25 answers

Struggling Second Grader

My second grader has been struggling with school all along, and receives extra reading help. We have always tried to do all we can to help her, but as school gets harder, I am concerned that she will start to fall further behind. We are working with her teacher, and she has a progress monitoring plan in place, but I am not satisfied with the level of help she is receiving. We spend hours at night reteaching her what she did in school that day and it is very frustrating.

We have been told that they do not think she has a learning disability. We spend a lot of time going over things with her, and things that she can memorize, like spelling she always receives A's. Things that she does poorly on, when we review it with her, the problem is almost always that she could not read either the directions or part of the assignment and shut down. She had difficulty with new things, but once they are explained to her she usually understands. She tests very poorly however. If she gets one thing wrong, she tends to freeze up and starts to randomly answer things.

Any suggestions?

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

To everyone that responded I want to extend my sincere thanks. As you know, this is not something that I can say is resolved. We continue to love, laugh and cry, and do the best we can every day.

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Give her easier things she enjoys anilmals etc. to read, if she has success she'll want to do it more, make it important, but don't force her, since she tends to shut dowm, my 5th grader is similiar. and if you find what interest her and have her read in ways besides sitting down and reading, she'll won't even know she's doing it. Ex. receipes, grocery lists,
you may also want to find a tutor, classrooms are often not the best place to learn, Iam available if interested. I am in Englewood.

1 mom found this helpful

I think that FL schools although much improved for those students who don't need extra help, have a VERY long way to go in serving those who do. I volunteer in my son's 3rd grade classroom. I was recently asked by his teacher to find a volunteer parent who could help one of my son's classmates who is working on a 1st grade level. It was recently discovered that the child is legally blind. He was held back in K but that was it and has been passed along each year! This is a GOOD A school we are talking about.
The child is in afterschool tutoring and the teacher says he does have support at home as well. I just moved from PA, and whenever a child is diagnosed with a bona-fide disability there, extra funding comes in to get the child the support services he or she needs. There is no asking unqualified volunteer parents to help. This situation has left me with the knowledge that the only advocate my children are going to have with FL schools is ME! Good luck.

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I went through the same thing with my older daughter, Samantha. After a persistent attempt on my part I finally got her tested at school. She didn't have a learning disability. But she did have ADD (inattentive). Girls are usually inattentive not hiper active (ADHD) That is bascically she has a hard time keeping concentration on things in general. She easily forgot directions, and got frustrated when she didn't get the directions right away. Because we started the process of addressing her issues late in the school year she was left back in 2nd grade. Five years later she is a straight A student and has no problem with being left back.

Back to the ADD (inattentive). We went to a neurologist and ended up medicating Samantha. This was the best thing we ever did for her. After she started her medication we had her retested. It ended up that she did have a learning disablility. Actually a processing speed inequality between her eyes and her brain. As soon as that was diagnosed, we set her up with a 504Plan and eventually a SLS plan. These plans have helped her with her reading. More so these plans give her the time to take tests that she needs. She is no longer worried that she will not have time to finish the tests and her confidence and grades skyrocketed. Now she still has her SLS plan but only uses it for testing. She is in honors classes (equlivent to gifted in elemantary)and excelling. She actually does better being more challenged. Less time to daydream, and easier to stay focused.

I will let you know that you will probably need to hound your school to get your daughter tested. The school system is not for the individual issues it works more towards the common children, until you get in to a program. If you need more information on what you can do to get the process started please email me ____@____.com

K. Tejada

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I have to say I agree with Patricia, don't stop at what the teacher says. Always ask outside the school. I am having my child screened for pre-k with a group called fiddlers.Also, I work with ESE classes, as I am a substitute teacher and not everyone with a disability, is noticeable. My advice would be to have your child tested.

1 mom found this helpful

I have dyslexia. As you are seeing sometimes it takes a long time to get someone to agree that there is something your child might need help with. If it were not for my mom pushing and continuing testing I may still be struggling today. But I have been able to retrain my brain to see things properly. If you have more questions email me ____@____.com

1 mom found this helpful

My mother is a retired speech pathologist with the school system and I too had/have problems with my daughter, who now has made it to 2nd grade. You should probably consider having your child tested by a therapist outside of school. Also, it sounds like she would really benefit from outside tutoring. Our school offers free tutoring for every student, but you have to jump right away when it's offered. You could also look into tutoring centers or a high school or college student who may be studying child development or education. Good luck, I know how stressful this can be, but when she pushes through you'll be very proud.

