What Makes a Good Reader?

Often times, parents will ask how can they  help their child become a stronger reader. There are several components necessary for building a strong reader and when one of the components is weaker, it can affect other areas such as comprehension. The components include:

Phonemic awareness skills-which is having the ability to manipulate sounds that make up our spoken language

Phonics skills-which is having the understanding that there are relationships between letters and sounds

Fluency skills-which is reading with accuracy, speed, and expression (or prosody)

Application of reading comprehension strategies to enhance their understanding, and they should enjoy what they are reading. Reading should be fun! 

Within these components, a child must also utilize known strategies for decoding new words, know how to figure out the meaning of new vocabulary, and pull that together for smooth fluency.   Some children learn these reading skills regardless of how they are taught while other children truly need these skills taught explicitly meaning they need them taught through direct instruction.

There can be a fine line between a struggling reader and a reluctant reader.  A struggling reader will be having difficulties with one or more of the above areas and, often times, as the child gets older can “mask” those missed skills.  A reluctant reader could be a struggling reader or could be that he/she hasn’t yet developed the overall fluency skills necessary to enjoy a book.  I do want to remind parents that reader’s theatre passages, comic books, graphic novels and poetry books are good resources to use for having a student choose a book or reading material that he/she is interested in.   It’s also important for a child to be choosing independent reading books that is “just right”. What does “just right” mean?  It means that your child can open a book to any given page and have less than five decoding errors.  Plus, they should be able to tell you what was read.

If you want to strengthen your child’s overall reading, it’s important to first determine the area or areas he/she needs to focus on.   If your child is struggling overall with comprehension then it’s possible he/she needs help with the three previous skills stated above.

I’ll work on typing up a “series” of reading information and strategies for the different components above.  In the meantime, if you have any specific questions please e-mail them to me at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

We also have some helpful reading resources and books on our Pinterest page.  You can check them out here https://www.pinterest.com/confidentsoluti/boards/

With love of reading,

Christina

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What’s in Your Toolbox?

As adults, we have a “toolbox” of skills that we use in various situations.  For example, we often listen to audio books or podcasts when driving because it helps us relax which results in  traffic not bothering us.  When we’re beginning to feel overwhelmed, we often give ourselves five or ten minutes of solitude to breathe and recenter our thoughts. We all have tools that we use throughout a day in different situations.

However, for our children who are struggling to understand social skills intuitively they need a cognitive approach to developing these tools.  During our social skills classes, we help our students develop individualized tools for specific behaviors, feelings, or moments of time in their lives.  Developing and utilizing new tools takes time. Just like us, practicing the tools is an necessary step. When we are aware of the tools, consistently practice them, we are then able to access a tool when we are in a more challenging situation.   It’s one way we work with our students to “get ahead” of a potentially negative behavior.

Below is an example of tools that our students developed while working in our social skills group. Each tool is individual towards a specific behavior or social goal that was decided on by each student.

Social Thinking Toolbox

Our next session of social skills groups begins on Sunday, October 8th.  You can find specific details here Registration for Social Skills Classes October 8th-November 12th and we always welcome e-mails or phone calls with questions.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Why Natural Consequences Don’t Always Work

I recently read a parenting article talking about how, as a mom, I should stop doing certain things for my kids. I liked the article and may have even shared it. As I thought of two of my children while reading it, I said, “Yes! Of course that makes so much sense”. But as I thought of my third child I felt my hesitation about the advice I received. Most of that advice would NEVER work for him because he needs to be taught in a systematic and cognitive way specific skills that other kids learn intuitively. For example, although many middle schoolers are messy, my middle schooler is messy and unorganized. However, he has a desire to be tidy and organized. The more I allow him to learn from his mistakes of unorganization, the more frustrated he gets which results in the more unorganized he gets. Eventually, he gives up all hope of ever being organized and this unorganization carries over from his binder, to his room, then his brain, and finally his emotions. It will affect him in every way. But if I (or another adult) offer an organizational method in a slow and systematic way, he learns it. Once he learns it without prompting or cues, he uses it. And while it may not be the way I envisioned it in my head, he uses it in a way that makes sense to him. Now he is ready to learn from the mistake of not using it. This process can take a week, a month, a quarter, or even a full year. No matter how long it takes, it’s important to realize what skills we can step away from and which ones need to be taught slowly and systematically which will give our children chances for more success.  

With Appreciation,

Wendy

Free Parent Class on How to Effectively Communicate With Your Child’s School

Communication between you and your child’s school is a key piece to building a working relationship.  As you strengthen communication, your meetings often run more smoothly.  Please join us on Wednesday, October 4th from 12:00-1:00 as we discuss effective communication techniques. Some of the topics we will discuss are: what to include in your email communication; how to know who to include in your email; how do you clearly state your intent; and how to organize and keep track of your communications.

This class is created from questions that we receive on a daily basis. It will provide you with useful tools that you can incorporate throughout the school year.

Please e-mail us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com to let us know you’re coming!

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy


Free Parent/Guardian IEP October Class

We hope you all have had a wonderful summer and school is off to a terrific start.  We would love to help you prepare for any meetings or communication with your child’s school through understanding the components of your child’s IEP.  Our next free parent/guardian class will be held on Wednesday, October 11th. Due to the needs of families, this class is more of a drop in time from 12:00-1:00. Please join us during this time at your convenience and bring any paperwork or questions you have. We are finding it to be most helpful for families to have the opportunity to ask individual questions about an IEP process or specific parts of an IEP rather than have a formal class. We still love to hear that you’re able to drop in! Please send  an e-mail to confidentsolutions7@gmail.com  Classes are held at 1905 JN Pease Pl, Suite 201, Charlotte, NC 28262. We look forward to seeing you!

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

 

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