Of the Three R’s, it can be argued that reading is the most important. When a child struggles with reading, it can affect all of their schoolwork negatively. Additionally, if the struggle goes on long enough, it can have a direct impact on their self-esteem. The current trend of teaching preschoolers and kindergartners to read has created an epidemic of struggling readers. What’s a parent to do? Step one is to stay calm. There are ways you can help your child at home.
4 Outside Of The Box ideas For Children Struggling With Reading:
1. Read together. It sounds simple. It is simple. Read aloud to your child. Take turns reading to each other. Have time each day where everyone in the family is silently reading. Create a special reading nook for your child. Make it a place where they can get comfortable and escape into their book.Use your public library for its original purpose – a place to borrow books. Make your library visits a standing, twice-a-month date with your child. The value you place on books in your own home will have a direct impact on how much your child learns to value books. Start a tradition of giving a special book to your child on each birthday or for a certain holiday. Let them know that these gifts will be the beginning of their own library when they’re grown.
2. Think outside the book. For children who have difficulties with spelling and/or recognizing parts of speech, using colors to mark various categories can be a powerful tool. You can create your own system or purchase one. Another way to reinforce sounds, letters and spelling is to add a sensory aspect to learning. Have your child create letters from chenille stems, play-doh, on a tray covered with shaving cream or anything else you can think of that introduces a new dimension to reading. Get a set of magnetic letters (or words with older kids) and keep them on the fridge. Encourage your child to leave you messages.
3. Practice listening. Children who do not read fluently benefit greatly by being read to by a fluent reader. Find age-appropriate books for family “read-alouds”. When possible, get your child the audio version and have them read along in their book as they listen to the book. This will help them absorb what fluent reading sounds like and how it relates to the words on the page. Many public libraries have large collections of audiobooks available for download.
4. Don’t go it alone. Trust your instincts. If you feel that your child’s difficulties may be caused by a learning disability, talk to their teacher and your pediatrician about testing. Whether your child has a learning disability or not, look into the wide range of special education resources both online and in your town. One-on-one tutoring or an online class might prove to be a solution.
Together, you and your child will learn to capitalize on your strengths and overcome the obstacles. You are your child’s best advocate. Stay creative and ready to try new approaches. And, don’t forget to enjoy the ride. Your efforts now are a powerful example for your child to see – you’re teaching them to never give up.