1 mom found this helpful

My 7 year old twins are in the 2nd grade and have struggled with school since kindergarden. Last year I paid a tutor and this year I am doing the same, but I am also doing a greatleaps program that seems to help. We do letter regonition, sound awareness, high frequency words and pharses, and Stories that they can read to me under a minute. It teaches them fluency, and helps with there confindence.
What school do your kids attend and maybe we can help each other and have study groups and make it fun for them and us.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear B.,

Try this; in any area your daughter has trouble explain the definitions of the words. Take one word at a time. Do explanatory sentences and then have her do sentences until she feels she has it. If you are not sure of a definition, look it up in a dictionary and then put the definition in very simple concepts for her to understand. If you do this everyday, your daughters vocabulary will take off and her comprehension and use of these words will build confidence and skill for her. 100 years ago, you never saw a class room without a dictionary. Now the dictionary has fallen out of use and it is expected of children to be able to understand complex sentences without fully understanding the words that compose the sentence. It is practically impossible to do so.

I have done this with my five year old and people remark at her vast vocabulary.

This takes some work and switching to doing this, might be a big change but I promise the work will pay off for you. We have visual dictionaries and the internet has amazing dictionaries. Make it a game and you will open a whole new world of understanding for your daughter.

Sincerely,
D.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi B. -

Have you read through some of today's postings? There are several mothers who've had some sort of school-related issues with their second graders. It may be worth a look at their personal stories and the responses to them.

With regards to your second grader, whatever you do, please don't ever pit your children against each other in the intelligence and accomplishment departments. My parents did just that with my brother and me, and it was disastrous for my brother, who turned out to be a mediocre student at best for most of his childhood. Instead of rising to the challenge, he basically resigned himself to being the "dumber" of my parents' two children, and he still subscribes to that belief to this day even though he's made some great strides in his own life.

My parents were extremely strict with me on every aspect of my life, and as a result of ONLY that fact was I able to maintain excellent grades - I was basically scared straight into "As," which is no way to really learn anything. Even though I earned great grades, I never considered myself exceptionally and/or naturally bright. I had to re-read everything twice, sometimes three times and when it came to math, I had to have extra outside help (in grade school, that help took the form of my very impatient and over-expectant mother and in college, I elected to take remedial math classes even though I tested well enough to start at the college-level).

Not being naturally bright, but being extremely disciplined was what got me through college on scholarships and grants, which is a good thing since my parents refused to pay for or even co-sign for my education. If you could somehow nurture within your daughter the need for scholastic discipline, without resorting to negative reinforcement, it would serve her very well in school and in life in general. By the way, self-discipline is a key element to nurturing a good, strong memory. If you can research and find some good, age-appropriate memory activities and/or games that are actually FUN, I'm sure that would make a difference in your daughter's test-taking and retention overall.

I'm married to a very naturally intelligent man, and my kids have inherited his abilities, which at times frustrates me as it astounds me. I can't fathom the idea of not studying before a test or just winging it and hoping for the best (and the best always happening), but that's how my husband made his way through school. Our personal struggle now that we have kids together is to somehow recognize our children's natural intelligence, while honing and encouraging discipline. I can tell you that as a teacher myself, the more disciplined and in-line students are, the better students they're considered to be because they're using self-control to manage their behavior even when they may be bored because they're not challenged enough or clueless because they need extra help. Instead of acting out of frustration, they either ask for extra help or take their own initiative to learn new things. Of course, it's the teacher's job to not only monitor, but to make a plan of action for students' strengths and weaknesses (and EVERY student has BOTH).

You talked about your frustrations with re-teaching your daughter nearly every night...if a lot of time and effort on you and your husband's part is what it takes for now, it's a great investment in her future when she gets into higher grades and even harder subjects that you and your husband may not be equipped to help her with. Making sure your child knows she has home support as well as school support is extremely important for her confidence level, which seems to be at the root of her scholastic problems.

I'm not opposed to home-schooling, as one mom suggested, especially when Florida schools are so focused on teaching strictly to the FCATs, but are you in the position to make such a committment? My friend, who is a 4th grade teacher in St. Pete, says that she and her colleagues are so closely monitored by their school administrators and held to such a strict criteria that she can't even teach or reinforce the importance of neat handwriting - a great learning exercise to encourage both discipline and self-respect. There's something definitely wrong with Florida schools if they don't care how our kids are writing!

