Helping 13 year old with ADHD improve reading

My husband who has been an educator for 30 years and I have four children. Our oldest son is 13 and in 8th grade. In third grade we discovered that he had (has) ADHD. He was doing rather poorly in areas that required reading. Our school system has elected to not teach phonics. My son is a bright child - who by the way is on the Honor Roll. I have requested that he be tested to find the level at which he can currently read. I am having a hard time getting the system to do this. What should be my next step? Where should I look now?

I am very capable of teaching him myself - however, I need to find resources for good books (publications) for us to work with (as a guideline). My son is "brainy" and gets very frustrated is he doesn't do "A" work. I try to diffuse some of his frustrations - abut I'm not getting through. I don't want him to get to the point where he'll stop reading and give up. If you can give me any new ideas, I'd greatly appreciate it.


Your son is very fortunate to have your support. The dedication you have for finding a way to help him is admirable.

There are numerous assessments that can be used in defining a child's reading level. I am disheartened to hear that you are not receiving the cooperation you desire from your son's school. I would recommend that you approach them again, specifically his reading and language arts teachers, and explain your concerns and the direction that you would like to head in with the information that such testing would produce. The teacher may refer you to another staff member in the school, such as a resource specialist, to set up a testing situation. Another alternative may be for your husband to do the testing himself. While I would hope that the school would cooperate with you from the beginning, doing the job yourself may be what it takes to get the information that you seek.

Do you have a basic idea of where his reading skills are? Has he participated in any standardized tests recently? Even if you can closely estimate his ability level you will be able to help him. Does your school district have any sort of homeschooling support program? Some established homeschooling programs have placement tests that you could take advantage of if you were to participate in a homeschooling supplemental program to your son's regular schedule.

Educational supply stores in your area should carry a variety of workbooks and related materials which you might be able to use in teaching your son. Many workbooks are skill-based, which would allow you to help your son review skills he has learned already, and introduce skills that he hasn't learned. In addition to practicing reading, learning and applying specific reading skills will help to fill in the gaps he may have experienced in the past. Because he is successful in school, he obviously has some strategies in place. Perhaps he just needs to refine or review his reading schools.

Many parents have purchased reading programs to use at home with their kids. If you are interested in making this kind of investment, try asking friends for testimonials on the products available. One of those programs may be just what your child needs to sharpen his reading skills.

If you attempt any or all of the above and get little response, you may want to look at a private assessment of your child's reading. Some parents look to outside sources to support their child's school curriculum and have found success with private educational services. Ideally, your school should be able to meet your child's needs as well as your requests, but there are always other resources available.

Good luck in your endeavor. I sincerely hope that you get the support and assistance from your child's school that you need in order to give him the ideal educational experience. Please write again with an update on your child's progress.

Need Advice?
Get answers from iVillage experts and other moms just like you!
Question Details
  1. Pick a subject:
Connect with 1,039,394 members just like you
Share your knowledge, ask questions.