My daughter is struggling at school

January 12, 2011 3:30pm CST
My 5 year old has been at school for over a year and still can't read or write. She gets lower-case b and d mixed up, writes some letters backwards, puts capitals in the middle of words, and although she knows what sound each letter makes she can't put them together as words. I think she may be dyslexic but the school won't test her til next year as they say she's too young. She has also mentioned things that make me think the circle of friends she made last year are pushing her out. She is pretending to be ill just to avoid going to school. Help!
4 people like this
15 responses
@sweet_pea (3326)
• Philippines
13 Jan 11
This is a very informative post. My son is also struggling in school. He is 4 when he started kindergarten. He's one of the youngest in his class. His grades are lower last quarter and judging by the results of his latest exams it just might go downhill. I think their lessons are way too advanced. They are already adding and subtracting numbers my son just can't cope. He jumbles uppercase and lower case letters when he writes. Often doesn't follow instructions. When the teacher instructs to box, he encircles it. I think the education system is better in other countries as the method of teaching is molded to the learning ability of a child. A cousin who is a preschool teacher in UK told me that children are assessed on how they grasp learning like if they are auditory learner or visual learners. She then prepares different activities to each group so they can easily grasp what lesson she has for the day. Schools like this are quite expensive in my country. You can already put a child to college by the amount you spent on these schools. In my spare time, I tutor my son. I make learning fun for him. You can try reading to her words repetitively, that's how my son learned how to read. Recognition through repetition. Make reading time a bonding time with your daughter. While reading you pinpoint the words one-by-one. I hope eventually, all is well with your daughter.
1 person likes this
14 Jan 11
My daughter's teacher says she is the best in her class with numbers, but when she has to put it down on paper she just can't do it
@deebomb (15323)
• United States
12 Jan 11
Hello marianne. Let me tell you a story about my grandson and granddaughter at that age. At that time the reading program hooked on phonics was popular. We got one and my granddaughter was 4 at the time. She took off learning her alphabet and sounds on to reading real fast. She was ready to read before she start school at age 6,her birthday was in November. Now when my grandson was four and we worked with him the same as with my granddaughter, but he had a real hard time he mixed up g and h. Now those two letters don't look any thing alike. any way when it came time to register him for school the teacher ask if any parent wanted to have their child tested to see if they were ready. Not all babies are ready to walk at the same age and it was the same with binging ready to read. We had him tested and decided to wait for a year. That made a big difference in hie learning to read. he learned very quickly then. He ended up doing very well all through school. Maybe your daughter isn't mature enough to be going to school yet. All kids aren't ready just because they reach a certain age. I shudder to think of the problems we could have run into if we had sent him earlier. This is just something to think about.
@deebomb (15323)
• United States
12 Jan 11
PS I'm a good reader. never had trouble but had trouble with the small b and d far into school when they were not together or with in words.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (96662)
• Marion, Kansas
12 Jan 11
Both of my kids were born in late November. It meant they could not start school until they were almost six. I see no problem with holding them out. Many times in my particular area they make a point to hold out the boys as late as legally possible to give them an advantage in sports.
12 Jan 11
I did send her in a year earlier than the law states, but she is now at an age where she should be reading/writing :/
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (96662)
• Marion, Kansas
12 Jan 11
You have two different problems going on here, and I am not sure that they both are really problems, unless the standards are different in your country than in mine.It is really good that she knows the letters and the sounds they make, that is an excellent pre reading skill. I have worked in schools here, and most children learn to read closer to six years old. They have a year of kindergarten then go on to the grades and learn to put the letters together as words. Does her teacher think she is behind compared to the other students? On the other hand I do believe she may be being bullied at school. Possibly she needs to talk about the issues with you and also work on making friends with a larger group. For the b and d situation there is a way to teach her to remember. Have her extend her index finger on each hand, and curl the other fingers into circles. You will notice that they look like a "b" and "d" , reading from left to right. Show her they look like a "bed" with high posts. In the first grade classrooms they put a poster up that looks like this.
12 Jan 11
They have reception (English kindergarten) which she's been through. She is the youngest in her year, she started school 3 weeks after she turned 4. Is that relevant? Yes, her teacher thinks she is way behind. She won't talk to me much. I am going to get her teacher to talk to her, and if she won't open up to her, the next step is to ask her reception teacher to get involved, as she got very close to her last year and is more likely to talk to her. I did do the "bed" thing - I showed her on paper and pointed out the bedposts... she told me I'm not good at drawing, and drew herself and a duvet on top!
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (96662)
• Marion, Kansas
12 Jan 11
LOL, she is so funny. Her age is probably a lot to do with her learning, in my opinion. Of course I am use to the US standards and ages. My kids did learn to read early, but they learned it accidentally, at home, and it was because they were developmentally ready. Most places I am familiar with in the US require that a child be at least five years old before they do kindergarten. However, many of them are sent to two or three years of preschool. Mine did not go to preschool, but were in a lot of other classes like swimming and gymnastics at three and four years old.
