Reading Problems

For a variety of reasons, some children find learning to read very challenging.   When teaching a child who is having difficulty, there are two techniques that are particularly effective.

Stay Positive When Teaching Reading

The most important key to teaching reading is to be positive with the child.  Encourage the child.  Praise effort and a good attitude.  A reward system may also be very beneficial.  One reward system for reading that I have used is a sticker a day on a chart, leading to a prize after so many stickers.  I have used toys and special outings as the prizes towards which the children were working.  I have also used a small treat right after each reading session.  For some children, an small, immediate reward works better than a larger reward later.  Another possible positive incentive is  T.V. or video game time.

Make each practice reading session a good experience for the child.  Remember, the child is almost certainly already feeling badly/discouraged about reading.  Use positive words with the child to overcome discouragement.  Do not say, “This is easy!” or “Try harder!”  Reading is difficult for many children, and usually they are already trying their best.  Acknowledge, to the children, that reading is challenging.  Empathize with  their feelings about reading.   Assure them that, as they keep on trying, they will get it.  “If at first you you don’t succeed, try, try again!”

Practice Reading

The only real way to improve in reading is to practice it.  Other things can be done to support children as they learn to read but the key to actually learning to read is to read.  It is ideal to practice once a day, every day.   If you are homeschooling a child who struggles with reading, two practice sessions a day should be scheduled.  Reading practice sessions should be from seven to twenty minutes in length, depending on the age and attention level of the child.  Younger children should read for shorter lengths of time than older children.  If you have a child who has a shorter attention span, keep sessions brief.  Always choose reading materials that are at the child’s level and that are of interest to them.

Learn To Read Books are levelled books available in the iTunes app store for use on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.  Using technology for teaching and learning is helpful for many students.  Novelty keeps learning fun!

Issues that make learning to read difficult for some children include:

  • Dyslexia – a disorder (involving letter recognition) that affects reading

  • ADHD – Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity

  • ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder

Some children experince a significantly greater degree of difficulty when learning to read than other children.  Initial difficulty with reading does not mean the child has lower intelligence or that they will necessarily continue to find reading difficult for the rest of their lives.  Many children who struggle when first learning to read grow up to enjoy reading and some even come to excel at reading.  It is through practice and encouragement that children transition from struggling readers to confident ones.

Girl sitting looking at iPhone