How to Identify Reading Difficulties

Identifying Reading Difficulties

There is a lot of emphasis on reading in early academia. In many instances, how well a child learns to read and continues to grow as a reader has a huge impact on their academic future as well as their future as readers. For kids who do not read well or have a hard time learning to read, their academic futures can be cloudy. According to many studies (Francis, Shaywitz, Stuebing, Shaywitz, & Fletcher, 1996; Torgesen & Burgess, 1998), many children who have difficulties reading early on and get off to a bad start rarely ever end up catching up. While part of the problem can be related to access to resources like books or guidance, many kids suffer from learning disabilities and reading problems that go undiagnosed.

Waiting too long to diagnose a reading disability can make it incredibly difficult to treat and it can make catching up even more of a challenge as well. This is why it is so important that parents are aware of the early signs so they can get their child the help they need from the beginning.

Here are some universal signs of reading difficulties that parents should be able to identify:

Slow-Going

If you notice that your child continually has trouble reading books pitched to their age and reading level, this could be one of the first signs. Listen to your child read aloud. Does it sound like they are improving? Do they struggle with the same words over and over? This can be difficult for children, especially since it is also often discouraging and they may not want to continue reading at all.

Frequent Errors

Mispronouncing a new word or sounding out a long word is one thing, but when kids frequently add words, delete words, or change words when reading, then there may be another issue at hand. Some things you may notice include the following:

  • Adds words – The tall lamp à then the tall and lamp
  • Replaces words – He rubbed his eyes à he rumbled his eyes
  • Deletes words – It’s just a possum à It’s a possum

Staying on Task

If you notice your child frequently losing their place, losing sight of the word or sentence they are reading, skipping lines or jumbling sentences, then you should pay attention and take note. This can not only hinder their ability to comprehend the content of the story they are reading, but it may also have implications regarding the way they process information as well.

No Retention

After reading, kids should be able to summarize what happened in even the most concise terms, but if your child is not retaining any information from the book or even the passage they just read, then they may be expending most of their energy on the act of reading the words and letters without being able to retain what those words mean and the sentences they make up.

Avoidance

Another big indicator of reading problems is avoiding reading all together. Kids may not want to read or show an interest in reading if it is too much of a challenge for them. It may not only be difficult but embarrassing, too.

If you ever have any concerns about your child’s reading and their ability to read and retain information, look into meeting with an educational professional or a speech pathologist to get to the bottom of the issue and get your child the care they need early on.

Why Math Is Just As Important as Reading

Learning Math for Kids

Many parents focus on skills like reading when it comes time for their kids to start preschool or kindergarten, but math is an important subject to keep in mind, too. Recent studies have shown that a child’s math skills upon entering kindergarten can be a prominent indicator of their future academic performance. Math can be incorporated into so many parts of daily life, and many games even rely on math in order to be played properly or well. Help boost your child’s math skills with some of these simple, but fun math activities every day.

Count Everyday Objects
Counting simple things like how many apple slices your child has for snack time or how many forks and knives are at the dinner table can help kids get into the habit of not just counting but can help them have a better abstract idea of how numbers work, as well. Start with small numbers, generally no more than five, and add a few more as your child improves – they may be ready for a challenge!

Lined Up In a Row
Let’s experiment – take some coins and line them up together on a table. Have your child count how many coins there are. Now, spread out the coins but otherwise leave them be. Then, ask your child how many coins there are again. Don’t be surprised if they have to count again, but once your child begins to automatically know the answer, you’ll know they’ve mastered number invariance.

Fun and Games
There are plenty of family friendly children’s games that involve counting, such as Chutes and Ladders or Candy Land. These sorts of games are great for acquainting kids with numbers. Not only will they have to roll the die and need to recognize the number they get, but they will then need to count how many spaces they move as a result. For more advanced players, card games like War that involve addition can be helpful with simple math problems as well.

Spotting Shapes
It is also important for kids to develop a basic understanding of geometry and special relations. Blocks and other such toys can help with this early on, but as they learn the names and appearances of shapes, you can also have them identify shapes around the house and anywhere else you go, too.

Math for Kids

A Map of Home
Creating a map of your house can be helpful for a lot of reasons. Not only can it help your child practice spatial language and develop a deeper understanding of spatial relations, but it can also help when it comes to plotting a course for escape in the event of an emergency like a fire.

Helping Hands
Having kids help out with dinner can help them learn to read and introduce them to new foods, but it can also help them learn all about measuring. While there are many forms of measurement, one of the easiest things you can do with kids is prepare dinner according to a cookbook. Have them help you measure out all of the spices and other ingredients so they can become familiar with numbers and measurements as well as with words and food.

Babies Can Learn To Read Too

Babies Can Read Too

It may seem pointless to read to a newborn – they can’t read yet, they don’t understand language, and processing images is still something they are getting used to. But these are actually great reasons that should inspire you to read to your newborn. There are some surprising benefits to breaking out the books early, and they can really go a long way.

Baby Bonding
Reading with your baby is a nice way to relax. Reading aloud can have a calming effect on newborns, especially since they can get used to your voice and find comfort in it. It’s never too early for bed time stories, especially when the sound of your voice in a calm, even cadence can get them to relax and get ready for bed.

Active Listening
Listening plays a huge part in learning language, so even if children cannot yet process or understand words, reading to them will play a huge role in their developing language skills. Plus, reading to kids can help boost their early vocabulary, too. You may feel tempted in every other hour of the day to babble on in baby-speak to your child but talking them in a normal voice with normal speech (though using simple words can be helpful) is actually more beneficial to children and their developing minds. Reading from a book to them on a regular basis can have the same effect.

Ready Readers
Making reading a common activity helps shape active readers, and kids who are read to are more likely to develop their own love for reading as they get older. Not only that, but listening can help kids become better readers, too. Once they do become familiar with language, they can learn to follow along as you read to them. Before you know it, they’ll be reading on their own! But it all starts early, so reading to children while they are still infants can make a difference.

Brain Boost
Studies have also shown that children who were read to as newborns not only have a larger vocabulary, but that they also exhibit more advanced mathematical skills than other kids their age as well. These same studies have also uncovered a direct correlation between how many words a baby hears each day and their overall language skills. One study even found that babies whose parents spoke to them a lot when they were younger scored higher on standard tests when they reached age 3 than children whose parents weren’t as verbal with them.

React and Response
Studies have also shown that babies whose parents read to them get used to the rhythmic pattern of their parents’ voices. This can be calming, but it can also help them better identify subtle clues in speech such as the mood of the speaker by their tone of voice.  Babies are exposed to feelings through the different sounds parents use when reading, whether it’s doing a voice for a character or describing what’s going on in the story.