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Dr. Joanne Meier

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne every week as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Is it ever too early to worry?

September 26, 2007

We get lots of questions through our Ask the Expert service. Occasionally I'll post a question here in hopes of reaching a wider audience. Feel free to chime in with your own additions to my answer! If you're like me, you'll find yourself wanting to write a dissertation for each one.

My 6 year old daughter is in first grade now. She seems to excel in math, but struggles to read even "sight words." I still struggle with reading comprehension. Is it too early for this school year to seek help/testing for her now, in September? Thank you for your reply.

My answer:
You're smart to trust your instincts about your child. For her sake, stay on top of her progress and demand that she get as much help as she needs. These first few years of school are critical for developing the reading skills she'll need throughout her lifetime.

It's never too early to talk with your daughter's teacher about her progress, extra support the school can provide, and if needed, the possibility of being referred for testing. The Families section of our website has several good articles that might be of interest to you.

These include articles such as:
• Knowing when your child is struggling in school
• Getting extra help through tutoring
• Standing up for your child
• Getting extra help through special education

So, what other topics would you include in your answer? My thoughts ranged from heritability of learning disabilities, response to intervention, the role of sight words in beginning reading...all great topics!


How should the parent respond if the teacher says this: "Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Let's watch and see how she does through the holidays. I'm betting she'll catch on by then."

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"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx