Saturday, October 29, 2011
Struggling Readers---Why So Many 8, 9, and 10 Year Olds?
Over the past few months, I have been receiving more than a few calls from parents, grandparents, and teachers about children from the 8-10 year-old age group. Many of these concerned adults have told me about the children's reading problems with focus, about "too many words on a page", and the actual resistance to reading in general. I could not help but think, “What is happening with reading in this particular group of children from ages 8-10?"
First of all, many children are often presented with their first, “large” text book somewhere between the ages of 8 and 10 years. For many, this will be a social studies (geography) or science book with two columns of text per page. Young students are easily overwhelmed by the appearance of this first example of just “too much text” on each page. This experience is more like a “shock” to them, given the other books they previously have read with one set of long text lines on each page. Trying to focus and read becomes that much more difficult.
In addition to this, these children can also experience more “visual stress”, not just from the sheer increase in the volume of text to be read, but in the increase of the white page backgrounds behind the greater amounts of text. Developmental optometrists will mention that this visual stress can contribute significantly to vision-related reading difficulties.
What can be done to help with this situation? Most probably, textbook publishers will not be changing their text formats anytime soon. However, a few things might be helpful. Prior to reading a new section in a “larger” text book, use the SQRRR method of reading and reviewing material:
1. http://www.odessa.edu/dept/govt/dille/brian/courses/1100Orientation/SQ3R.pdf or
2. http://www.psychologicalselfhelp.org/Chapter13/chap13_90.html .
This is an excellent method to adopt as an approach to life-long reading and learning.
Also, changing the white background of a page by using a colored overlay can go a long way to diminishing or eliminating visual stress for a reader. Another option, especially if focus and visual stress are suspected, is to introduce the Reading Focus Card, a solution that 1) changes any printed page's white background to a chosen color AND 2) blocks out more surrounding text than any other reading tool available.
These are some of the simplest, most inexpensive, and non-invasive options for helping children in this age group with reading challenges of this kind.
For more information:
www.FocusandRead.com For focusing tools that work!
www.BrennanInnovators.com For info, resources, and support