Not sure where to post this but


Active Member
Oh relax! Worse things are going to make you feel like a lousy Mom! :smile: There's a thing out by Leap Frog called "Fridge Phonics" . It's a little box that you put a letter in, push on the letter and it says "a says "a", a say "a", every letter makes a sound a says "a"".

It's a little musical and attention getting. Give him the letters in ABC order so that he'll eventually get the pattern of the alphabet. Leap has lots of things on the market that you can check out. If he's remotely into anything technical, this could really help you out!

Contact the school and set up a meeting to get an IEP in place. You can get much more information on the IEP process on the Special Education forum.

Have you had a non=educational evaluation done by a neuropsychologist? This could be integral for a diagnosis for him. Remember, if he hasn't had a clinical diagnosis for a syndrome, autism, learning disability, etc. and he has any of these, you could be getting services to help him ramp up rather than frustrating yourself and him.

Seriously, don't consider yourself a failure as a Mom. You have the love and sense to see that he's having trouble and THAT alone makes you fabulous!

Good luck!

Sara PA

New Member
The problem may not be with your son but with the school system. He simply may not be ready. The fault likely isn't with you or your child but with the expectations of the education system these days. Not only weren't children expected to know numbers, letters or how to spell their names back in the old days when I was a kid, the education system actively discouraged parents from teaching it. Virtually all kids learned to read in first grade, the exception being those with what we now know of as learning disorders.

If you do any search for statistics you will find that there is no positive correlation between literacy and age at which reading is taught.


Well-Known Member
First, don't feel like a bad parent. All kids learn at different rates!

Also, don't be intimidated by the school telling you he has to write his name by K. Most of the kids in my difficult child's class couldn't - that's what K is all about.

Aside from that, I had to use some creative ways to teach difficult child to count and learn his alphabet (although the alphabet was easier). He loved planes so we would drive to our local airport, park the car, then go over to the a big window a count the small private jets. It worked for him!

For the alphabet, it was a matter of a good "abc" wooden puzzle with pictures of animals behind each letter. Before telling him the name of the letter, I starred with the sound. For example, "L for lamb, M for mouse," not with the name of the letter but the phonetic beginning sound. It's the same way easy child learned her alphabet (much earlier of course!).

Perhaps for his name, and I'm not sure what it is, you could use the shorter version if there is one (it's what I did for difficult child). Get some dried beans and some glue and some construction paper. Write his name and have him trace it with glue and then apply the dried beans - repitition, repitition, repitition.

All these suggestions assume there is learning issue present. Good luck!

I remember the post. I suggested instead of making it seem like something he had to learn, just use it in your day to day talks.

As you are driving. "We stop here at the stop sign. S-T-O-P stop. Oops, better slow down the speed limit is 25 miles an hour. See? Two-five."

At bedtime. "I love you beaner, B-E-A-N-E-R beaner!"

He won't know everything, and that is OK. It is a guideline. Don't think for one second that he will be the only kid in kindergarten who does not have his "list" incomplete. It's ok.

A failure of a parent would not care either way. You are quite the opposite, and should be proud that you have such a fine young man about to start KINDERGARTEN!!



New Member
I echo those who posted that I wouldn't worry too much about your little guy not knowing everything before he gets there. Our difficult child could read half-way through kindergarten, but our easy child showed little or no interest in learning the alphabet, numbers or shapes FOREVER!!! easy child just finished 2nd grade and now is as good a reader as difficult child was at her age - they all get there in their own time.

I taught both kids the alphabet by using the book "Dr. Seuss' ABCs". Big A, little a, AAA, Aunt Annie's Alligator, AAA. Very, very repetitive, but fun and quirky at the same time. We read it every night - along with another, different book so they didn't get TOO bored, until they could at least recognize the letters. Flashcards are a good idea, too.

Again, I wouldn't stress too much (says the woman who over-thinks everything) although I know that's easier said than done, especially with our difficult children and the school districts.

Good luck.


