#LiteracyTips for Helping Struggling Readers

I was recently invited to contribute to an article about literacy for an article entitled “Easy Tips and Advice from the Experts to Handle Homeschooling. There are LOTS of great suggestions, even if you aren’t a homeschool family. As a mom who struggled with math herself, I would have truly benefited from “preparing for topics you don’t understand.” I also liked the suggestions on how to organize your time when you have students of different ages (think homework wars).

I hope you read the full article. It is packed with information. But since you’re visiting the Reading Tub, I am popping in my literacy tips right here. 

 3 Tips to Help A Child Struggling with Reading

Comparing our child to another kid – no matter what skill – is hard for parents to resist. We may tell ourselves that we don’t see this as competition. But when we feel anxious about our child in comparison to other kids, our focus has shifted from supporting them where they are to pushing them along.

Sometimes that shift means we’re adding pressure to our parenting selves, and that can (unwittingly) spill over onto our kids. With reading, more pressure usually results in less success. Why? Because kids see themselves as “less than” and spending time with a book as punishment.

How do we change that thinking? First, take a breath and understand that your child is developing the way their brain is guiding them. Not every child is ready to read chapter books in first grade. Second, meet with your child’s teacher and/or pediatrician to make sure there are no developmental or medical issues. Third – and most important – reframe what learning to read looks like.

1.    Read audiobooks. Yes, listening is reading. From learning new vocabulary words to visualizing concepts and events … it’s all in there. For some young readers, it helps to have a print version to follow, too.

2.    Let them choose. Honest and true, it is A-OK if they want to read [book title] again. Feeling successful is the goal, and if re-reading a favorite book 57 times helps, that’s time well spent in the long term.

3.    Read aloud as a team. Books with short chapters make it easy to share reading. Start by taking turns reading at the page level. Slowly build to alternating readers at the end of a chapter. Dialogue-heavy books are great, too. Your reader can pick a character and read their “lines,” as if the story is a play.

And a bonus: enjoy the journey! Seize this chance to be your child’s biggest cheerleader. Don’t correct pronunciation, re-read or finish a sentence … cheer them on! Encouragement is the key to reading confidence, and confidence is the secret to success. You got this!