Judging troubled readers Ask the Experts

September 02, 1998

Larry Silver, a clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and in private practice in Rockville, answers two questions he often hears from parents.

jTC Question: My son is in second grade and still not reading well. He has to struggle to get many words and does not always understand what he has read. Yet, if I read to him, he enjoys it and understands everything. Should I be concerned?

Response: By second grade, most students are reading with more ease than your son. I would discuss your concern with his teacher. If the teacher shares your concern, meet with the principal to request that someone evaluate him to see if he has a reading problem.

Question: My 5-year-old still gets his letters mixed up. He writes his B's backward and can't recognize some of his letters. What shall I do?

Response: It is not unusual for some children to confuse letters and reverse some letters until about age 6. I would wait and watch. If these problems continue at age 6, discuss your concerns with his teacher. He might need to be evaluated to clarify why the problem did not go away with maturation.

Pub Date: 9/02/98

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