If your child is a weak reader, it is important to find out why, so that you can support them. In my experience, there are four main reasons: they haven’t found books that pique their interest, they have issues with their vision, there is an underlying learning issue, or they prefer to be on the move rather than sitting with a book. Or it can be a combination of these.
Whatever the reason, you can support your weak reader
- Don’t become the teacher!! Keep in your role as the parent – the fun person who shares reading time & makes it interesting. Forcing reading can end up damaging your relationship with your child. Allow the teacher to be the teacher and you be the parent.
- Help them pick out new and interesting books! Go to the library weekly to choose books for fun. These will be books of their choice and not ones that you or a teacher picked for them. Find books that match their interests (you may need to borrow a bunch and try new genres). Biographies can be a great way to start or find a new series to HOOK them into reading! A movie or cartoon series can also be a gateway to books for a weak reader.
- Listen to books on tape, CD or podcast in the car and talk about what’s happening together. If your child doesn’t get carsick, encourage him/her to follow along with the book. Libraries are an excellent resource for books on tape or CD.
- Vocabulary expansion, i.e. knowing the meanings of lots of words, is implicated in academic success. I consider it so important that at Hummingbird Learning Centre we always do Vocabulary Expansion BEFORE we start into reading. While in time a good share of vocabulary learning comes from reading, weak readers tend to not read very much so their vocabularies lag. Parents play an important role in supporting their child’s language growth by reading to their child and talking about the words and ideas. TV can be an excellent resource for new vocabulary especially documentaries and programmes on science and history.
- Decoding is not the be-all and end-all. If your child is struggling to decode the word after a few attempts, tell them the word. Get them to repeat it, pronouncing it correctly and be certain that they understand the meaning.
If your child or student is struggling with reading, talk to us about how we can help. Contact us on 087 2996065 or firstname.lastname@example.org