Is your child avoiding reading aloud? Do they struggle with decoding words, or are they unable to recognize letters? If so, you may have a struggling reader.
As you know, reading is a foundational skill that is usually mastered by about 4th grade. Around that time, children stop learning to read and start learning to learn.
First, don't panic.
There are many reasons why a child might be struggling. Don't jump to the conclusion that something is wrong. (If by the end of second grade, you see significant delays, it is recommended that they are tested for learning disabilities.) Once you have ruled out any types of disabilities or disorders, there are several ways you can help your child succeed.
If they have completed the Veritas phonics program Phonics Museum and are still not reading, go back to the basics. Do they recognize letters? Do they know the basic sounds of all consonants? Short vowels? Long vowels? Find their problem area and begin there. If you want to use the Phonics Museum app, there is a helpful placement test to take so that you don’t have to start at the very beginning.
You don’t need the Phonics app to play phonics games, however. Use reading ladders. Write words with the same vowel but a different consonant on flashcards and go through them with your child. See how fast you can go! This provides the child with practice with repetition.
Next, provide support.
If what they are reading is too difficult for them, step down a level. Don’t go too far down, though. Too easy, and they will feel belittled. Too difficult, and they will feel discouraged. Find the sweet spot.
If they have reading for class that is too difficult, read together as you work on the side to build up their reading muscles. Reread the book they are reading for fluency. Build confidence in them by setting them up for success. Often reading aloud is intimidating for a struggling reader. Let them practice reading aloud to a pet so they can practice the skill without stressing over making a mistake. Many parents have opted for audiobooks for classes like Omnibus, with a lot of required reading. Because listening to books takes longer than reading them to yourself, make sure to plan it out. This could mean getting the reading done during a long car ride or while doing chores. It’s also important to have the book to reference in case your child needs to go back to answer questions.
Make reading fun!
Not every book has to be a living book. Sometimes the purpose of a book is to get your child excited about reading. My son loves nonfiction books about animals and nature. So I get lots of National Geographic easy readers from the library. On the other hand, my daughter is into horses and goes from one series to the next about girls riding horses.
You can’t get out of the required reading for online classes, so why not make that fun, too? Have a literary party or a tea time to discuss books read for class. Or use the time to practice reading those books aloud together.
Give them time and read aloud to them
Hearing you read will open up their vocabulary and they won’t miss out on all the classic books many kids read at certain ages. Sometimes kid’s brains just take a little more time than others and patiently waiting for reading to click while reading aloud is immensely helpful.
Probably the most important thing you can do is encourage them and build confidence. Don't give up. As their parent, you are their biggest advocate. Investing the time into their education now will benefit both you and your child later on.
Thanks for subscribing!