If you’re concerned because your Kindergarten child or first grader isn’t “reading” yet, take a deep breath and DO NOT worry…
Children at this age are functioning at very different stages of development, and the spectrum is vast. Some kids are ready to read before they enter Kindergarten while others are still processing through the building blocks, even into first and second grade. (Take this short quiz to see what your child’s dominant learning style is). The complexity of what it entails to actually become a reader is mind boggling but it all comes together in the end for most of us. So unless your child has some sort of severe learning disability please relax and rest easy.
The best thing you can do from a parental perspective is to read daily/nightly with your child. Point to the words as you read and talk about what’s going on in the pictures. Discuss and define vocabulary words that may be unfamiliar to them and most importantly, make it a FUN time!
Now, if you have an older child who’s struggling there are also many possible reasons why that might be so. Maybe they aren’t ready yet… right-brained learners usually aren’t ready to read until they’re 8-10 years old and most don’t become fluent until 11-13! Maybe they haven’t made the connection between the letter and the sound for all of the phonemes (sounds… there are 44 and it can be confusing!) in our English language. Maybe they aren’t reading fluently (quickly and with smoothness and expression) enough for the text to make sense. Maybe they don’t know what to do when they come to a word they can’t pronounce so they just make up words or skip over them. Maybe they aren’t making meaning as they read and therefore their comprehension is breaking down… they don’t understand what the words are saying.
The KEY is digging down deep enough to figure out the root cause for why a child is struggling. Once that’s been determined we can focus and move forward! And once your child feels confident and challenged, rather than frustrated and defeated, they will begin to make strong and steady progress.
Talk to your child’s teacher and see if he or she has determined the root cause (based upon observation and classroom data) for why they may be struggling. And as always, I’m only a phone call or email away so feel free to get in touch and I’ll be happy to assist!