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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The Power of Empowerment

We’ve previously talked about what type of advocate we are.  Assume Positive Intent.  We  have sat on all sides of the “EC table”. Please Don’t Say “It Will Be Okay” We both are parents of children with special needs, we both have worked in the school system as EC coordinators, special education teachers, regular education teachers, speech/language therapist, and Dean of Students.  We know the EC paperwork, the laws, school, state, and federal policies.  We have sat as advocates for families, teaching them about the paperwork, EC processes, and where to find information.  So why tell you all of this?

We want you to know that all of this has been creating what type of advocate we are. We believe in collaboration with other professionals.  We have yet to find one person who knows everything regarding EC.  We have experienced how important it is to ask questions, be involved, and listen carefully to how and what people say.  We believe in empowering families to be advocates for their children. We want to teach and encourage parents first.  We will coach you, guide you, teach you what we know so you are knowledgable and ready to communicate with your child’s school.  We want to help bridge any gaps between a school and a family.  We believe in the focus being on the child.  This is what we always come back to.  What does the child need? How can we help? How can the parents help? How can the school help?  After empowering the family, if you need additional support from us, we’re there.  We can sit as advocates for your child at meetings and help bridge those gaps where needed.  We also try to have open communication and collaboration first.

Advocate-noun. One that supports or promotes the interests of another.

Empower-verb. To enable or permit.

Mindful-adjective. Attentive and aware.

We support the interest of the child by empowering families first.  We are attentive and aware of the way we communicate with schools, families, and other professionals.

empowerment

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Registration for Social Skills Classes April 23rd-May 28st

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Registration is now open for our last set of social skills classes before the Summer! 

For some students, obtaining and utilizing good social skills do not come naturally. They move through their environment having a difficult time communicating and understanding more than just direct language-based interactions. For example, good social skills include sharing space with others and learning to regulate one’s own behavior to other people’s thoughts or expectations as well as using your whole body to understand what people are “saying” around you. For some students, these skills need to be taught.

We are offering three different sessions, each with a specific focus. We believe that empowering the parent/guardian is equally important in teaching social skills to a child. Please plan on staying for the parent session of your child’s class to learn what your child is learning and how to help your child at home. For session one and session two, teacher letters will be e-mailed weekly to each parent. This gives you the opportunity to share what your child is learning with his/her teacher and helps connect what your child is learning to his/her school environment.

All classes are held at 9700 Research Drive, Suite 132, Charlotte, NC 28262. The total cost for a six-week session is $225.00. To register, fill out the registration form and e-mail it to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com. Each group will have no more than 5 students so we can practice “thinking” about thinking as well as individualize for each child.

If you are new, we recommend beginning with the self-awareness, self-monitoring, and self-control class first. If you have questions about any classes, please feel free to e-mail us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  You may be interested in reading about who could benefit from a social skills class here Who Benefits From Social Skills Classes? and Social Learning

Session 1: Social Learning through Self-Awareness, Self-Monitoring, and Self-Control

Following the Think Social! model, children and parents will learn the differences between self-awareness, self-monitoring, and self-control. Students will learn about “hidden” social expectations in different environments, how behaviors are connected to emotions, strengthen imitation skills, how to gain self-awareness with individual behaviors, move into self-monitoring tools for shifting negative behaviors into positive ones, how to identify if a problem is a big one or little one, and learn how to use your whole body to listen.  Each child will choose a personal behavior goal and learn tools to help create a shift in awareness and behaviors.

This group meets from 3:00-4:00

Session 2: Theory of Mind and Zones of Regulation

Theory of Mind is the way we understand and interpret our social world with knowing that other people have different thoughts, views, perspectives, and feelings.  Following the Theory of Mind philosophy and merging the Think Social! Zones of Regulation, students will learn how to be more mindful of other people in their social circles. They will begin to make a connection between their actions and how others are feeling. Zones of Regulation teaches children how to become aware of their emotional state and gives them tools to get back into the “green” zone.

This group meets from 4:00-5:00.

Session 3: Practicing of Social Skills

This session is designed for open practice of the social skills that have previously been taught.  We will create opportunities for the students to practice social thinking and executive functioning skills in a play environment.  This gives us the opportunity to help each child individually navigate a challenging social scenario using their tools and knowledge from previous groups.  Due to the level of individualization, instead of a weekly teacher letter, we will give our contact information to your child’s teacher and can facilitate open communication on skills their student continues to strengthen as well as get feedback on what skills need continued practice in the school environment.

