Do you have a struggling reader?
I know how hard it is to watch your child struggle and wish there was some way you could help them.
When I realized that one of our children was not catching on to reading like our other children I looked for ways to help her.
We have tried many, many things over the past year. Some of them helped and others fell flat.
While I understand that all kids are different, I am going to share with you some of the things that have made the most impact to her reading skills.
Some of these were done out of common sense and a little desperation. The rest are things I have gleaned from around the web over time.
In the case of the latter, I will give a brief overview, how it worked for us and give you the link to check out for yourself. I believe in paying credit where credit is due.
Also, many of these ideas come from teachers or former teachers so they are tried-and-true techniques.
Get your child tested to rule out learning disabilities.
This one is what I consider “common sense” but it may not be so obvious in the beginning. It wasn’t until the end of 2nd grade that I knew we were dealing with something much bigger than we had originally thought.
My advice to you is if you have the slightest inkling that your child may have a learning disability, see a specialist and get them evaluated. It will drastically change how you approach helping your child.
Play word games together.
Some fun things we do together to practice word recognition and spelling are play scrabble, do word searches and crossword puzzles together.
Too often, after our daughter gets home from school the last thing she wants to do is read. I really needed ways to encourage her to work on her skills so I started playing little word games with her while I waited for dinner to finish cooking.
Most of the time, after completing a puzzle her reading confidence is boosted and she is happy to sit down and do her nightly reading.
Read, read and read some more.
We have all heard the advice that reading is the only way to build strong readers. It’s true with anything, the more you practice they better you get at it. This applies to reading as well.
Read to your child, listen to them read, have them read to the pets or a neighbor or on face time with a grandparent. You get the idea.
I also have to admit something…I am a total children’s book snob. In a perfect world my children would only read fantastic classic children’s literature and they would love it.
Sadly, there is no such thing as a perfect world. To get children to read often and for longer periods of time they have to be interested in the content!
The post Let Kids Read What They Want from Vicki at Babies to Bookworms really resonated with me a couple weeks ago when I was once again annoyed with my daughters choice in books.
I won’t give you the details but it puts things into perspective and gave me a little room to loosen my grip.
That being said, sometimes the book she wants to read is way above her level so I really appreciated this list of High Interest Low Readability Books from This Reading Mama.
Practice reading comprehension as well.
When a struggling reader is using all their brain power to decode words they often don’t actually remember what they read. That is the case with our daughter, she can’t remember well because she is trying so hard to read.
Reading comprehension is a learned skill as well and gets better with practice. For a long time I would just buy reading comprehension workbooks. It was like pulling teeth to get her to do any of that!
Then I came across the article How to Help Kids Remember What They Read by Anna at The Measured Mom. She gives a really simple technique to help parents work on reading comprehension with their children.
This has made a HUGE difference to our reading time give it a try!
Find a tutor if possible.
We are very blessed to be living in a county that is able to provide children with afterschool tutoring hours for free. It is set up as an afterschool program by invitation only. It made a world of difference once she was sitting down with an literacy interventionist a few days a week.
If your school system doesn’t offer such a program I highly recommend hiring a private tutor. I know it isn’t cheap or even feasible for everyone but it really will help your struggling reader. Perhaps if you’re wanting tutoring services to be available to as many children as possible (who doesn’t want better education for our new generations?!) you could look into becoming a tutor yourself by looking into franchised services such as Huntington Learning Centers or others, visit their website to learn more in how you can become a private tutor yourself!
These things are what has helped our struggling reader the most. We have tried other things like apps and computer programs (several actually) and they just didn’t click for her.
Personally, I think they were just too distracting for her to concentrate on reading and spelling. That is why I didn’t recommend any techy helps. They just didn’t work for us. I won’t recommend anything that didn’t help the way it was intended.
As always, I hope this was helpful to you in some way! If I linked out to your blog and you are paying me a visit let me know! Also, if you don’t want your link here just say so!