Why do some people have reading challenges?

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I’m doing a self study on children with slow learning abilities, actually, delayed reading ability. The more I read, the more captivating it is. One good thing, though, is that I now know that

if a child can’t read at age 7, it doesn’t mean the child is lazy, dumb or has no hope of ever making it in life.

It just means that both parents and school will need to intensify all efforts in intervention toΒ  assistΒ  the child or teen to read. Now if there is a biological issue involved, that’s another story, otherwise everything is OK. Even children with down syndrome read well if not better than their peers.
A point I must bring to your attention is that

there is a difference between reading and comprehending.

The child with down syndrome, for example, might be very good at reading but will not be able to comprehend what he or she is reading. So if we decide to intervene, we need to focus on both and take it from a simple to complex level.
A study done in the United States, years back, showed that there is a part of the brain that makes no contribution to intellect and is not measured in intelligence test. This area, allows children to distinguish between the tiniest sounds in words. If this area is not properly developed, then the child is likely to have difficulty in reading. Research is still going on in this area.

How can we help this area to develop?
We start very early at home. Children who enter school with a large vocabulary base have a very high probability of excelling in both reading and comprehension. Between birth and the age of 12mths, babies are able to replicate any sound they hear. After 12mths, they loose this ability and will only replicate, perfectly, sounds they have already heard. An example of this is the ‘r’ issue in Japanese language, there is no ‘r’ in the language so a typical Japanese adult won’t hear it in a word. So ‘rice’ becomes ‘lice’.
When mothers use baby talk with their babies, it helps unconsciously to accentuate sounds and rhythm in d native language. Please note, television can never be a substitute for this.

Dyslexia is a common term used to describe difficulty in reading. There are arguments about it being a myth or not.Β  Some argue that there is really no such thing as Dyslexia, and that you can’t tell between a dyslexic or normal child – see what I mean – it’s placing the child in a ‘special’ group,Β  and that is quite unnecessary. Others say, No, they need to be in a special group.
I kinda agree with the first group, if there were circumstances that affected a child in the foundational stages of growth, then it is only right to plan out some form of remedial and intervention strategy to assist that child to close the gap between him and his peers.Β  He is only a poor reader, not a special child. Labelling him might lead to unnecessary stigmatization amongst his peers. It has worked, still works, and will keep working as long as there is a determined and dedicated team, and of course no underlying medical issue.

Next article, we will talk more about dyslexia, God willing. See you!

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2 thoughts on “Why do some people have reading challenges?

  1. Your self study on children with slow learning abilities is quite interesting and I’ll look forward to reading more on some of your findings in future.
    I think there is a danger in making a sweeping statement about people with down syndrome and their ability to comprehend what they’ve read, and I say this because down syndrome on its own has got a very broad spectrum , as such you get people with different levels of reading and comprehension.
    Also, talking from experience of working with learners that have been declared to have dyslexic tendency and whose first language is English, I’m beginning to think – would the same criteria used in determining this tendency in such individuals be applicable to someone whose first language isn’t English but has learnt or is learning to read in English language?
    Also, grouping learners with all sorts of adjectives or not is not as simple as this or that, rather, it is more complicated, especially the further you delve into the field of SEN and education in general.
    Sometimes the inability of a learner not to be able to read could be due to so many factors,I.e. poor eyesight, lack of self esteem and confidence, lack of agency, perception, inappropriate teaching approach with regards to that particular learner…
    Having observed in the past how a dyslexia test is done, I can say it is less of your ability to read and more of your ability to observe, reason and correlate things, simply put- logical thinking.

    • Thanks for your reply. I am really excited about this journey on dyslexics. You have made some interesting points that I will note and use in my studying. I think that for someone whose first language is not English, I would put them into two groups, using my environment as an example.
      The first group, English is not first language, but speaks English well because it is an official language spoken in the country and used in schools, native language is used mostly at home. I believe it would be safe to use the same criteria but put into consideration the words used being applicable to the child’s surroundings.
      The second group, not that familiar with English but, maybe is learning it for future use…… Hmmmm?! More work and effort will definitely go into it. I think it should work especially since I agree with you that it is more of your ability to observe, reason and correlate things, i.e. Logical thinking.
      I stay in Nigeria and children here are unjustly classified and not given the opportunity. We don’t have standardized testing and nobody really cares, it’s heartbreaking. That’s why I am doing my own research as a KG teacher, will be too expensive to travel for study so I am using the iTunesU. Will appreciate any more info from you. Thanks.

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