Sara PA

New Member
It stinks that I can't get my 5 y/o to learn his letters and numbers when he should know them. That is why I feel like a failure. I should be able to teach him!
You're wrong on both counts. Many kids aren't ready to learn letters and numbers by the age of 5 and if your son is one of those kids, no one would be able to teach him. And it has nothing to do with intelligence.

Anecdote: My high school sweetheart flunked kindergarten because he couldn't learn them. He ended up being a doctor.


Active Member
The reason I asked about the neuropsychologist is that ODD/ADHD usually exist due to a syndrome of disorder. (sort of like a byproduct)Some of these disorders can have learning disabilities attached. For example: my difficult child 1 has been considered ODD and ADHD since he was 5.5yrs. old. He's extremely well spoken and his IQ tests show him to be EXTREMELY intelligent. This summer I got the neuropsychologist done and he's been confirmed as having Aspergers Syndrome. Well, we pretty much new that BUT here's the best part: I brought along a note that he had written and showed it to the psychologist to read. She couldn't. His writing was that of a 4 year old, there were misspellings, reversed letters, and it was all over the page. The note was only 8 words long on a legal sized piece of paper - he's starting 4th grade in the Fall.

We're being scheduled for testing for read/write disorders.

Again, you're not a failure, you may not know what's going on with how he needs to learn. If he has something that is preventing him, you could be going nuts for nothing. Breathe, breathe, breathe! Or eat chocolate and take it easy. He may surprise you and come in one day, say the ABC's and 123's and then pick up the paper and read you the advice columns. :crazy:
Stranger things have happened!



Active Member
A friend who is a teacher for learning disabled kids gave me an idea when I needed one.

Spread pudding on a jelly roll pan. Have him use his finger to draw out the letters. It has something to do with learning by touch.

Good luck. Please don't let the schools make you feel like a failure,for goodness sake the boy is only 5 years out of the womb.He will learn his alphabet. Too bad the school is putting such pressure on such little kids.

I agree with Sara that the schools expect too much from kindergartener's.


Well-Known Member
For numbers, we used a deck of cards. Plain old playing cards and made it a fun game where I didnt tell the kids they were learning to count or even learning anything at all. We were just playing games. They learned their numbers playing Go Fish and Old Maid and even Poker with us. Sometimes we just played Match the cards.

You could make alphabet card out of cardboard and do the same thing...match the letters. Then start making his name.

I was convinced Cory was not going to know a thing when he got to Kindergarten because all we had worked on prior to that was behavior but by the middle of K, he was reading and working on math at a middle first grade level. I was amazed. He had a great teacher who worked hard with him.


New Member
Does he like to watch TV? My son (easy child, not difficult child) loves to watch videos. His favorites used to be learning ones by First Impressions. We started with the Left Brain and Right Brain ones and the alphabet is part of the Left brain video I think. Anyway, he learned the alphabet before he was two (before he even talked really). He's going to be three next week and he can spell tons of words and write the entire alphabet. I would love to think it's because I taught him so well, but that's not it at all, he just liked to watch that video. He's on to other shows now, but I only let him watch shows with some educational value and I limit the time each day.

I agree with the others though, it's not because of anything you're doing wrong. My difficult child is now 16 and I remember reading to him all the time when he was little, but I don't remember spending time teaching him this stuff, I'm sure he learned it in school, and your son will too!!!


member since 1999
Don't panic - not all kiddos know their letters or numbers at the start of K. I think with- most of my kids' peers, they didn't. thank you did, Wee did, Diva didn't but she caught up quickly.

I used jelly beans. Great tactile experience for counting out numbers that you can match up to the written number, and when they pick the right written number out they get to eat the jelly beans. I also used them as "rewards" for letters too. Actually, I should've taken stock out in jelly bean companies because I even used them for thank you when I was homeschooling him briefly in 7th or 8th grade, LOL.

As far as what the doctor wrote - I think they are *way* jumping the gun. Basically, they're saying that the SD will want to consider placing Beaner in Special Education. More restrictive placement means anything that is not straight regular education. The *most* restrictive placement, aside from in Residential Treatment Center (RTC) or a therapeutic day school where there are no regular ed kids, is a self-contained classroom. Again... I think they are really jumping the gun. The way it *should* work is a step-wise progression: Regular ed, then regular ed with supports in the reg ed setting, then partial pull out progressing to full pull out into a self-contained classroom. Supports can be speech or Occupational Therapist (OT) or PT or an aide, to maybe a period of time in a "resource room" to help him with- skills he's struggling with.

