Teaching Students with LD and ADHD

Repeating 2nd grade

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Joined: Jan 17, 2008
Posts: 9
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Posted Feb 01, 2008 at 10:41:31 AM
Subject: Repeating 2nd grade

We're wondering if our 7 y.o. b/g twins should repeat second grade. Both have IEPs for speech and reading. Both have received appropriate remediation since age 3. Both are a solid average to slightly above in intelligence, according to standardized tests. Our son was just declared LD for reading. Both are just beginning to sound out words, so they are quite behind most of their classmates. Both are socially and developmentally immature, though happy, healthy, creative and outgoing.

Most experts say don't repeat. But the research they cite seems to assume that the child merely repeats a grade and nothing else is done differently. What if the child repeats a grade AND gets remediation specific to their needs. Intuitively, logically, doesn't it make sense that repeating a grade buys time for remediation to help. And assuming the remediation helps, isn't it reasonable to assume the child will do better when they advance to the next grade? It's interesting that most parents who opt for repeating don't regret the decision.


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Joined Oct 03, 2007
Posts: 28

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Posted:Feb 03, 2008 2:45:52 PM

Hi bellcom:
I looked into this issue for my daughter. It is a tough one. Like the experts say, I did not find any studies that pointed to benefits from retention. The best I found was some studies that found a short term benefit. However the benefit did not last. I think that part of the problem is that time is not always the answer. My daughter had trouble learning how to read. She learned nothing for a whole year. Then she finally was matched with a great reading specialist who got her up to grade level in a matter of months--It was quality not quantity that mattered. The other big issue is psychological. Retention can have a significant psychological affect on a child. I read some studies that showed how children feared retention. It is hard for kids to see their friends move on and them stay behind. This is one of the main reasons I did not retain my daughter. I think psychology is half the battle when you are already dealing with a child who is realizing he/she is struggling to keep up. I am very glad I did not retain my daughter since I can see how her feelings about her own work and capabilities are so important. She is improving every month. That said, I think it is a very personal issue, and only you know your kids. Maybe you can talk to them about it to see what they may think (without letting them make the decision--just to let you get a sense of where they stand) Good luck.

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Joined Feb 11, 2008
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Posted:Feb 11, 2008 3:12:06 PM

Hi Bellcom-
This was the most agonizing decisions I ever had to make. My daughter "hit the wall" in third grade, she was barely reading at a 1st grade level. the school tried all there reading programs, read with her one on one.....it just was'nt happening. I took matters into my own hands and had her screened at our local dyslexic clinic and lots of the telltale signs were there. We started an OG tutoring program but it was obvious she was behind and as the teacher said in 3rd grade you are still "learning to read" but in 4th grade you are "reading to learn". So we repeated 3rd grade-but believe me I read everything, talked to everyone and the general consensus is not to do this. But it worked for us-her reading really blossomed, it did'nt hurt to repeat some math concepts over, and she had a teacher who knew her well and challenged her. so when it came time to go to 4th grade she had a very solid foundation rather than struggling and struggling. This is a very personal decision and so difficult-every child is so different. I wish you luck!

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Rod Everson
Joined May 20, 2007
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Posted:Feb 18, 2008 12:23:16 AM

I would lean toward retention because of the delay in their development, as well as the fact that they are lagging in reading skill as well.

I saw your other post on vision therapy. I would see that both kids went through vision therapy if they need it and then find someone to make sure that they have the proper reading skills in place. But do the vision side first, as this is the key to getting it all done efficiently.

It's quite possible then that what you want to happen (seeing both kids make good gains the second time around) will happen, because their vision skills will be in place, they will understand how reading works, they will be more mature and, hopefully, will get more out of second grade.

Retention is a bad idea when no plans are made to change the experience. Vision therapy can be the difference.

I work extensively with kids who've gone through vision therapy (I teach a phonics curriculum in private practice) and most of the kids are easy to work with once their vision skills are in place. However, some also need the skills I teach to be explicitly taught to them as well.

I've got a website, OnTrack Reading , where you can get some added insight into vision therapy, as I'm a strong advocate and have written a lot about it on the site. There's also a lot of information on the phonics curriculum that I use which you might find useful. But do pursue the vision therapy.

Rod Everson

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Joined Feb 22, 2008
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Posted:Feb 22, 2008 11:28:40 AM

I have had very good outcomes when my younger students with IEPs have been retained, as long as the decision was made with the full support of the parents. I absolutely agree that repeating a year of schooling without planning specialized instruction to meet the specific challenges of your kids would not be helpful, but with your IEP team working in collaboration with your children’s teacher/s for next year, you and your kids are likely to have a positive experience. I have found that, with the accelerated pacing of instruction needed to cover all the standards expected to be mastered in the early grades, taking steps for your struggling learners to have a more solid foundation in their academic fundamentals could help them find more success.

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