This group meets from 5:00-6:00

 

Haley for website

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

One More Week for Registrations

Good Morning! Registration for our next sessions of social skills classes are open for one more week.  Classes begin this coming Sunday!  For details, please click here Registration for Social Skills Classes Feb.26-April 2

Questions about our classes?  Send us an e-mail to confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  We love connecting with you!

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With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Requesting an Evaluation

Previously, we wrote a couple of posts talking about what to do if your child is struggling in school What Does the School Do if My Child is Struggling? and What Can I Do if My Child is Struggling in School?

We wanted to specifically touch on the option of a parent requesting an evaluation.  According to IDEA,  you do have the right to request an evaluation from your child’s public school. This letter must be in writing. The public school is responsible for providing and paying for any evaluation for any child who may need special education services.  This link provides details http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/tests.evals.crabtree.htm.  Another good reference can be found here http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/evaluation-2/

You also have an option of obtaining an outside evaluation and bringing it to your child’s school.  Public schools must consider all private evaluations as part of the fact finding process for your child. Here is a link that details your rights if you choose to have an independent evaluation performed outside of your child’s school http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/test.iee.steedman.htm

We have prepared a simple letter requesting an evaluation to send to your child’s school.  The words in bold need to be changed to add specific details such as your child’s name, areas of concern, date, etc.  Remember, once you have officially requested an evaluation, your child’s school must contact you to set up a meeting to discuss your child’s strengths, areas of need/concern, interventions tried and the results of those interventions.  Here is a link to a past post about what type of meeting you will have Know Your Forms-Referral For Help

Here is the letter that you can download to request an evaluation:

letter-requesting-an-evaulation

Here is a copy of the letter if you would rather type it in a different format:

 

                                                                                                                                    DATE-month,day,year

 

Dear (preferably addressed to EC Teacher and/or principal),

 

I have concerns regarding (insert your child’s name) in (insert specific area such as reading, writing, math, social).   I have spoken with my child’s teacher, (name) and we have tried certain strategies to help him (or her). However, he (or she) continues to have difficulty in this area (or areas-be specific).

I would like to formally request an evaluation for my child to discuss his (or her) strengths and areas of needs in school. I would like to have a meeting within ten days of this letter to begin the process.

I can be reached at (e-mail address) or (phone number).

 

Thank you. I look forward to meeting and discussing how to help (your child’s name).

 

Sincerely,

                                                                             Your Name

 

 

As always, if you have any questions about this process, please send us an e-mail at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Registration Is Now Open

Please click here for the registration form registration-for-winter-sessions-2017

Registration for our next sessions of Mindful Thinking for Social Expectations classes is now open. To register, please fill out the registration form above and e-mail it to us at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.  We are offering three different sessions, each with a specific focus.  We believe that empowering the parent/guardian is equally important in teaching social skills to a child.  Please plan on staying for the parent session of your child’s class to learn what your child is learning and how to help your child at home.  Teacher letters will be handed out during each parent class for you to share with your child’s teacher.  The letters help connect what your child is learning to his/her school environment.  All classes are held at 9700 Research Drive, Suite 132, Charlotte, NC 28262 and the total cost for a six-week session is $200.00. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to e-mail us!   You may be interested in reading about who could benefit from a social skills class here Who Benefits From Social Skills Classes?

The three different sessions we will be offering are detailed below:

1. Perspective-This six week group of classes will focus on your child learning how to gauge their responses to peers, understanding that people have a perspective that is different from their own and how to navigate conversations and social interactions using this knowledge. It is important that your child has self-awareness of their current social interactions and has a desire to learn new skills. This class will meet every Sunday beginning January 8th-February 12th.  K-2 group meets 1:00-2:00 and 3rd-5th graders meet 2:00-3:00.  

 

2.  Play-This six week group of classes will focus on how to be a part of a group.  Your child will learn how to let peers know they are actively listening, how to observe other children to understand”hidden rules”, and how play unfolds. This class will meet every Sunday beginning January 8th-February 12th.  K-2 group meets 3:30-4:30 and 3rd-5th graders meet 4:30-5:30.  

 

3. Self-Awareness, Self-Monitoring, and Self-Control-This six week group of classes focuses on children and parents gaining knowledge and practical skills on how to recognize which stage they are currently in to make a shift in a behavior.  They will learn how to set a personal goal and and will gain useful tools to help them achieve that goal.  This six week class will meet every Tuesday beginning January 10th-Feburary 14th. This elementary aged group is designed for students 1st-5th and will meet 4:15-5:15.  

 

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With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy