Did your child struggle when learning to read? If so, how did you help them?

Did your child struggle when learning to read? If so, how did you help them? If not, what do you attribute his/her success to?

Chris Williams,

What a great question! If a child cannot read well, then their world becomes much smaller. It’s more than reading books or not reading books. You need to know how to read to look for jobs, fill out a job application, and keep a job. There are many other places where reading skills are crucial.

The last year I taught school, I got to help teach reading to fourth graders. There were tested at the beginning of the year, and many of them were reading at a pre-kindergarten level. Think of what their futures would be.

You meet these children wherever they are. If they are a beginning reader, then you’re starting with phonics, that certain letters have certain sounds. Reading builds on previous skills learned, so if they don’t know the very basics, then whatever you teach them on top of that sounds like nonsense to them. Have your child tested to see where they are and what the problems may be.

Your child may be dyslexic, which means they are not seeing the same squiggles on the page that you see. Somewhere between the eyes and the brain, it’s being distorted. There are ways to help these kids learn, who often have nothing wrong with their intelligence, but are classified as being “slow” because of their difficulties in reading.

Another problem that comes up is that the three best ways to learn anything are repetition, repetition, and (you guessed it!) repetition. The more you read, the better you get at it. Read with your child. You read a page, then he or she reads a page. See if they comprehended what they just read after a paragraph by asking questions about it and discussing it together. Make this an enjoyable time together.

Your child will also be looking to see if you read, so be sure to get engrossed in some kind of book that you enjoy. Look for things to read. Magazines, comic books, cereal boxes, there are words everywhere. Turn off the television when you read. Find out what genre of books your child likes and look for books that are on his or her level. If it’s too easy, they get bored. If it’s too hard, they get too frustrated. There’s a sweet spot in the middle, and there are libraries full of books in most communities.

How wise of you to ask this question. I pray that things go well for you and for your child.

Julie Dickson Sanocki

A lot of children struggle to read. There are many reasons for this. Learning disabilities are quite rare and if your child isn’t reading at 5, it is most likely not something to be concerned about. Unless his or her teacher has concerns I would not worry too much. Many children aren’t ready to read until 6 or even later.

Among my own children and my nieces and nephews, one was reading independently at 4 and another not until 8. My own son hates sitting still to read books and is just starting to read now at 6.

The best way to help your child read is to read to them and with them. There is nothing wrong with screens within reason, but choose educational shows and videos as often as possible.

Also, be open to various types of print. Reading doesn’t have to be sitting down with a book. There are tons of board games, computer games, and other ways to incorporate reading into your child’s life.

Make a grocery list using very simple words and let him read it to find the items.

Create a scavenger hunt in your home and list a few simple words for her to look for (cat, red,hat, pot… words in a consonant-vowel-consonant pattern are the easiest to start with)

Make a word-a-day game and every day pick a new word. Look for it out in the neighborhood, listen for it in conversation.

Let your child spray whipped cream into a plate and write in it with his finger. Talk about the letters and letter sounds while he writes

reading should be fun. Go to the library and let your child find books that she likes even if you think they look stupid. Surround her with really easy books, really had books, and books that are right at her level. Books on astronauts and dinosaurs and princess and aliens and baseball and animals and everything else.

Harjeet Dhillon,

Lucky for me, my children learned how to read at a good age, one quicker than the other.

To attribute to their success, here is what I did:

  • Read books to them during the day and before bedtime and I would follow with my finger so they could follow with their eyes

  • Have them read to me

  • Interactive reading where I would ask questions

  • A picture dictionary for them to find the page of the word I would give them…then they would spell it, tell me what it means and use it in a sentence

  • I used to read alone and they would see

  • I used Learn to Read with Phonics, Learn Mathematics for my oldest and it was superb!

  • In conversation I would talk to them using big words and let them learn what they mean. As we know reading, is word recognition and once you can read fluently your brain will just make the sentences. Exposing them to all sorts of words was to increase their written and spoken vocabulary.

Janine Pedercam,

Yes, one of my boys struggled with reading and it became a problem when he was aged 7.

I helped him everyday for two years. We had special reading books borrowed from the school to use. It was hard work and he never became an excellent reader but he has continually pushed himself to improve.

He is 38 now, in a very good job as a digital artist and is doing well. His success in improving his reading, as with other things in his life, is his own hard work.

I did everything I could to help him, always checked his homework and we always did all the reading and spelling the teacher set. It’s not worth neglecting homework and if the child does not have any they need to read for 10 mins every night and increase that by 10 mins every year. Of course some children will read more because they love reading but for those who struggle, 10 mins will make a different.

But, in the end you can’t help someone unless they want to help themselves.

Monika Da Luz,

Neither of mine did, but I can not take responsibility for their intellectual ability, even if I noticed and did things to encourage or help. Their abilities that they utilized and worked, that was their doing, not mine.

Read to them, rather than always allowing tv time. I placed index cards all around the house in order for them to associate words with the visual concepts of “things”. Entertainment toys can be learning tools as well.

You could also test for dyslexia, I guess. Mine were ok, so it wasn’t something I had to consider.

Sandi Polasek,

Yep my child struggled. We practiced a lot/I had to be really REALLY patient/I did what his teacher suggested/I also read to him a lot. When kiddos struggle to learn anything new it’s all about patience/modeling/practicing.

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