How to help your child if he is experiencing difficulty learning to read is a worry that can weigh heavy on your mind as a parent. We all know that being able to read well is the key to good grades in school and to success in all areas of life. It is very stressful for a parent and child if reading is a problem, and so we have listed ten simple ways you can help your child become a better reader with the least amount of hassle.
The purpose of reading practice at home should always be enjoyment—it should be the driving force behind what you are doing to help your child. Reading at school is not fun for anyone who has difficulty reading, and your goal should be to make it fun at home. As reading becomes a less stressful activity, it becomes easier for your child to learn and more enjoyable. From time to time, remind him that reading is not only useful, but also fun and, by practicing, he’s learning how to break the code to unlock the story through word recognition.
- Make Reading Fun – Your number one goal!
Sound enthusiastic when you summon him for reading practice. Announce that it’s time to “read together.” Emphasize that you are looking forward to “hearing what happens next” in the story. Sit with him and make sure he understands you are enjoying yourself and enjoying the story.
- Always be Positive
No matter how irritating it is to see (hear) him make the same mistakes over and over, find something to praise. “You got it.” “Now you know that word.” “I knew you could do it.” “You’ll soon be a great reader.”
- Don’t Show any Impatience.
Remind him that once he learns to read, he will be as good at it as everyone else. He will soon have reading skills mastered, and will read easily like all the other good readers he knows.
- Discuss the Story
When reading time is over, always thank him for reading to you and ask a question or two about what he has read and what he thinks might happen next in the story.
- Keep the Technical Work to a Minimum
Don’t attempt to teach phonics and have him sound out every other word—leave that to his teacher. If he hesitates at a word, give him a chance to try, ask him what sound the first letter makes, what he thinks the word might be, and then tell him. Keep the story moving.
- When it Come to Criticism, Less is Best
Don’t correct every mistake he makes and don’t make him go back and re-read a sentence if he misses out an unimportant word. If it’s important, you can stop him and ask, “Did you say she did do it or she didn’t?” If he mispronounces a word, don’t interrupt. Go back to it later.
- Schedule Regular Practice
Look at your own schedule to find time to help your child on a regular basis, preferably five to six days a week. The schedule for reading shouldn’t interfere with the family’s favorite TV programs, other homework, and scheduled, important events. Have a plan for dealing with interruptions and how you will reschedule reading when you are forced to cancel.
- Don’t Make Reading a Long, Time-Consuming Ordeal
Depending on your child’s age and reading ability, reading practice should take long enough for a young child to read two pages a night. An older child should read for a half hour a night.
- Fun Reading Can Extend into Other Daily Activities
Make a game of having your child read road signs. Leave notes that tell him where he can find a treat. Have him read cartoons aloud and laugh together. Buy him a child’s joke book and have him read a joke to the family every day at dinner. Help him rehearse and make sure you laugh when he finishes. Nothing succeeds like success.
- Don’t Stop Reading to Your Children
Continue to read to your children even after they go to school and learn how to read. A young or slow reader enjoys hearing a story that is too difficult for him to read by himself and enjoys sharing a good story with others.
Reading to your children, helping them read, and having them see you read for pleasure will reinforce your child’s understanding that reading isn’t just a school task or a work task, but pleasurable entertainment for people of all ages.
Have you found a particular method of helping your child enjoy reading even when he is having trouble with it? Share your experiences by leaving a comment below.
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