Seeking First Hand Experience with Reading Courses

Updated on June 10, 2009
D.R. asks from Culver City, CA
7 answers

Hi Everyone. My daughter just finished first grade and is not reading as well as she could/should. The teacher agrees that she should work at it over the summmer. I do not plan to bombard her with work, but I do want to expose her to some extra coaching. There are so many courses, Kumon, Sylvan,Kaplan, etc. that it is hard to know which one is good and worth the money (i.e. who will do more than what I can do at home). Has anyone had experience with a course for reading that they thought was worthwhile. I would love to hear about it. I live in West L.A. Thank you for your advice.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I was pushing my 1st grader earlier in the school year to read more by herself when we sat together with her books, and she announced that she "likes reading with Daddy better because he reads to her." I was conveying this story to our school's director (mostly for what I thought was the humor of it) and he surprised me by saying that at this age we SHOULD be reading TO our children. This is the age where kids learn whether or not reading is fun and enjoyable.

As hard as it was, I backed off and my daughter has stunned me with her progress. There is plenty of evidence out there to support the proposition that reading by the 2nd grade is the real norm, not this overachieving idea that kids should be reading chapter books in 1st grade by themselves. Is your daughter seeing you read on a regular basis? If you push her into a "program" this summer, make sure you do the same thing to yourself.

Regarding your daughter's teacher, she might just have been reassuring an anxious parent to get rid of you. =-)



answers from Los Angeles on

D., I highly recommend H.E.L.P. (The Hollywood Education and Literacy Project) located here in Hollywood. It is a free program and they will truly show your daughter how to study successfully. I suggest scheduling a free tour to find out more.

Here's their data:

Hollywood Education Literacy Project International
6336 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood CA 90028

Life is magical when you know how to study!

With love,
L. (MAMA to 20 month old Dylan Orion.......29 September 2007) : )))



answers from Los Angeles on

LMU has a good literacy program for kids that is affordable. Check it out online.

Also check the junior colleges they have kid college where reading and other study skills are covered at a good rate. The programs you mentioned tend to be expensive.

Cal State Dominguez hills has a reading institute program that goes for a few weeks that is also good. Go online and check in the extended education area.



answers from Los Angeles on

Schools and coaching are OK, but what about just making her want to read. Collect coupons and let her find the articles at the super market. Look for give aways that are at her level. Ask her to fine things that have labels.
Leave her notes. Also what about the close captions on the TV?
Be can think up a lot of fun games. We once saved cupons on a cereal promotion. Use flash cards at home.The old Dick and Jane stuff worked for a lot of us.....
Make it fun and don't worry she will catch on.
B. v. O.



answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, D.,

I taught math and English for over a dozen years (public school, private tutorial companies, etc. K through adult). I highly recommend getting your daughter tested at Sylvan Learning Center. Of all the programs I've taught, I feel that Sylvan offers the best diagnostic testing by far. By testing your daughter, you can determine which areas/skills are her strongest and weakest and then focus on strengthening the weakest areas. Kids I've worked with seem to really like Sylvan's program, too. It's not the cheapest program, but it's very effective. If Sylvan's tutorial program is too expensive for you, then I recommend you get your daughter tested at Sylvan and then find another tutorial program that will work with Sylvan's results or work with your daughter on the skills that Sylvan determined were her weakest.



answers from Los Angeles on

Is your daughter at the younger end of the grade level?

I am sure she is right on track for her age.

Typically, the kids who are not as quick to read are the ones who are 6 years and 1 month in the grade group, and the better readers are the kids who are 6 years and 11 months.

With that in mind, maybe it is is simple as letting her develop on her own timetable, to make things easier for her, and make her feel successful, rather than always behind.

Macolm Gladwell just wrote a book call "The Outlayers" about this and other statistical problems that create misconceptions about indiviual achievments and successes.

Lots of Love,



answers from Los Angeles on

I found that my son enjoyed books on tape that allowed him to follow along with the reader, and also imitate.

We did simple books and then worked our way into chapter.

Hope that this helps.

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