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Question

My 7-yr.-old Grandson is in first grade and he is struggling with Reading and Phonics. He is in a combination Special Ed/ Regular Classroom called "Inclusive First Grade" and he has wonderful teachers. When would you suggest that he be allowed to use adaptive technology, such as a Reading Machine, which I have observed used at higher levels of Education? Is he too young? I was thinking, he would be more likely to be on grade level with that sort of help. Thank you (I have been an Educator for 43 years)

Answer

Joan MacMullen Replied: The best person to answer your question if your grandson is a classified student would be your grandson's caseworker - part of the school's child study team. They should be keeping his parents/guardians informed of all the modifications that are part of his IEP. If your grandson is not classified, and struggling, his parents may want to consider speaking to his teachers about having him tested for possible classification.
Posted On 2009-06-14 11:44:57
Ellen Gibran-Hesse Replied: As someone who tutored elementary school age children in reading, I can understand your grandson's struggle. I often found that different children have different issues and advance at different rates. At 7, he is just learning to learn and it is important to find out what works for him. I often tried different formats to engage my student and then the acquiring of the reading skill became easier. For example, some children have trouble following long stories and do better with short stories. Some children might like reading in a cartoon format with more visual stimulus. I learned to engage them and then they could learn. My hat is off to you as educator for 43 years. I have not seen the Reading Machine in actual use and researched it to better understand its use. I did find that some are adapted for younger children. My own inclination is to do a trial use of one and see how he responds. I have watched a young man who had atrocious hand writing and who was a special education student for part of his life suddenly improve recently from the mere use of text messaging. Sometimes boys like problem solving and learning through devices, hence the popularity among boys of video games. I would suggest a trial period and see if that is a mode of learning that works well for him. If you can engage him, most of the battle is won.
Posted On 2009-05-25 18:01:47
Stephen Jones Replied: I would speak with the Reading Machine company to see if they have an alternative technology for younger children. I would also ask the school to take the time to explore his learning style. Sometimes when children have more opportunities to explore while they learn they perform better. Lots of hands on activities help. Your support for your Grandson will yield the fruits of your labor.
Posted On 2009-04-14 21:56:41
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