When you notice your child seems to be struggling, as a parent you want to help. However, most parents aren’t teachers and so researching how to help a child with reading difficulties may be a great relief. Chances are, that’s exactly how you found this article.
The good news is that actually all parents are teachers, whether they realize it or not. There is a lot of help online nowadays and new technologies are providing effective solutions that could previously cost parents a lot of money and/or time.
However, before we get into how you help your child to read better, it is a good idea to look at why they might be struggling and determine what they find difficult. This way, you can effectively support them to improve their reading skills.
What Are Reading Difficulties?
Reading difficulties can show themselves in any child as they progress. Simply put, it is when a child’s reading ability is not keeping up with the set standards for their age. It is not something that can’t be fixed but will require some focus and they’ll need additional support from carers to catch up.
However, sometimes these difficulties are caused by an underlying reading disability that may have gone undiagnosed until now. Certain disabilities can make reading challenging and frustrate the child. Therefore, it is a good idea to at least check if reading difficulties are being caused by an underlying condition.
Some of the conditions that are known include:
- Developmental dyslexia
- Alexia (acquired dyslexia)
- Hyperlexia (word-reading ability well above that expected for age and IQ)
Dyslexia comes in various forms and intensities, making it difficult for the child to decode words and recognize letter orders. This disability often affects writing too, as letter recognition can be part of the problem. It can cause extreme frustration at times.
With Hyperlexia, the problem actually isn’t that they can’t read, but more that they can’t comprehend what they are reading. There can be vast differences between what they are able to read aloud and what they can read and understand. This condition can also cause issues with speech recognition. Often this case is connected to and seen in children with autism.
Other problems such as ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) can also cause a problem with reading, as they affect the child’s ability to focus on any task for significant periods.
Why Is My Child Having Trouble Reading?
If your child doesn’t have one of the cognitive conditions mentioned above, then they may simply find reading challenging.
In this case, you or a teacher will want to find out what elements of the reading process are causing them the most difficulties. This is then categorized and addressed like so:
- Specific Word Reading Difficulties (SWRD)
- Specific Reading Comprehension Difficulties (SRCD)
- Mixed Reading Difficulties (MRD)
Those struggling with SWRD actually struggle with reading the words. If they can read the words, they don’t normally have a problem understanding the story.
Those with SRCD can read the words but aren’t understanding what they’re reading. They may sound like they can read well, but often comprehension is low and so they struggle to talk about or answer questions on the text that they’ve just read.
Those with MRD would need a combination of the two and MRD can make reading feel frustrating and extremely troubling for the child, as they struggle both to read the words and to understand them.
With these, the plan to help them develop would include phonics and breaking down words as a focus for SWRD, those with SRCD will need comprehension and vocabulary expansion focus, and those with MRD will, of course, need a combination of the two.
Whichever the focus is on, making it fun and not putting pressure on the child is important. If they hate reading or feel embarrassed, it will only add to the problem. You want them to feel empowered, to feel like they want to read, and to feel proud of each bit of progress they make no matter how small it is.
How Can I Help My Child to Read Better?
Schools will often have specialist trainers, programs and advice for parents with children who are struggling to read. The government also has a fair amount of support.
However, if you really want to encourage your child to enjoy reading, with instant-feedback, personal tutoring by an adaptive AI (tailoring courses to each child), incredibly fun stories and live reports for parents … then check out the free trial of Readability. It was created with the sole task of using advanced technologies to solve this age-old problem.
Our system will help children with re-reading, listening to books read aloud, feedback on pronunciation, speed reading and more. The library is designed for level and age, to make sure they are relevant and fun. With all of this combined, children can enjoy reading with a private tutor anytime they want to, or when parents assign a reading period. What’s more, there is no judgment and nobody sees their mistakes, allowing them to learn freely.