Did you know that up to 20% of kids have dyslexia (a difficulty learning to read)? Yet most teachers aren't trained on how to teach kids with reading problems.
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Reading Problems in Kids – How to Spot Reading Problems Early and What to Do About It
Author: Karen_Robertson. To get Karen’s top 5 favorite tips to get kids reading or to see the interactive treasure hunt adventure book she created especially for kids who aren’t keen to read for fun, visit http://treasurereading.com
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The biggest mistake parents make with their kid’s reading is not trusting their gut if they suspect there is a problem.
I made this mistake and I’m determined to make sure other parents don’t make it too.
So based on my experience, interviews with other parents, and with literacy professionals, I’ve put together clues on how to spot reading problems early and steps to take to confirm if there is a problem.
Did you know that up to 20% of kids have dyslexia (a difficulty learning to read)? Yet most teachers aren’t trained on how to teach kids with reading problems.
It’s often up to parents to spot reading problems in their kids. And the sooner problems are spotted and remediated, the better for the kid’s education, self esteem and future.
When my son was in second grade, he quietly started refusing to do his schoolwork in class. He wasn’t naughty or disruptive, he just wouldn’t do it.
I thought he might have issues with authority or something so off we went to a child psychologist. We put together an incentive program to motivate him to do his work and he did.
Between first and third grades, I’d had concerns about his literacy – especially his writing and spelling. I’d met with his teachers numerous times asking about his literacy and was repeatedly told that he was fine.
In third grade, he did the mandatory basic skills testing and the results confirmed that all was not fine.
I was really upset.
I wasn’t upset with him. Or even the teachers. I was upset with myself. Because I’d known in my gut that something wasn’t right. I just hadn’t known how to confirm it. I think I had wanted to believe he was just a reluctant reader.
So I finally had confirmation that there was a problem, but I still didn’t know what to do about it. We went to a national tutoring company for an assessment and to start small group tutoring.
At the same time, our son had also been having outbursts of anger. So we went to a new child psychologist. It was her work that determined the source of his anger was a learning difficulty. (Kids who are really bright but have learning difficulties can get very frustrated because they don’t understand why they can’t do the work other kids are doing).
We found a remedial literacy tutor to do a thorough assessment and he began 1:1 tutoring for his specific difficulty. (The national tutoring company we had been using was fine for tutoring gaps in knowledge but not trained to remediate reading difficulties!) Finally we had the help we needed and it worked.
The experience we had with our first son helped immeasurably with assisting our second son whose reading problems are more severe.
So here’s what I’ve learned:
Clues to Help Parents Spot Reading Problems Early
- Do the home reading each night with your kids. If you don’t see a steady advancement in reader levels, talk to the teacher.
- Attitude – What is your kid’s attitude towards reading? Is it negative? Does your kid read for fun? Does she excitedly bring home books from the library and then stop after a few pages? Does he complain of his eyes or tummy hurting or being tired when it’s time to read?
- Behavior – Is your child exhibiting behavior problems? Kids can act up or withdraw to thwart attention from their reading problems (subconsciously of course!). Our older son had a lot of anger. Our younger son went through full assessments for ADHD but his behavior stemmed from audio processing and dyslexia.
- Family history – Look at family history. Is there a history of learning difficulties or dyslexia in the family? Don’t just look at yourselves as parents. Look at uncles, aunts, grandparents and cousins.
- Trust your gut! If you think there is a problem, but everyone is saying things are fine, it’s worth investigating further for your own peace of mind.
4 Things to do if You Think Your Kid has a Reading Problem but You’re Not Sure
- Talk to the teacher – The first step is to talk to the teacher, but don’t stop there. Many teachers have little training on dealing with learning difficulties.
- Get your kid’s hearing and eyes checked.
- Literacy assessment – My strongest advice is to get an independent literacy assessment done. They aren’t cheap, but if you get the right assessment done early, you will save so much time and money in the long run. And most importantly, if your child does have a learning difficulty, she can be helped before her behavior and self esteem suffer more. So where do you go? Not all tutoring companies provide assessments that can identify a learning difficulty. In fact, many national companies are great for tutoring gaps in learning but not at identifying a learning difficulty. So go to companies that have specialist literacy resources and remediation for kids with dyslexia. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
- Embrace the information, don’t resist it. It took me a while to accept that my children had reading difficulties and that delayed me getting more informed. I’ve spoken to scores of other parents who felt the same way. It can be hard to accept “reading difficulty” or “dyslexia” as a “label”. But denial won’t help your kid. Information and the correct remediation will.
I’ve seen the impact of reading problems on behavior and self esteem first hand. I’ve known the frustrations of not knowing what to do for my sons. And I’ve talked to scores of other parents who’ve had the same experiences I’ve had. Trust your gut! If you’re concerned about your child’s reading, have him assessed. There are terrific remedial resources available and they work.
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The review "Treasurereading.com – Reading With Kids" was last updated on 22/06/2009.