About 10 million children in the US have difficulties learning to read. But the good news is, when learning difficulties are diagnosed early, 90% to 95% of these children can fully recover.
Parents and caregivers who continuously monitor how children are doing can easily diagnose reading difficulties. Kids learn at different paces, but most usually read well by the end of the third grade.
Always be on the lookout for slight changes that indicate improvement in reading, such as enhanced concentration, eye contact, being relaxed while reading, or smiling. But if a kid consistently fails to achieve several reading milestones, it’s time to have them evaluated.
To prevent your child from falling behind in reading, apply these tips:
Build Their Confidence
Most struggling readers, especially those in grade 1 and beyond, already know they have challenges. They often feel frustrated and defeated. One of the first things to do is build your child’s confidence.
Enhanced confidence helps the child separate the reading challenge from themself. They see it as something to overcome, not a permanent part of them. Focus on what the child is excelling in and praise them for it.
Also, offer a relaxed, stress-free environment as it can encourage reading. Enjoying a book enhances fluency, which minimizes anxiety and stress. Eliminate time-limits, deadlines, or assessment-related goals linked to reading. This provides a relaxing environment that helps your child read for fun.
Make Reading Fun
You can use humour to get children to enjoy reading. Let your child read aloud, and if possible, record themselves as they read. Make silly gestures, voices, and faces.
Jokes often make children relaxed and comfortable, creating the right environment for learning. Jokes are funny, and the stories they contain create interest and build the skills children need to read better.
Read with your child and try to enjoy reading even when it feels like a chore and your child finds it difficult. Your child can tell when you’re bored or distracted, and this makes them lose focus.
Choose Books Wisely
There are many amazing books for children, perhaps you haven’t found the right one yet. Select books your child likes, preferably by a favorite author. If your child has no preferences, choose from a list of popular books.
Avoid skipping tough words or purposefully selecting books that are easy to read. Children love challenges, and they get excited when they overcome them. Spare some time to help your child practice reading.
Visit the nearest library and consult the librarian on the books your child is likely to enjoy. You can also use the web to find tools that promote online reading programs for kids.
Focus on Their Interests
Scheduled reading is neither interesting nor fun. Identify your child’s interests and read books on the subject. Not every child finds it easy to read about something they have no interest in.
Use your child’s interests to make reading fun, help them read for pleasure. Let your child choose a topic they love and you’ll be surprised to see them lose themselves in a book. Also, use a variety of materials and books such as comics, poems, and chapter books. Begin with shorter text lengths then progress to longer ones.
There’s no quick fix for struggling readers. Carefully monitor your child at home and follow up with the teacher to ensure they get enough attention. Remember, fluency is more about quality than quantity. Sometimes all your child needs are plenty of support and some tutoring.
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