Family Matters Dr. Larry Larsen
---- — One of our three children has a serious reading problem. She has been called dyslexic. The problem has surfaced this year because her teacher in the fifth grade has children read passages aloud in class. She is terribly embarrassed since she is about two or more years behind her peers. She reads slowly, word for word, and as quietly as she can. She is having trouble going to school because of this. She is frightened of being singled out. Is it absolutely necessary for her to be put through this?
You are talking to the wrong person. Why haven’t you been in immediate touch with the teacher?
If the teacher is resistant, go to the principal. If the principal doesn’t solve the problem, go to the superintendent of schools. Surely your daughter is receiving special help for her reading, and, if so, has a plan which certainly does not include reading aloud in front of her peers.
If a plan is in place, speak with the head of special education in your district. If it isn’t, what are you waiting for?
In my opinion, such a class room requirement is regressive, insensitive, and simply wrong. Who among us cannot remember the child who was asked to read, and we suffered with them as they struggled in front of the class. Maybe that person was you, and it still hurts. A teacher who is so out of touch about how a child feels in such situations should not employed for long.
By the way, the term “dyslexia” may have gone out of fashion. I do not hesitate to use it and to acknowledge the pain this disability causes in a young life.
Dr. Larry Larsen is an Andover psychologist. Email him at lrryllrsn@CS.com.