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How to Help Your Child Through Reading Struggles

Amber Brandt  |  March 23, 2020

No two children are alike – in their personalities, talents or interests. They also learn differently and at different speeds. But for all the ways students are different, it’s universally common for them to face challenges at school, whether socially, emotionally, or academically.

When it comes specifically to reading, many parents feel concerns over their children’s aptitude. According to Oxford Owl – a children’s learning organization – these parents typically report their children exhibiting characteristics from one of two categories:

  1. Reluctant readers. Their child seems entirely disinterested in reading.
  2. Struggling readers. Their child doesn’t seem to remember how to identify common words from one day to the next.

According to Oxford Owl’s research, the proper encouragement for a reluctant reader is simply to keep things fresh. Continually offer your child a variety of materials that appeal to their interests including comic books, affinity books, or even magazines on a topic they love. Helping a truly struggling reader requires a little more effort. Here are a few tips from educational psychologist Jean Gross CBE:

  1. Keep anxiety levels low. If your child senses you’re feeling tense or concerned about their progress, they’ll soon feel the same way.
  2. Make time to share books. Even ten minutes of reading together each day can have a significant impact on their skills. Make it a ritual you share.
  3. Take turns reading. Let your child lead, volleying back-and-forth between paragraphs or pages.
  4. Build their confidence. Positive affirmation goes a long way.
  5. Use technology. As you’re already aware, there are loads of apps and phonics games your child can play online.

Looking for more resources? Check out this article from Understood.

While the tips mentioned above can help most children build basic reading and comprehension skills, sometimes reading difficulties signal a larger challenge – a reading disability. If you think your child may be dealing with a reading disability, here are 11 signs to watch for and how to find help.