How to Help Young Children Struggling with Reading


Boy ReadingThere is quite a large percentage of children who struggle with their reading, but with early assistance and a few small and easy steps, parents can help their kids learn to love reading and put their struggles behind them whilst also employing the help of a private tutor to ease reading, spelling and grammar issues at home!

The earlier you discover that your child is falling behind with their reading, the better you can equip yourself, and them, to deal with it. Don’t stop and think for too long, as your child can learn to develop without pressure, a love for reading, which is a vital stepping-stone towards greater understanding of all sorts of aspects of life as you grow up.

What can you do to help your child if they are struggling with their reading?

1) Set Realistic Targets for their Reading

Of course, as a parent, you want your child to be the very best at what they do, but when it comes to reading it helps not to put any excess pressure on your child. It is important to set realistic reading targets, incremental steps that you know they can achieve with a bit of hard work and patience, and not something that they will struggle to reach, as that would be detrimental to their long-term development. This could mean setting a target of reading a certain number of books each month, set aside an hour to read with your child each evening before bed, or to read an interesting chapter of a book each day. Whatever the target is, this step is about demonstrating that they can improve, and have fun doing so!

2) Take the Pressure Away and Share Difficulties

If your child is struggling to read in school and falling behind the class average it will be difficult for them to share their struggles at home with you. They might just want to shut it out and not read at all. A good tip to help if this is happening, is to take the pressure away entirely and tell them things that you are not good at, whether it be cooking, catching a ball, or even reading, but that you’re always willing to try and improve and to have fun at whatever you do. By nurturing an environment of openness and kindness you and your child can grow together and they will feel more comfortable talking to you about their problems. In context of a struggling reader this can help them alleviate the internal pressure and focus on trying to improve with the support of their parents.

3) Make Reading Fun – Read Aloud

It isn’t just about helping children to read themselves if they are struggling with it. A way of helping them is to read to them out loud. By setting aside some time everyday to read out loud to your child, you will help them understand different words and sounds, expand their vocabulary and spelling. Reading to each other broadens horizons and elicits creativity, understanding and a chance to gain insight and knowledge into different spheres. If a struggling reader is left to just read alone, they may never fully comprehend the words in front of them on the page.

4) Show Your Child How Important Team Work Is

If you have hired a private tutor, or are talking to your child’s teachers, remember that it is important to include your child in discussion. Their issues and problems are there for you all to solve together. Fostering an environment where everyone is working together for the common good is a fantastic lesson to teach your child. Talk with your child, tutor and teacher about the plans and targets you have in place, discuss different ideas and techniques and work out the best approach for your child based on all the input, not just that of one person or the adults alone.

5) Small and Simple Steps for Overall Improvement

Very much tying in with the realistic targets strand of thinking, taking small and simple steps every day will lead to a gradual improvement that is likely to stick. Short-term improvements might not always stick, whereas a gradual approach is putting in place a habit, a love for reading that is more likely to extend beyond just catching up the pace with the rest of the class. Depending on your child, their age and circumstance this can mean different things. For young children who are only just learning to read you can slowly go over words, letters and sounds, breaking up longer words so they can understand them better. For older children, sit and read to them and with them at night, talk about stories you have read and invite their imagination to fire up. For older children with siblings it is often very rewarding for all concerned if they read aloud to their younger siblings. Teach your children that it is ok to read slowly and to take their time to work through things, but that you are always there to help when they need you.

Working with children who are struggling to read is rewarding, as a parent you can do your part by following these suggestions and a few other things, but most of all remember that it should be fun for them and for you!

At the Education Centre Liverpool we have tutors who can help your child at home with their reading and writing, grammar and spelling. We can help them foster a love for fiction and non-fiction that will last long into their adulthoods. Give us a call today and we’ll be happy to arrange a consultation and put together a plan that fits your child and their specific reading struggles at this time.

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