I have my own opinions concerning children who do not like to read. However, I have only observed reluctant readers; thus, I am not qualified to second guess the experts. I wish I had some suggestions, but reluctant readers are not part of my teaching experience. I hope there is someone who can help.
My late husband and I were volunteer reading tutors for 2nd grade students in public schools. We were told by the teachers that these students could not read but at the end of six weeks, these kids were reading at grade level. My method was to learn what interested the child and then we would go through the school library and I would pick out a book that was appropriate, for example, one little boy loved baseball. I started out reading the book while the child sat next to me. We talked about what I had read. The result was after a couple of weeks the student would say he/she wanted to read to me. After that we would go to the school library again and the student would pick out the book he wanted to read.
A friend whose 3rd grade daughter was rejecting reading and I was asked to help. I decided to meet with her at the library in the children's section. We went to the books that were on display and I let her choose which ones she liked best after looking at the covers. I read the book to her, stopping to discuss what I was reading. I discovered during out time together that she had been taught "sight reading" and when we started reading together, I showed her how to sound out words (phonics) and in no time at all she wanted to walk through the stacks and left the library with an armful of books. I recently heard from her mother, telling me that she is finishing her 2nd year of college with honors and is still an avid book reader.
If possible I would suggest that you find a private reading tutor to help guide you into solving the reason your son is having problems . As a volunteer tutor I learned that each child had their own way of learning/reading (my own son was declared a future delinquent when he was in third grade because he learned differently than other students, today he is a best selling fiction author.)