Developing Reading Skills at Home: A children’s reading guide for parents

Assessment of learning issues is a big part of our daily lives at our practice and we pride ourselves on providing comprehensive and accurate diagnosis to explain why the child is struggling.

For children who present with difficulty reading there are a number of underlying reasons for their struggles.

Slow processing speed, dyslexia and poor working memory are just a few of the challenges which make learning to read so difficult for some kids.

It can be frustrating for the parent supporting skill development in early readers. Whatever the frustration you as the parent are experiencing, it is nothing compared to the young person learning to read.

We’ve put together some of our favourite tips to help you develop your budding little book worm.

Simple tips to help your little reader succeed:

Practice little and often

Keeping to a regular schedule is important (even when you secretly don’t want to after a long day at work!). Practicing little and often can have just as much affect as trying to achieve longer time laboured sessions. Reading each night for 5-10 minutes can sometimes be all you need – just do it regularly!

Share the load

For some children who stumble with words, this can put them off the whole activity. Try sharing the load, for example it can help to read one page each, one paragraph each or even one sentence each – whichever is encouraging for your child.

Follow the finger

For some children a mass of words on a page can be daunting, help them tackle this and concentrate on sounding each word by asking them to follow each word with a finger. This will help them focus on what is in front of them. Taking little bites is much better than swallowing whole.

Tackle the Guessing Game

Some kids love a good guess, don’t they? Instead of shutting this down, validate their efforts but encourage them to be patient and try again. A simple phrase such as – “ good try but let’s sound the word out together.”

Step in when you need to

Sometimes a child will struggle with one particular word so try not to let them labour over it for too long, this can just lead to them shutting down and giving up. Allow them time to sound the word out and if it is incorrect or they are struggling, gently read it for them and allow them to move onto the next word.

Encourage the beauty of words

Children are made readers on the laps of their parents. —Emilie Buchwald

Children are like little sponges and will respond to your actions as an adult so let’s celebrate words!

Encourage a love of books and reading by taking time each day/night to read to your child. Visit the library and give them an opportunity to choose books for themselves. Practice letter recognition by playing “read the number plate” as you drive from place to place. Try anything to get them spotting letters and words.

Final Thoughts

Reading is a skill that takes time to develop, and for those kids who find it challenging, fostering an interest is more important than developing the skills.

These will come with practice and time and a little support from you as parents. Practice will be met with little resistance where an interest has been encouraged. Happy reading all!