12 Jan 11
My girl is great with oral/auditary learning, she's been fluent in Spanish since age 2. But she finds it hard to write things down which is why I thought of dyclexia
@sedel1027 (17855)
• United States
12 Jan 11
Instead of waiting on the school, you should take matters into your own hands and pay for her to be tested and start her in tutoring. As far as her friends, just be supportive. You may want to considering putting her into counseling so that she has someone else to talk to that can help her better express everything she is feeling.
12 Jan 11
We are struggling to keep up with our household bills, so £500 for a private dyslexia test is beyond us. I am trying to support her as much as possible at home, I think maybe I haven't been giving her education much attention as we have a 4 month old baby and I'm always tired or busy. This morning she said she felt sick. I didn't believe her, but I kept her home. I took her temperature (perfectly normal) and told her it was a bit high and maybe she needed to rest today. Then I used the time she was here to talk to her about school work. We did some reading, which she struggled with as usual. We ordered workbooks to reinforce her school work. And she wants me to make a "word box" like she had last year to help her memorise words
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (96662)
• Marion, Kansas
12 Jan 11
With a four month old baby at home, she may also just be feeling left out and wanting to stay at home. I had some issues when I was about nine years old and would make out like I was ill to try to stay home. My parents did not punish me, but they told me they knew I was not really ill. They then set up a reward system for me attending school regularly. I had tried to fake a temperature, my dad told me the "right" way to do it, and so I knew he was not fooled. I had been a slow learner due to missing school and not paying attention and that year represented a turn around for me. My great niece came to live with me when she was six, in her second year of school. She was about six levels behind in reading at the start of the year. They put her in a program of twenty minutes of reading from progressive readers every night. By the end of the year she was two levels above her grade, because we did that faithfully. An established time every night where you just focus on her and her reading would give her the attention she needs from you as well as the practice of reading that she needs.
12 Jan 11
I don't think she is jealous of the baby, but I think I have maybe relied on her too much to help with her brother and baby sister. The boy has been playing up (through jealousy) so she has been trying to help me by being "Mummy" to him when she can. I haven't tried to get her to do anything, but its possible she has felt I need her help and has taken on more than she should :( Oh no I feel awful thinking about that!
@wydtron (302)
• Portugal
12 Jan 11
Hmm if she is using excuses like being ill to not go to school its because she fears something maybe those so called " friends " she has. Be aware of that and dont try to make the child speak because that will be worst she will fell pressure and humiliation but im pretty sure it comes from her "friends". But it depends does she tries to escape to homework activities?
12 Jan 11
She's happy to do her homework but I have to spell out every word and she gets so frustrated if she makes a mistake. Also she can't tell me what she has written
@wydtron (302)
• Portugal
12 Jan 11
If she hasnt problems with homework it means she hasnt problems with teachers and learning also because when we dont want to learn we usually reject the homework and try to escape from it but if thats not the case then the most probably is that she is having problems with some bully from her school be aware with that. That can make the kid more suspecious of what is around him instead of keeping attention to the teacher. Thanks for reading and sharing your knowledge with all of us :)
@chertsy (3805)
• United States
13 Jan 11
I wouldn't worry to much about the d's and b's. My daughter had the same problem. I got really worried that something was wrong. I already knew she had a speech problem, so I became so worried something else was wrong it made me sick at times. I had a nice talk with her teacher, and found out a lot of kids start out getting their b's and d's mixed up. Kids learning to write put their letters in the weirdest order. Don't get me started on the capital letter thing, that's a whole other story for another day. Give her time, she's learning to write and read. Both of my kids didn't know how to read when they were in kindergarten. My oldest, bless her heart actually started to read when she was in the 1st grade, thanks to a wonderful teacher. My oldest is in the 3rd grade and it's a fight every day to get her to read. She's just now starting to read at her level. Her hang up is writing, she can tell you a story, she just can't put it on paper. If you feel something is wrong, ask her school if they can do other testing, not just to see if she's dyslexic. If something is wrong, it can be caught early and with the extra help it can be fixed. With my youngest, she was showing signs, but her old school just kept pushing her to the next grade. I was upset and hurt that they would do this to a child. Luckily, last year her teacher saw a problem, contacted me and we got the ball rolling, and now she's getting the extra help. She still has trouble with her reading, and putting words on paper, but she's making progress. With the friend situation, I don't know what to say regarding that. Except friends come and go. I just hope things get better. Give it time, one thing I had to learn and was to have patience.
14 Jan 11
I was upset that the teacher didn't tell me my daughter has been crying in class. It wasn't until I approached her with MY concerns that she bothered to say anything! I am worried as I think my girl is embarrassed by being so far behind her classmates.
@sylvia13 (1851)
• Nelson Bay, Australia
13 Jan 11
I could recognize dyslexia as soon as I read your post, as my younger brother also used to have it. He is very clever, but writing is always a problem for him, even though he had to learn two languages, not just one! Of all my brothers and sisters, he is the done who has the biggest heart and he is always helping people! But dyslexics don't have it easy, as people are judged by their achievements and reading and writing properly have a lot to do with that!