Home schooling has advanced way beyond its inception, and the concerns about lack of socialization have been answered with the formation of great social and academic groups made up of other home schooled students and even some public and privately educated students. You should research a home school network in your area if you're in the position to go that route.

Blessings to you and yours.

1 mom found this helpful

I think that FL schools although much improved for those students who don't need extra help, have a VERY long way to go in serving those who do. I volunteer in my son's 3rd grade classroom. I was recently asked by his teacher to find a volunteer parent who could help one of my son's classmates who is working on a 1st grade level. It was recently discovered that the child is legally blind. He was held back in K but that was it and has been passed along each year! This is a GOOD A school we are talking about.
The child is in afterschool tutoring and the teacher says he does have support at home as well. I just moved from PA, and whenever a child is diagnosed with a bona-fide disability there, extra funding comes in to get the child the support services he or she needs. There is no asking unqualified volunteer parents to help. This situation has left me with the knowledge that the only advocate my children are going to have with FL schools is ME! Good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

hello, my lst son also started struggling in 2nd grade. teachers said he did not have a learning disability. but by 3rd grade i insisted he be tested (for learning disabilities). and i was right. he did have disabilities and was placed in a resourse sld class. i also had him privately tutored every year. it helps to have someone other then yourself to tutor--for some reason they learn better. my 2nd & 3rd sons also have learning disabilities. my 3rd son in is what the school calls the 504 program -- which basically is for children that do not test to have learning disabilities but are struggling. ask your school about this program. in this program the students get "accommodations". there is a form that lists these accommodations that you can look at. accommodations are things such as extra time for tests, communication notebook, shortened tests, study buddies, teachers reading tests instruction etc. you can also have your child tested privately w/a licensed phys. and the school will have to accept their test results. you can get a note from your pediatrician stating that he/she sees the need for testing or extra help or to be placed in the 504 program. my 2 older sons are in college now and my 3rd son is in 5th grade. i have learned throughout the years to be as persistent as possible because only you can help your child get what he/she needs to have a successful education. kids w/learning disabilities can learn well, they just learn differently. my older sons grad. high school in the top 10 percent of their class and have 3.8 averages in college (civil engineering program). never give up, be as pushy and persistent as you can no matter what the teachers say if you feel there is a problem. no one knows you child as well as you do and if you have that motherly instinct that some help is needed -- stick w/it. it may take some time to get the right help but it is worth it. good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

B. i am not an expert on this, but still wanted to respond. to me sounds like she's under a lot of stress and trying to concentrate in school and have to go through same stuff at home she isn't getting much of a break. if she were my child at this point i'd get her homeschooled either by you or a tutor you fiund adequate to work with her and has a lot of patience. growing up, i had a lot of problems concentrating on doing tests; i had all A's always but never did well in tests (different education system). maybe you could also get her teachers to give her time (unlimited) when taking tests and see maybe if there isn't a timeframe she should be done with the test she could relax and be able to concentrate.
lthough myself i prefer homeschooling at this point and see for a year whether she does better.
good luck
V.

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Sounds so very familiar to me! Same issue with my son. For three years been trying to get school to listen and do something. I requested that they test him....they dropped the ball and did not respond to my request. I found out later they have ten days to respond. Three years later and in second grade and they told me they were retaining him in second grade! He did just like your daughter....very good at spelling tesing same issues as your daughter. I took my son after much research to a specialist and had him tested for what I thought might be ADD or ADHD....guess what he has Adperger's Disorder a form of autisim often confused/misdiagnosed as ADD...in addition he has a learning disability on top of all of that...after months of reading the laws and follow up he now has been tested at school and qualifies for ESE services with Lee County Schools until he is 23 years old....they are placing him in third grade where he belongs with a special ESE Inclusion teacher. Trust me get your daughter tested for Asperger's and complete the paperwork for ADD (one by teacher and one by you) and take to your pediatrician...go online and research Asperger's!

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Even though the teachers don't feel that your daughter has a learning disability I would have them perform the Conner's test (you can request this through her teacher). When my son was in 1st grade, I had him tested even though the school staff did not recommend it and he was recently diagnosed with ADD. I wasn't looking to have him put on any medication, just the extra help he needs. Now that he has the diagnosis there will be extra support for him and me because I know how frustrating it can be.