Another thing to consider - Beaner may suddenly blossom academically and socially in K. I was maybe mildly concerned about Diva not reading by K, but she really took off when she was in a group setting with peers. She's now a very gifted kiddo.


Roll With It
Darlin, Cut yourself some slack! This will not be the first time or the last time a 5yo doesn't know his letters/numbers/yaddas and whatchywiggies.

He is 5. 5. Let that sink in.

What is he interested in? What does he like? Does he learn more from seeing and writing/drawing, from sensory stuff using his hands, from hearing, or from a bunch of that kind of stuff.

If he has had help, and now they (these "they"s that think about our kids drive me bats!)want him to do it with-o help, if he still can't, they still have to help him. (I hope this made sense).

My little guy is a delightful guy until you want him to do something with his hands or run around awhile. Something like, oh, writing. It HURTS and his brain doesn't get it. So it makes for rough days at my house. This is my 7 yo little guy.

I have worked with and known people who where so incredibly smart, but writing, &/or reading was a huge challenge. It is doable.

For now just take deep breathes. Betcha you are not the only mom with these worries. My sister in law was freaking because the test to get into their local public Kdg came back with her son flunking it. When we found out what the deal breaker was, nephew refused to acknowledge a picture of someone in a tie as a daddy, or reckognize that ties meant daddies to the school system.

My nephew had NEVER seen his dad in a tie. brother in law hates them and won't wear them. And he is a plumber - a really good one! School took its silly rules away and my nephew went to school with his friends.




Roll With It
Oh - by the way, nephew of the no-ties graduated high school, is taking classes in criminal justice and has already taken the first steps to get into the police academy. An all over good kid.

So our each of our kids.



Active Member
Just wanted to address your question about what this means. I think it means that Beaner would do better in a sp. ed. class that has a smaller number of students and a higher number of teachers that will focus on his behavior while still teaching him academics. And he needs this because of his behavior problems. You are going to want to post this in the sp. ed. forum and get their help.

"Beaner is at high risk for behavioral problems in the school environment. Officials at his SD will want to consider options as far as more restrictive placements in association with behavioral concerns, possibly including but not limited to placement in a small self contained classroom."

Don't worry about the letters, numbers, and writing his name. Most kids going into Kindergarten don't know this.

I taught difficult child 1 how to read because I'm sure his thinking is so weird that if I didn't he'd have a hard time learning at school. Besides he was pooping his pants so much I didn't think he was ready for kindergarten. It was a nightmare. He learns much better from someone besides me. Somehow he did learn to read and still does read very well compared to his classmates. What I did was going over and over and over it. 'Lets jump on one leg and count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5' 'Count the fence posts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5' 'count somersaults 1, 2, 3, 4, 5'

Again I wouldn't worry about it to much. He isn't going to be the only kid there not able to count or write his name. And if the school is making you feel awful about it then shame on them.


Active Member
I agree with the others, don't feel badly about yourself that he isn't picking up his alphabet etc. Every kid does learn at a different rate. My difficult child is now 14, and he has no learning disabilities at all. He did not read until the summer between grade 2-3. My daughter picked up a bit before kindergarten but had most of it down pat by the end of her Kindergarten year. See, everyone is different. My difficult child is now the most avid reader. His reading level tests this year at end of grade 8 showed he is reading at a post-secondary level (university level). So he took longer to get it, but he is now far beyond the reading abilities of his peers.
Simple tactics, if he asks for an apple, say sure! Let's get the apple ... do you know apple stars with A? Make the A sound when saying apple. Next time he asks for an apple, say sure, do you remember what apple starts with? Remind him if needed, A. Ask if he remembers what a sounds like, using the word apple as a example. Little things like that kick in over time. It also helps avoid frustration which can lead to resistance if it feels like a chore or he feels he should know something and he can't figure it out yet. Praise him each time he pronounces the A sound properly or whatever. If he cant' remember, just remind him, get him to repeat, again a "way to go, you remembered A".

