Poor fluency in reading and spelling

Tom was assessed on LASS 8–11 at age 11:5 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 Tom might be dyslexic.

His test results, which are shown in Figures 33a and 33b, 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 Tom ‘hates reading and writing and never reads unless forced to’. He is obsessed with sports and computer games.

Clearly, Tom requires more practice in both reading and writing. As his parents were keen to participate in this, 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. He likes using computers, so DocsPlus could motivate him to write more; the words, phrases and sentence starters would reduce the ‘blank page phobia’, so that he gets started and has some success. A talking word processor or screen reader would enable him to hear his work for reviewing, editing and organising his ideas.

 

Figure 33a. Tom – a case of poor fluency in reading and spelling

Figure 33b. Tom – a case of poor fluency in reading and spelling