May has dyslexia, and it makes schoolwork very difficult for her. She has a high IQ, and speaking to her, you decide that she is smart, mature, and very logical for an 11 year old. Most people who meet her think she is considerably older. However, put a piece of paper in front of her to read, or ask her to write something, and it is a huge struggle. I hired a tutor for May beginning the summer after kindergarten. May received resource help (special ed) in the public school starting in 2nd grade through 4th grade. They tried, but progress was slow, and May's self-esteem was diminishing, more quickly as she grew older. By late 4th grade, I knew something had to change.
I asked and eventually begged to have May admitted to a private Christian school for 5th grade. Her homeroom teacher had worked with dyslexic students before and was determined to help May learn. The principal was concerned about whether the school could meet May's needs, but we finally won him over. May thrived! She made at least two years progress in reading in just nine months. She was accepted by the other students and was no longer singled out as one of the "special" kids who couldn't keep up. Accommodations were made for some assignments, mainly to assess learning orally instead of through written tests, but she did 5th grade work. Only spelling expectations were reduced; she learned all other subjects at grade level.
Now May is in 6th grade, and her 5th grade teacher moved up to become her 6th grade homeroom teacher. I can't tell you how AWESOME this is! A new 5th grade teacher was hired and she is now "learning" how to teach May. The new 5th grade teacher teaches reading and language arts to the 5th and 6th grade classes, while the 6th grade teacher teaches math, science, social studies, and Bible to these two grades.
Here is where the current frustration sets in... Vocabulary! The 6th grade has a vocabulary book with 20 new vocabulary words for each two week period. I'm impressed by the level of the word lists, the first of which included one word I had never heard of! Do you know what a repast is?
The method of learning for this teacher is to have the students write each word, pronunciation, part of speech, definition, and synonyms on a 3x5 index card. I wrote to her and met with her and explained that this would not help May learn the words. First of all, it would take her more than 30 minutes to create one index card (copying is VERY difficult). Secondly, May would have no more idea what was on the index card than what was in the book, because she CAN'T READ IT. Third, she couldn't recognize what the word is because she never heard it, and since she can't read it.... Are you catching on? I tried to explain to the teacher that May could learn these words; in fact, she already knows some of them, as her vocabulary is well above grade level. May also has an amazing memory. But I also told her teacher that May needed to learn the words by listening to them and hearing the words and the definitions.
Well, today was the first day of the third word list. May is excused from creating index cards, but she has been asked to TYPE all of the above information. Aargh!!! She typed up three of them and had no idea what the words even were! I guess I need to talk to the teacher again.