Good luck, don't beat yourself up! He'll get it!


Active Member
"A grace period of two months"? It still sounds too pushy, to me.

OK, I've got hyperlexic kids, but I also helped raise my sister's kids at this age. What worked - ANYTHING by Leap Pad. We actually found the Phonics Desk worked better AFTER difficult child 3 was reading whole words - different kids learn in different ways. The Phonics Desk helped difficult child 3 go back and learn the Phonics side of reading. But if they're not ready, they're not ready. Give him the skills he needs now, that he can adapt further later on.

Let him use the computer, under supervision. Get him into mouse skills and learning to recognise/read the menu bar. One of the first words difficult child 3 could read was "quit".

We also played games with words and letters we saw while driving. We'd also go for walks and read the numbers on the letterboxes. I'd get difficult child 3 to feel the numbers as well. Then he would run on ahead to the next letterbox, waiting for me to catch up.

easy child 2/difficult child 2 was an exceptionally gifted 4 year old. She was four and a half when she started K, I had to get special permission at high government level. She was following me around the house with blackboard and chalk, wanting to play hangman, but she had NO idea how to spell. Well, not much idea. She'd been writing her own name since 2, but hadn't made a lot of progress beyond that. She knew her numbers to 9, probably double-digit numbers, but otherwise - nada. She WAS doing basic maths with the low numbers. But she started school straight into a K/1 class, not the straight K. And she picked up reading very fast, once she was there.

I tried the Glenn Doman "Teach Your Baby To Read" method with easy child & easy child 2/difficult child 2 with no benefit. easy child started school at four and three quarters, was reading within weeks. difficult child 1 was reading by age 5 and a half, because he started K at age 5.

As Sara said, sometimes they're just not ready - bright kid or not. difficult child 3 was reading several years before starting school, but didn't have the comprehension to go with it. His pre-school teachers would get him to read the roll, to help him begin to see the relationship between the words on the page and the child in the room with that name.

Something I did for difficult child 3 that you could try - I made little books for him out of a sheet of paper. You fold it, then fold again, and again, each time in half. Then staple down one side, stickytape over the staples and cut the pages open. Then on each page, draw one thing and write the word under it. Try to work with words he needs to read ('stop', for example; and his name) and if he rips it up or loses it, it's no big deal, you can easily make another one.

But maybe the best thing you could do is simply read books to him. Give him a love of books and reading and this will set him up. Or get him to watch his favourite DVD, but with subtitles on. Only do this where the subtitles are word-for-word the same as the spoken text.

It all helps. But don't sweat it - I think the school is being a bit overoptimistic on this.


Sara PA

New Member
Two months? Do you know they don't teach reading in some countries -- the Scandinavian countries and some Eastern European ones -- until the children are seven. Reading readiness, as we call it, starts older too. Those countries have high literacy rates. In studies controlled for affluence of the countries, there was some adjusting of the difference, but the end result is regardless of when a child learns to read, any benefits or drawbacks are erased by the time the child is nine.

I think what happens when people try to teach kids to read (which is what teaching letters is) young is that they start so young and keep at it so diligently that someone is trying to teach the child when the child is finally ready. Truth be told, until that time, it's all wasted effort on the teacher's part.
That's right! And they will accomodate him.

Now keep yourself stress free, and enjoy him entering Kindergarten as what is was supposed to be: a rite of passage.


Well-Known Member
My dad made me learn to tie my shoelaces with my broken wrist in a cast the week or so before I was allowed to go to Kindergarten. I was terrified if I didn't learn to do it I couldn't go. He wouldn't let me wear my buckle shoes, I just had to learn to tie my shoes. Period.

Kindergarten children learn their numbers and letters at school if they don't know them beforehand. Heck, these days many of them learn them in first grade. Give everyone a break and do your best not to sweat it. I think you will both be happier if this year starts as stress free as possible. You don't want to make school be about your worrying that he is not ready. (Even if it is only natural! :wink: )