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I am an elementary school teacher home on maternity leave. I am so sorry to hear about the struggles you are having. I currently am tutoring while at home and offer reasonable rates. I provide all materials and am trained in doing reading assessments. The tutoring centers from what I have heard are very costly and your child does not always get one on one help. Your child may just need more time to work on her skills. Every child learns differently and at a different pace. I live in Tampa. Let me know if I can be of any assistance.
Good Luck,
A.

1 mom found this helpful

The school system does not always catch a learning disability. A friend of mine in Kansas just found out that her second grader has a number of learning disabilities he has to deal with but did not find it out until she went with a private company that did extensive tests on him. He too stuggled with reading, his teachers kept saying he was making progress but she knew he wasn't. He was being tutored and getting special help at school. You may want to find other resources than the school to test your daughter.

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First tihing I would do is request a conference with the teacher AND guidance counselor. The guidance counselor is an advocate for your child.

Though the teacher may not feel there is a need to test your child for learning disabilities the g.c. might see that there is. If the teacher & g.c. does not feel that there is a problem, they may at very least may be able to give you some insight into what you can do to help her.

Some parents do not want their child labeled as SLD because they fear that there will be a stigma attached to that label. But what SLD stands for is Specific Learning Disability. Children are labeled SLD when their learning ability does not match their intelligence level - often times these children have quite high IQs but their performance levels do not necessarily make it look that way.

If your daughter is an auditory or 'hands on' learner, perhaps she will need for someone to read the tests to her or she may need to rewrite the questions in order to understand them.

Also, has she been into the eye doctor to make sure her vision is okay? It could be as simple as she can't SEE what she's reading.

Hope all is well with you and your daughter.

God Bless.

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You may want to try one of those private tutoring programs. Like Sylvan Learning Centers? I don't know how expensive they are, but it may be just what she needs. I wouldn't put off solving the problem though. The older she gets and the further behind she gets the more self esteem problems she will carry with her throughout her life.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear B.,

I can give you some advice that I have learned over the last 7 years in dealing with schools and my son.
Testing is very important. My son was diagnosed ADHD at 5, he is now 11. Since then it has been an uphill battle with various schools.
My son has horrible handwriting, I have worked with him as well as my husband. The teachers over the years have told us that our son is just "lazy". It has turned out that our son has Dysgraphia, it is a form of dyslexia where there are fine motor problems and brain processing problems that cause the poor handwriting. Since then my son was to have an ocupational therapist at school and to be given an Alpha Smart keyboard to work with for lengthy writing assignments. We have been in Florida for months and the school has yet to provide my child with the Alpha Smart, the O/T only visited him twice and my child shuts down when he is given work that looks overwhelming (with a lot of writing) and the teachers just say "he is lazy" there is no support even after having an IEP in place. Then he recieves low grades.
I would test for ADHD, ADD, Dysgraphia, Dyslexia, any processing problems, eye sight, hearing and so forth.
Once you have a diagnosis then that's where the work begins. Your child will get special services that must be provided by the school and an IEP, and a 504 plan. The teacher must adjust your childs assignments to fit your childs needs. My son went from being an honor roll student that recieved so many academic awards to a full special education student with a very low self esteem as he got older and the work load increased beyond his mental and physical capabilities as the school was not implementing all of the accomodations made for him in his IEP. The meeting for the IEP is long and involved, once it is all on paper it then has to be inacted, there lies the problem.
I have since pulled my child out of school and I am homeschooling him. I have gone through years of meetings, researching, volunteering and trying with every ounce of my being to partner with the school to help my child and I have had one door after another shut in my face. After you start to advocate for your child even in the most professional and polite way the school views you as an annoyance and they turn resentful and my child suffered the consequences. Such as very hurtful comments being made to him by the teachers, humiliation infront of peers and so on. The school told me that they legally have 6 months to give my child the services that he requires and in the meantime he is just to deal with it. His priviate psychologist advised me to take him out of the public school system because of the mental distress that their inadequate and sometimes abusive ways are causing my child.
All you can do is get the testing, follow through with the school, and advocate, advocate, advocate for your child, no one else will do it. Once your child's spirit is broken it is a long road in putting it back together.
I wish you the best of luck
R. M.

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You may want to check into tutoring available through the No Child Left Behind act. Also, I'm not sure who told you she does not have a learning disability, but it may be worth some professional testing. Teachers and school administrators are not qualified to make diagnoses. If she does have a disability, best to catch it and get help early in her education.

