Do you have a struggling reader? Whether you’re teaching a young child to read or helping a middle-schooler or even a high-schooler who has reading difficulties, it can be very stressful for both mom/teacher and child/student to deal with reading problems. There are things you can do to help lessen the stress and to help your struggling reader. I’ll list some things to try, and I would love to hear more tips and ideas from those of you who have suggestions for the rest of us!
1. Decide if your child is ready to learn to read.
Sometimes we get so excited about homeschooling and teaching our children that we simply start doing formal schooling earlier than we should. You may want to read this article called Is Your Child Ready to Learn to Read? These 10 Tips Can Help You Find Out! for more information on determining if your child is ready to learn to read.
2. Read aloud to that child…often!
3. Set realistic goals.
If you need to set smaller, more realistic goals, do it. If you set goals that take weeks to reach, you and your child will get discouraged.
4. Tell your child the goal each day.
Before you begin the day’s reading lesson, tell your child the goal that she’s working toward. After the lesson each day, be sure to point out progress she made toward that goal.
5. Don’t try to force your child to read faster.
If your child reads slowly, don’t try to get him to read faster. Speed will come with time and practice.
6. Use lots and lots of repetition.
If your child struggles with reading, you may need to have him practice the same words or stories over and over and over. It’s ok. Repetition helps to “cement” the information in his mind. Try to keep it fun, though, so he doesn’t get bored.
7. Teach/practice short vowels first.
After your child learns short vowels and 1-syllable words and can read them easily, then you can move on to long vowels. Most phonics programs do this for you, but it is something to keep in mind if you supplement or come up with your own practice words and sentences.
8. Use a multi-sensory approach.
Make sure you allow your child to use all of her senses when she’s learning to read. Some children learn best by seeing, some by hearing, some by touching things or doing things. Using a multi-sensory approach allows your child to use different senses, and that often increases learning and makes it more fun too!
9. Try to find books that interest your child.
If your struggling reader isn’t interested in the books or sentences you use in his instruction, he’s just not going to be very motivated to want to learn to read. Try to find books about topics that he particularly enjoys. And if books are intimidating to your child, have him or her read whatever looks interesting! Magazines, comic books, or even cereal boxes will work in the beginning.
10. Start out easy.
It’s often best to begin with a book that is below your child’s current reading level. That allows her to have some success with reading. Then slowly progress to more difficult books. By doing this, she will be more motivated to learn to read, and motivation can make a big difference! If possible, you don’t want reading to be a chore. It’s much better to start out easy and move slowly than to turn reading into a dreaded activity.
Do you have any tips for those who are teaching struggling readers? If so, please share them here! We would love to hear from you!