14 Jan 11
So does it sound like dyslexia to you?
@wdiong (1818)
• Singapore
13 Jan 11
Hi, my son is around the same age as your daughter. He'll be 6 this coming April. Although he is not able to read all that many words, there are certain words that he recognises and is able to say when I read story books to him. He does not have any problems with writing either. The first thing that came to mind when reading your post is also that of dyslexia. I think it's best if you could get someone else to test her as soon as possible so that relevant help can be rendered and she can look forward to going school again.
13 Jan 11
The reason I thought of dyslexia is I remember a friend who was like this at a young age and she was dyslexic. I am and always have been a "bookworm". I love to read and never had any problems but my mum taught me to read before I went to school. My daughter can speak fluent Spanish as well as English, that is what I taught her, but I never thought she would have problems at school with our basic language I have ordered a lot of books, expensive but she is the eldest of 3 so they should be worth the investment!
@asyria51 (2870)
• United States
12 Jan 11
A lot of schools will wait to test until the child is closer to 7, a high percentage of students who exhibit problems that appear early on to be dyslexia, end up correcting themselves as they mature a bit more. b, d, p, q confusion is very common, as is writing capitals in the middle of words, when the child is still young, and 5 is young even if they have been in school for a year and a half. As for the pretending to be ill, I would gently ask about how the day is, did you have fun playing with your friends, and see what comments arise from it. i know that teachers are busy, but ask the teacher if she is noticing any social problems with your child and the other students. Sometimes if it is just mild, a teacher may not notice with all the other interactions going on in the day.
12 Jan 11
I always ask what she has done during the day, but she says she can't remember, and just tells me what she had for her school dinner instead. She is a sensitive child, she takes after me, but that worries me as I was bullied in school myself. I have written a letter which I will send in tomorrow, explaining all the problems and asking for someone to keep a close eye on her interactions with her classmates. I wish I could be there to see for myself but obviously the school wouldn't allow this.
• United States
16 Jan 11
I have to agree with a previous poster that said there certainly seems to be multiple issues going on. My first suggestion for the school work would be to have a parent-teacher conference and perhaps they can make some suggestions. I know that schools around here sometimes offer the aid of older students to help tutor the younger ones, sometimes it's easier for kids to learn from their peers than it is from adult teachers. I don't believe that getting the lower-case b and d's mixed up is a serious issue though as that seems to be a rather common occurrence with children that age that are just staring to learn to write. As for the friends pushing her away issue, unfortunately that's going to happen, whether now or later in life, and she'll need to learn to deal with it and make new friends as harsh as that may sound. Any serious bullying however, should be discussed with the school and possibly the parents of the other students. As hard as it may be, I don't think it's a good idea for you to feed into her fake illnesses and allow her to simply stay home from school. While no one wants to see their child upset, it's really only hurting her in the long run. Good luck and I hope that everything turns out well!
@maximax8 (27333)
• United Kingdom
14 Jan 11
My older son found learning to read and write very difficult. He got on fine in year 1 at 5 to 6 years old because the teacher didn't push him hard to learn and let him play a lot. Then when he moved into year 2 at 6 to 7 years old he got quite sad because it was all work no play. He used to try to chatter to rather than try to read with the teacher or teaching assistant. It was decided that he had dyslexia. Once he got over the difficulty with reading and writing he was like a different child. He went through the rest of primary school and then we moved to a different area when he was in year 6. Then when he began secondary school there was an even bigger transformation. They like his excellent behavior and have helped him be able write well. He is doing some of his exams early and he is going to get really good grades this year. He is now 15 years old and it looks like he will go to college and then university to study history. Your daughter will slowly learn how to read and write. It might turn out that she is dyslexic. She would benefit from fun activities at home like taking photos and making these into postcards. Then she could have a go at writing on the back. She should concentrate on lower case letters. She could play games with 'b' and 'd' with vowels and a few other letters to help her to make words like 'bed', 'bag', 'bob', 'bat', 'bun' and 'bee'.
• United States
13 Jan 11
These are really typical of a 5 year old. The b and d can be confusing even without being dyslexic. How much do you work with her at home? It's tragic that she is developing a hatred of school already. Perhaps you should look into a private education or even home schooling for a couple of years. Don't let the school make you feel like they are your only option - that helps when you make decisions - just knowing you have some choices.
@ebuscat (5949)
• Philippines
13 Jan 11
For me it is a big reason that's why they re not good to learned the only it to tell the teacher about it then the teacher may help your daughter because they convince you child be must in school.
• Sweden
13 Jan 11
Dyslexic people often have a great talant at arts paintings drawings etc etc.
@Anna1983 (64)
• China
13 Jan 11
she is really young to learn something. please make her happy first at shcool, then she will be intersted in playing at school. such as let her make some friends first and play together with them.