When researching how to help a child struggling with reading, you are likely to discover a lot of forums full of concerned parents. This is because reading is a major challenge for most children, and there are millions of children that don’t meet the seen ‘standard’ for their age.
However, you shouldn’t be too concerned, as, in reality, children develop at different speeds, and even though they are currently behind, they can catch up and may even fly ahead. This all depends on the support that they get and how motivated they are.
Plan to Help a Child Struggling with Reading
A lot of children struggle with reading until 8, 9 or 10 years old (sometimes beyond). This doesn’t mean that they can’t read, just that their level is a bit lower and they find it more challenging. However, with the right approach, this can be fixed and they will thank you for it later in life, although, maybe not literally.
With the right plan, you can make reading fun and greatly increase both their ability and confidence. The plan doesn’t need to be complicated, but the practice should be regular. Consider motivating them to read for 30 minutes on most days at a time that works for them (not straight after school when they’re tired). Motivate them by making it a challenge or game, including fun or delicious rewards for reaching the reading goals that you agree upon. Talk to them, make them a part of the planning, and always make it fun and playful. You want to inspire them to love reading and to read beyond what is asked of them.
Reading Help for Kids
The first thing to determine is if there is a reason that a child is struggling. While some children simply find reading a difficult skill to learn, children with ADHD or who are dyslexic may find reading really challenging. By diagnosing these and other reasons, an appropriate plan of action can be created.
When reading is difficult, it becomes quite frustrating for the reader. It can even become something they avoid or hate. This is why it is so important to not only intervene and help them learn to read, but also to include confidence-building activities and some fun activities.
Here are a few strategies that really make a difference:
- Get help – Children that are struggling will need support. However, in most situations that support needs to be from every possible area of their life. This means providing support and motivation as a parent, but also asking for support from the school, government, or a reading tutor app. It is nothing to be embarrassed about, and if addressed in the early stages, their ability can be fully brought up to the standard level in most cases.
- Use level appropriate books – It might seem like they should be challenged, but by choosing difficult books you’ll crush their confidence and motivation. Books at the right level, or slightly easier are best, as they’ll find it more enjoyable and still learn.
- Let them choose the pace – While reading quickly seems like a good thing, at the early stages of reading slowly and actually understanding the text is more important.
- Use pictures – Books with pictures can greatly improve comprehension. Many children learn visually, and pictures also add a great way to discuss and relate the story in the text. Children also love to see exciting imagery, as it helps them to imagine the story.
- Replace online activities with reading – This doesn’t mean that games and videos should be banned, but that they should be controlled and more reading-related activities introduced. Our AI reading tutor is the perfect supplement here, as it makes reading fun and supports their reading development 24/7.
- Provide flexible schedules and ongoing support – Our AI tutor can help your child to read better, but it shouldn’t feel like a military regime. Instead, make it a fun activity and combine it with times you can spend helping them. This can be you reading a story they like, talking about what they have read this week, or get them to read you a bedtime story. Whatever you choose, be proactive in your encouragement, but also understand that they will need some days off or a change in the schedule.
With the school involved and supporting their development, our AI reading tutor providing 24/7 access to practice and feedback, and you as a parent getting involved as much as time permits, your child should quickly gain confidence and the ability to read well.
The Benefits of Early Intervention
By addressing reading issues early, it is easier to remedy them. Simply put, the longer a learner slips further behind, the harder it will be for them to catch up. This is why reading is important to monitor and to address issues as and when they arise.
However, just because a learner improves, doesn’t mean that you should then sit back and relax or stop supporting them. Reading is obviously a skill that for them is challenging. Therefore, making a focused plan to improve reading is vital, allowing children to both catch up quickly and receive continued reading support until they are fully-fledged readers.
By catching these issues early, you can help to avoid behavioral issues (such as outbursts caused by frustration and embarrassment), prevent their confidence from crashing, and avoid reading becoming something that they hate. Being able to read well will affect all areas of their education. Supporting their reading journey can also be a great way to show your child how much you care, and as their reading progresses, you can enjoy sharing literary adventures together.