If your child is a struggling reader, it is important to find out why. 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 child.

Listen in the Car

Get your struggling reader to listen to books on tape or CD 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.

How to Hook a Struggling Reader

Help them pick out new and interesting books! Go to the library weekly to pick out books for fun. These will be books of their choice and not ones that you or a teacher picked for them. Help them find books that match their interests. Try new genres! Biographies can be a great way to start or find a new series to HOOK them into reading! A book of a movie or cartoon series can also be a gateway to reading.

Know More Words

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 deal of vocabulary learning comes from reading, the struggling reader tends 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 of new vocabulary especially documentaries and programmes on science and history.

Not a Teacher

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.

Break the Reading Code

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 elaine@hummingbirdlearning.com

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