Kids develop at their own time, so take a deep breath and try to assess the situation. Ask yourself, Does my child just need a little more time? Or is my child struggling with learning to read?
Some children end up reading a little later than others—and sometimes when they do begin reading, it almost seems as though they learned overnight! Other children may require extra support and you’ll need to advocate for them.
These tips will help you navigate this delicate situation, without panicking, by providing support for your child.
Reduce (some) screen time: Devices can be a wonderful tool to learn but when children are on screens they usually aren’t engaging in conversation. Considering reducing non-educational screen time by using a timer or a schedule—be sure everyone in the family reduces their usage so your child doesn’t feel singled out.
Be open to different kinds of texts: Introduce a variety of text types— comics, joke books, magazines, and more, are all wonderful options to hook struggling readers.
Try reading online: Reading apps can help engage children who aren’t yet reading. Several offer learn-to-read activities as well as highlighted text and text-to-speech capabilities. We enjoy Ooka Island and Epic!
Play games: A family game night with board or card games helps get children talking, asking questions, and using descriptive language.
Speak to the teacher: Set up an interview with your child’s teacher. They’ll share their observations and assessments, providing further insight into the situation, and if needed, the teacher can take the steps to set up further testing and in-school support.
Permission to give up: Children need to know that they don’t have to like every book they read. Help them understand the difference between struggling to read the book and giving up from frustration, to putting down a book that they aren’t enjoying.
Keep up the bedtime stories: Read with your child on a daily basis, if possible. While you may get tired of reading the same books, embrace rereading favourite books. Repetitive reading helps children’s vocabulary grow and deepens their comprehension.
Ask for further support: Lean on the expertise of others to provide reading support. This help can come from teachers, family members, homework clubs and professional tutors.