Poor fluency in reading and spelling

Background

Gavin was assessed on LASS 11-15 at age 13 years 5 months because of underperformance in school. His teachers felt that he was a bright boy who had a good grasp of concepts but was weak at using text-based resource materials and in his written work did not come up to expected standards. A query had been made regarding whether Gavin might be dyslexic, although he was not on the SEN register. His results are shown in Figure 11. 

Interpretation of LASS 11-15 results

Gavin’s results reveal no evidence of dyslexia, but Segments, Sentence Reading and Spelling are below expected levels for such a bright boy. Further investigation suggested that the most probable cause was lack of reading and writing experience, resulting in poor fluency and lack of automaticity of literacy skills. His parents reported that Gavin ‘Hates reading and writing and never reads unless forced to’. He was obsessed with sports and computer games.

Figure 11. Gavin – a case of poor fluency in reading and spelling. 

Educational recommendations

Clearly, Gavin requires more practice in both reading and writing. His parents were keen to participate in this, so they were encouraged to read with him every evening (something they had not done since he was seven), and also to support him in regular writing activities at home using a word processor. Gavin likes computers, so using a computer with WriteOnline could motivate him to write more; the words, phrases and sentence starters would reduce the ‘blank page phobia’, so that he gets started and experiences some success. A talking word processor or screen reader (such as textHELP! Read&Write 9 or ClaroRead) would enable him to hear his work for reviewing, editing and organising his ideas.