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Tue, 31 Aug, 2021

How to Overcome Common Reading Difficulties in Children

reading difficulties in children

Despite working hard on early literacy to make reading easier for your child, you may find them struggling with elementary reading skills. Experts say that most children who get timely help with reading difficulties gain fluency and comprehension soon. On the other hand, if a child is not offered support for improving reading skills – it may impact their learning for life.

The development of reading habits from an early age helps children do better at school, expand their vocabulary, and enhance their confidence. The first step in helping children overcome their reading difficulties is identifying the issues they are struggling with.

5 Most Common Reading Problems Among Children

  1. Decoding Issues or Problems with Sounding Out Words

    Decoding issues can be understood as the problem of associating sounds with the written alphabet. Beginner readers struggle with new or unfamiliar combinations of letters. Still, by practising phonics and reading aloud, decoding can be made easy.

  2. Difficulty in Comprehension

    Reading involves comprehension at various levels. It includes alphabet recognition, understanding the meaning of different words and phrases, and comprehending the text at a sentence and paragraph level. Poor comprehension skills make reading cognitively challenging. It can also demotivate a child from developing a reading habit.

  3. Mixed Difficulties

    Children may have mixed difficulties that prevent them from reading well. This mixture of problems can include decoding, comprehension, phonemic challenges, or physical impairments such as dyslexia.

  4. Retention Difficulties

    Good retention skills include high-level cognitive abilities, memory, and the ability to group and retrieve related ideas. From the third grade onwards, memorizing is an integral part of schoolwork. But retention or committing what you read to memory can be a challenge for some children.

  5. Speed

    As students reach higher reading levels, they improve their vocabulary in English, get better at reading comprehension and retention. All this helps in increasing the reading speed of your child. If reading speed does not improve as the reading level progresses, the child may have a slow processing issue with cognitively demanding tasks like reading.

Now that we are familiar with the different a child may face let’s look at some strategies that can help.

7 Techniques That Help Children Overcome Reading Difficulties

  1. Memorize Sight Words & Environmental Cues

    This is a fluency strategy that helps children recall words faster to improve overall fluency in English. Use flashcards to memorize sight words or names of everyday things that appear in the child’s surroundings. If the child can recall more words this way, it improves vocabulary and fluency.

  2. Activate Ideas & Thinking Strategies

    To encourage a reading habit, discuss what you are about to read by activating a child’s prior knowledge of the subject. Showing pictures, mind-maps, titles, or skimming the text helps children get the central idea of the text they will read and improves comprehension.

  3. Build Vocabulary

    Building a broad vocabulary can help children recognize more words as they read. Some ideas for improving vocabulary in English include providing glossaries, pre-teaching key terms before reading, and using flashcards. Learning words in context also makes them easier to remember.

  4. Reciprocal Teaching

    Reciprocal teaching is an excellent technique to reinforce the understanding of concepts taught to a child or enhance the comprehension of a text they have read. Assign different roles such as questioner, summarizer, clarifier, and predictor to help initiate the discussion and give students a leadership role in their learning process.

  5. Visual Imagery & Audiobooks

    For children who respond better to visual cues, choose books that have detailed illustrations alongside written text. You could also ask the child to draw a picture of what they understand from a reading text. Secondly, buy audiobooks as an accompaniment to hard copies of books. Encourage your child to read along as they listen to the book.

  6. The Dolch List

    Teaching children words that repeatedly appear across children’s worksheets and textbooks can help them decode the text faster. The Dolch list consists of high-frequency terms that commonly occur in children’s books.

  7. Does Your Child Need Extra Help?

    Lastly, the most essential thing for a parent is to take involvement in your child’s daily reading practice and observe their reading pattern to find out if your child needs help. You can also talk to the teachers in school to know their observations or visit a pediatrician who can comment on the child’s cognitive development.

If you are a parent with a child who is facing reading difficulties, you are not alone. Many students face reading challenges at the beginner level. It is essential to seek timely interventions to maximize your child’s opportunities for success. Offering the proper support to your child when they need it the most can help your child gain confidence and learn new skills with a positive attitude.