I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “He’s like a dog with a bone.”

You know, it’ referring to that person who won’t let up or who keeps beating the same drum over and over.

Sometimes I feel that way.

I won’t say how long I’ve been  beating the “decoding hurdle”  drum,  but I know I’ve been at it a while.

Perhaps it’s an obsession.

Why have I been beating this drum for so long you might ask?

I think it’s very simple.  When kids struggle to get over the decoding hurdle, I see how challenging things are for them.

Some of you may not know what “decoding” is referring to since it’s a bit of a jargon term that is casually tossed around in educational circles like everyone knows what it means.

To explain decoding take the made up word,  fabulationingly.  If you can read it quickly and easily you probably have internalized a pretty good “decoding system.” Most kids by fourth or fifth grade can read words like  that pretty easily.  Many kids can’t.    They get stuck when trying to read the big words.

It’s in the fourth grade range that the text really gets tough.  That’s primarily because it’s in the fourth grade range that the text takes a giant leap forward.  No longer is the text  primarily made up of common words.

No, the text has words that don’t show up too often –  words like philanthropist, fortify, institute, obstinate, materialistic.  If you can’t read these quickly and easily everything gets bogged down.

Each word is a hurdle you have to get over.

It’s exhausting.

To add to the exhaustion, there’s the writing side of things.

This week when I asked young Marcy,  age 9 to write her top problem, she wrote, “My fist prodlem is my reading.”  Then when asked to write a wish, she wrote, “To get a Ponny and all of the Spliz.”  (She was hoping for a pony and all of the supplies, just in case you weren’t sure.)

Takeaway Point

If your kid is having trouble getting over the decoding hurdle, don’t wait around.  If possible, seek help.  Don’t wait for the school’s blessings.  Take action.

Help me with my decoding obsession.