Reading is a language skill that is taught to children early on in school. However, with school closures all across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, many children are now in danger of not getting that reading instruction that is so important.
The children that are already struggling with reading are now in greater danger of not getting the extra help they need. However, there are different tools you can use at home to help your struggling reader get through their reading hump and actually enjoy reading.
Most kids are able to read fluently and independently by age 7-8 years old or 2nd-3rd grade. However, some kids might struggle well after this reading benchmark. If you have a 9 year old struggling with reading, there are strategies you can use at home to get them to their reading level.
Why is my child having a hard time reading?
While most children are able to read by age 7-8 years old, there are some that are just late bloomers.
Experts emphasize that if your child is still not able to read fluently or independently by this age to not panic but to be aware of signs that your child is struggling. Some kids might be frustrated with their lack of reading skills compared to their classmates. They might avoid homework or just not want to go to school altogether.
There are many different reasons why your child is struggling with reading. Here are some 3 things to consider if your 9 year old struggles with reading:
- Reading instruction they are receiving
- Underlying problems such as vision or dyslexia
- Reading experience and background
Let’s take a closer look at each one of these issues.
One reason your child could be struggling with reading is the instruction they are receiving. Every child learns differently, so your child might not be getting instruction that fits the way that they learn.
Some kids are more visual or spatial learners while others are more oral or auditory learners. Talking to your child’s teacher can help you get a sense of the methods and strategies they are using in the classroom. You can then supplement with more tailored practice at home.
There could also be problems your child is struggling with that might not be so apparent. They could be having actual physical issues such as vision or auditory problems that are making it difficult for them to learn to read.
A learning disability such as dyslexia might also be an issue or they could be struggling with their concentration. These are underlying problems that could be affecting their reading progress and thus their overall learning.
Experience with reading
Another major factor to consider is their overall experience with reading. Children who come from families that read often during free time or frequently keep books at home are likely to be more successful readers.
You might also want to consider your family history. Is there a pattern in your family of struggling readers? Many students who struggle with reading even at an older age have a family history of struggling readers.
How can I help my 9-year-old to read?
Reading can be frustrating especially for children who are behind their reading level. Also, 9 year olds are beginning to read more advanced texts in school.
This means that not only do they need to be able to understand what they are reading but also need to be able to think critically about them. Reading is becoming a skill that they are using to learn, not a skill they are trying to learn.
We present you a Homeschooling Toolbox that parents can easily implement to help your child get back on track to their reading level:
- Read to and with them – Reading to your child gives them a model of good reading. Reading with them helps give them the individual support and guidance they need. This also helps create a bond that can help motivate them to practice reading more often.
- Schedule family reading time – A key part of practicing reading at home is to keep it consistent. When you schedule reading time at home, this shows your child that reading is something to prioritize and enjoy.
- Keep a wide variety of books at home – Sometimes a child might be struggling with reading because the level of books they are reading is either too hard or too easy. Instead of only keeping books that are at or below their reading level, you should also have books that are one or two levels above. This gives them the option to stay at a comfortable pace or to challenge themselves.
- Let them choose their reading materials – Instead of choosing the books for them, you can let your child choose the books they read. This keeps them interested and invested in reading more.
- Discuss their reading with them – Talking about what they are reading shows your child that you are interested in their progress and can encourage them to continue reading. This is also a great way to practice and check on their reading comprehension. If they are able to talk to you about what they are reading, then they are able to actually understand and think about what they are reading.
- Gamify reading – A big factor in helping older kids to get out of struggling with reading is to make reading fun for them. Technology and web games are a big part of their world so incorporate that aspect into their reading practice. Using reading apps such as Readability can make reading fun and interactive. Readability provides original materials at various levels, so the app can adjust to your child’s reading progress. It also provides real-time feedback, so your child can know exactly how to improve.
All these at-home strategies can help your child improve their reading even while they are at home during school closures. The key to maintaining their reading instruction at home is to be patient and encouraging.
Many kids today are already stressed about the coronavirus disease. Positive feedback can help your child’s mental health. In order to motivate them, it is important that they see the progress they are making with reading, even if it is minor.
It can be easy to rely on endless screentime and video games when your children are stuck at home. However, making sure they are using educational apps and games can help them not just maintain their reading skills but also make them better.
You can easily implement all the tools above through a reading app like Readability that will help your child reach their reading goals and have fun in the process!