Why do some people have reading challenges?



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!


The big taboo with the present generation is…….. STUDYING?!?!



I look at my 11, 9, 6 and 3yr olds…….I am perplexed!

Ok, forget the 3 and 6yr olds! I think about the elder two…..sigh….big sigh….

I then go back in time to my days at secondary school. From Junior Secondary, though I was an average student, I always tried to carry my books 2weeks before end of term exams so that I could (at least) make the pass mark for a subject. I’d think about the daily prep periods Β (night reading periods for boarding student), the physical library (a building in the school with cataloged cards for those willing to search for an old classic), the times – spent building up a friendship just by having someone who knew a topic better than you – learning from her, and so on. I go through this cycle every time I tell my kids to carry their books and study.

It seems I am not the only one affected by this though. I have asked quite a number of friends and I get the same response – sighs!!!

A sister of mine told me, “if IB should miss a class of school due to illness, there’s trouble!” She would need to get extra help to make him learn the topic because he just doesn’t read. And when you ask – he’ll tell you that he knows the topic. infact, it wasn’t too long ago that an educational organisation did a seminar on how to get the current kids to start reading to study.

So where did we go wrong? Our parents didn’t need too much effort to get us to read or study. Or do we blame the internet? Afterall, it gives you the answers to most (not all) things at the touch of a button. Or is it some sort of metamorphosis in the genetic make up of the kids? Is it the depletion of the ozone layer? Are we feeding them too much GMO foods? …..big sigh!

As a teacher I know that actively reading not only benefits the intellect, it also exercises and develops the brain. This is why my generation (1970s-1980s) can think, put things into action, and develop new ideas from old ones. We never get bogged down, we forge ahead because we are active. I would devour a book once I got started because I had a reading culture.

It seems technology has erased anything related to developing a reading culture with the old fashioned, handheld, physical book. Any advice from anyone?


What’s your say on this?