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.

7 Ways To Encourage A Love Of Reading

7 Ways To Encourage Reading

Reading is one of the most beneficial skills to have. Being able to read is one thing, but things like reading comprehension and writing can be applied in many aspects of adult daily life. It is important to be able to communicate effectively, understand abstract concepts, and to be able to conduct research to gather information. But aside from that, reading can help people learn to be more empathetic, learn about other people and cultures, and understand how to better express themselves. There are many reasons why parents should be concerned with getting their children to read, and it helps if they like to read as well. When it comes to encouraging a love of reading, there are a few things parents should consider:

Make it Fun

It’s easy for parents to be concerned if their child isn’t reading at their level or simply isn’t showing an interest in reading period, but pressuring them to read or pushing the activity on them can do more harm than good. Make sure that reading is a stress-free activity, that it is as fun as can be, and that it is enjoyable for everyone. Keeping a good attitude about it can help both parties tremendously, especially when a reluctant reader is involved.

Make it Part of Your Everyday

Kids are more likely to pick up a book or develop an interest in reading if it is already a staple in their lives. Making a habit, such as bedtime reading or encouraging reading on car rides, can help make reading something familiar for kids. Having books around the house, reading on your own and having books and reading be a part of your life and not necessarily your child’s can have an impact, too. Kids learn by example, so if they see mommy and daddy reading, they are more likely to want to read too.

Make it a Game

Boosting reading skills can happen anytime, anywhere. Make letter games when driving, asking your kids to pick out letters they see or playing “I Spy” type game with words and phrases on signs you pass by. Play letter games while getting meals together, ask them to read the labels and to see if they can find specific words around the house. While reading physical books, try the same thing. This can help reluctant readers open up to more interactive and creative ways of reading that may change the activity all together for them.

Make it Personal

Sometimes, kids need more of an “in” before getting into reading, and things like personalized books can help do that. Making your child the star of the story can instantly spark their interest. It can also be helpful if kids are going through something specific, such as starting their first day of school or learning to potty train. Reading about issues that affect them personally or reading stories where they are the hero can help them to better connect with the reading material and become more enthusiastic about reading in general.

Give Them a Head Start

If you’re having trouble getting kids interested in reading, you can help them out. Pick a chapter book with a topic your child may be interested in and read the first few chapters alongside with them. After that, encourage your child to read with you or to finish out the book on their own. Their interest in the story and the characters can motivate them to finish out the book!

Make it More Social

Encouraging kids to share books and stories can help keep their interest. Ask your child to read to you for a change, have them read to a younger sibling or an older sibling, or even have them read to a pet! There are actually plenty of libraries and pet shelters that host programs where kids read to animals which have shown to improve animal behavior as well as kids’ reading skills.

Make it Special

Treating books as special treats can give them more value. Offer your child a book when you go to the store or as a consolation prize after a doctor’s visit. Treat reading as a special activity when you do it together or when you see them reading on their own. Reading is special on its own, but making it feel extra magical can help keep a child’s interest and encourage them to do it more often.

Questions to Ask Your Child to Boost Reading Comprehension

When it comes to building reading skills, what better than actually reading? However knowing the words, sounding them out, and reading them aloud is only part of the skill set that reading requires and can it help enhance the experience if done correctly. Being able to read is one thing, but retaining information, making inferences and forming opinions is another important aspect of this activity – especially in regards to academics. It is important that kids are not only able to read, but that they are also able to take something away from the experience as well. This can mean learning new things, but it can also mean connecting with a fictional character on a personal level or being inspired to engage their imaginations and do something new.

There are some ways parents can help kids boost their reading comprehension skills to get them in the habit of thinking actively.

Ask Their Opinion

This is straightforward, but it can help. After story time, whether it is the parent reading to the child or the child reading aloud, asking questions about the book or the chapter that was just read can help a lot. Not only can asking questions help engage their minds, but having a discussion about the story can help boost kids’ memories and encourage them to engage with the material more personally.

Ask them who their favorite character was and why. Ask them why they think the character did what they did in the story, and what they might have done differently if they were in their shoes. You can even ask your child what they think might happen next or what they would write if they were in charge of the next chapter or sequel.

Encourage Them to Keep a Journal

Kids don’t necessarily have to recount their days; kids can write about their lives, the things they read, school, or anything they like. The important thing is that they are writing. Writing is inherently related to reading in nature, and writing can help children better understand written material. Not only that, but writing can help boost communication skills, empathy and emotional understanding.

Give your kids prompts to answer in their journal, whether it is about their day, what happened at school, or what they think about the things they are reading. Ask them engaging questions and see what they come up with.

Have Them Tell You a Story

Sometimes, bedtime includes a story from mom or dad and not from a book. Storytelling in any form can be beneficial, plus it’s a great way to spend time together and form wonderful memories. But next time at bedtime, ask your child to tell you a story instead – and don’t just listen in, be an active audience member. Ask your kids about their characters and the events of the story, ask them why things happen or why a character did something a certain way. These are the same questions you may have asked your children after reading a book, but asking them about their own stories can help to further engage their active sense of reasoning and understanding. These skills will come in handy when kids are reading on their own and once they begin to ask themselves these questions, they will become more active and understanding readers.

Below are some starter questions you may consider asking your child before choosing a book, while reading a book, or when you’re finished reading:

Picking out a book

• Why did you choose this book?

• Did you like the picture on the front? What’s happening in the image?

• What could this book be about?

Before reading the book

• Can you point to the title? or What is this? (pointing to the title)

• What might happen in the story?

• Talk about the different parts of the book (ex. front cover, back cover, title, author, illustrator, etc.)

• If it is an informational book, ask them what they hope to learn and why

While reading

• What has happened so far?

• What might happen next?

•How do you think the story might end?

• What sort of character is….? How would you describe them? Would you be friends with them?

• How would you feel if you had been that character? Has anything like that happened to you? What would you do if this happened to you?

• If reading an information book: Have you learned anything new? What else would you like to know?

At the end of the book

• What was their favorite part? What was the most interesting/exciting part of the book?

• Why did that character do … (give a situation from the story as an example)?

• What happened in the story?

• Who are the main characters in the story?

• What character would you like to be?

• Did you like this book?