Best of luck to you.
J.

1 mom found this helpful

Dear B.,

I have been dealing with the same thing with my daughter, only it's been for the last 4-5 years. Her teachers have told me repeatedly that she is fine and doesn't have a learning disability. Well, 6th grade has started and once again we're having problems. I decided to go outside the school to ask questions and get some help. Anyway I started making some calls to Learning Centers & Pediatric Psychologists. Everyone I have spoken to says I need to get her tested. She probably does have a learning disability to some degree. Of course, I'm not saying that your child does have a learning disability, all I'm saying is don't stop (at what the teachers tell you) to find answers if you don't think your child is getting any better. I have many phone numbers if you would like me to email some to you, let me know.

Good luck,

P.

1 mom found this helpful

I must tell you that I also went through the same thing with my daughter and this was in 1st grade....I would read to her everynight before bed time so what I started doing is reading together with her and reading more in the weekends. Now she's a 2nd grade and is doing great....she likes reading even though sometimes she struggles with certain words but in overall I think it as work out fine...I still read with her as well as read her a bed time story....the weekend routine is still in effect and I do my best to take her to the library every other weekend.

Also ask her teacher about touring after school or you can even get a program on the computer for reading go to Studybuddy.com

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Get her eyes professionally checked to make sure she can see normally (even if she thinks she can).

She could have attention deficit without being hyperactive. Teachers are not allowed to tell parents their opinion on that. Take her for testing to see what the problem is.

Contact the school board and see if they have testing for learning disabilities or dsylesia.

Also, try Sylvan Learning Center.

1 mom found this helpful

Give her easier things she enjoys anilmals etc. to read, if she has success she'll want to do it more, make it important, but don't force her, since she tends to shut dowm, my 5th grader is similiar. and if you find what interest her and have her read in ways besides sitting down and reading, she'll won't even know she's doing it. Ex. receipes, grocery lists,
you may also want to find a tutor, classrooms are often not the best place to learn, Iam available if interested. I am in Englewood.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, I have a second grade daughter who is also struggling with reading and math. My daughter just turned 7 in November and is the youngest in the class. I have had her tested independently and have started her in a reading tutoring program at the local university. She has Sensory Integration Disorder, and eye and brain processing challenges. She is receiving Occupational Therapy outside of school, The Occupational Therapist has given her exercises to help calm and de-stress as well as organise her body and brain. Our school district would not qualify her for an IEP so I am looking into a 504 plan. I had my daughter's eyes checked by a Developmental Opthamologist who perscribed reading glasses and tracking exercises at home. She diagnosed the tracking (convergence and divergence) problems ie. moving the eyes from left to right for reading. The Pediatric Opthamologist did not notice these problems. When my daughter started wearing her glasses for reading, she was less frustrated. I have had to pursue all these supports for her as the school and teachers just want to keep pushing her on to the next grade. My child is very high functioning and very intelligent. She is not disruptive in the class and is very well mannered. The public school is one of the top in our area but they do not offer great support, even for kids who have IEP's. They have aids working with the kids not Resource Specialists. I am considering retaining her in second grade and moving her to a private school. You can go to the website Wrightslaw and research how to go about getting services for your child. This is a great website. They also have conferences around the country for parents and advocates. You can also hire an Educational Advocate to go with you to the school. If you request testing for your child, put it in writing. Always get a second opinion from an outside source. You have to be your childs advocate. Good luck !

My third grade daughter also struggled with reading. We had her eyes checked and even though she has 20/20 vision, she has a "tracking" or convergence problem. To her eyes the words jumped on the page and were seen as double. She thought this happened to everyone when they read. She has been in vision therapy for 3 months and has started to read more fluently and more importantly, comprehend what she reads. An opthamalogist should be able to help you. A lot of insurances will even cover Vision therapy.

My son, now in 9th grade, struggled with reading up to 2nd grade. It wasn't just reading; it was reading comprehension. I have always been a reader, had already read to my children and they read to me everynight so I was very confused and frustrated. Since understanding what you are reading affects every subject in school, it finally came down to me deciding whether or not I wanted to have my son retained. After several (more) conferences with his teacher and then with the principal, my husband and I made the decision to hold him back in 2nd grade another year. It was the BEST thing I ever did for him. At first, it was difficult for him seeing his friends move up a grade, but after 7 years, he thanks me.

I know this isn't for every child. This is just my story and I'm so glad I did this for my child.

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