Why Can’t My Child Read?

shutterstock_106141868There are many different factors that can affect why your child is having difficulties reading. Your child may not particularly like reading, they may have other interests and skills, or they may have a learning disability, as well as a multitude of other reasons. All of these reasons are perfectly able to be worked with, and their reading can still improve with encouragement and practice. We do, however, have some handy hints and tips to try and shed some light as to why it seems like they cannot read very well, as well as what you can do to help them.

  • Some children may find that they can’t re-read a word in a sentence that they just sounded out, and it may seem as though they are having trouble with remembering and comprehending the full sentence. This can be an indication that the books or reading material may be too advanced for your child. Next time you go to a bookstore or library, ask your child to read a sentence or two and see how they manage with the book. Asking them to choose will give them the ability to choose books they think they will enjoy, as well as give them the opportunity to become more involved in books and the reading process.
  • One of the most common learning disabilities includes dyslexia. Dyslexia is a language-based disability in which a person may have trouble understanding words, sentences, and/or paragraphs. Some early signs of learning difficulties include pronunciation problems, late talking compared to others, difficulty rhyming words, easily distracted, trouble interacting with other children, and trouble learning the alphabet and numbers. If your child is having any of the mentioned problems, it may be advisable to seek health advice from a medical practitioner.
  • Some children may not show much interest in learning words, or they may forget them easily the next day. Teaching a child sight words when they are not developmentally prepared can cause them to lose interest quite quickly and forget what has been taught. In this case, it is best to try and incorporate simple learning tasks in everyday events, such as reading a cereal box at breakfast or a sign on the street as you walk past it. You can also provide letter magnets on the fridge to play with, which will help with the recognition of letters and forming of words without your child feeling “bogged down” to learning sight words on demand.
  • shutterstock_50884702If your child is having problems remembering sight words, flash cards are a great tool to use to help them along. They are easy to make at home and relatively cheap (if you use items you already have at home then they’re free!). If you’re good at drawing, try and add some interesting and colourful images with the flashcards you make. But if you’re not savvy with a pencil, you can always download some images on the Internet which you can then use for your flash cards.
  • If your child wants to be a little more active in the role of learning sight words, you can try and do activities that encourages them to write or draw the words. Think outside the box and don’t stick to the classic pen and paper method. It may be more fun to head to the beach and write words in the sand or even using chalk on some concrete outside might be a little more entertaining.

Whether your child has a learning disability or not, there are many things we can do as parents which will still help your child to learn how to read and write efficiently, and at a pace that is going to be comfortable for them.

  • Always remember to notice your child’s successes. It’s easy to look at what your child is struggling with, either at school or at home, and focus on the problems they may be having with learning. But your child will be successful in other ways. Maybe your child is an excellent artist and can draw very well. Try and draw on these achievements, and ensure you encourage what they can do. You could even try and incorporate what they can do with reading, by reading them a story and asking them to draw a picture reflecting the story. They will feel like they’re included in the reading process in a way that is a lot easier for them.
  • Don’t get too tied up in what milestones your child has or hasn’t reached in their reading skills. The most important thing to do is to set realistic goals for your child and work with those goals. Everyone learns differently and at different paces. Just because your child may not be at the relevant grade level of reading, does not mean that one day they won’t be. Instead, focus on what they are doing well in and encourage them slowly every day to work on realistic goals that you set. Positive reinforcement is a necessity, so be sure to provide some rewards for when they reach their goals.
  • Reading aloud to your child is doing more good than you know. Even if a child is having problems to read by themselves or understand sight words, by having a parent read to them each day they can follow along with the words and learn to recognize where words are associating with their sound. Not only does it allow them to use their imagination as you read to them, they will of course enjoy spending quality time with you every day.
  • Support your child as much as you can. Children will notice if you work closely with your teacher to provide all of the support that they need. If they see that you are stressed or upset that they cannot read or write very well, it will only hinder their development and make them feel self-conscious in their efforts. Try to help them each day, and encourage them positively whenever you can. They will notice there is great support around them, and will feel more at ease in learning to read and write at a pace that they feel comfortable at.