Why Can't My Child Read?
Your child may have one or more of these problems that prevent her or him from reading.
Does your child have a strong grasp of the alphabet and its phonetic sounds? Does he or she know the exceptions to the rule of pure phonics, such as silent "e"? Sight-reading, memorizing words instead of phonetic rules, has drawbacks in that a child isn't able to sound out new words.
Is your child unable to write well? The elements of writing, from penmanship to writing sentences and stories, pave the way for reading.
Is your child unable to spell, even phonetically? This skill is another important part of writing, which precedes reading. Your child doesn't need to have perfect spelling, but he or she should be able to approximate how words should be spelled.
Does your child have delayed or poor large motor skills? Some children miraculously learn to read after taking karate or gymnastics for six months.
Did your child crawl as a baby? Crawling is crucial for developing hand-eye coordination and large motor skills. If your child didn't crawl much as an infant, you may find that working on these skills improves her reading.
Was your child born prematurely? We found that our students who were premature often had difficulty hearing the sounds of letters. These children need extra attention with their listening skills.
Do you read to your child too much? I am guilty here. I read so much to my children that they didn't have to read. Take turns and read together, even if your child can only read one word to begin with.
Is your child a logical thinker? It is difficult for deductive thinkers to generalize when approaching all the inconsistencies of the English language. These kids are usually great in math and science, but may take longer to get the hang of reading.
Is your child visual? Many of these children love the shapes and colors of books. They love the illustrations and even the shape of the letters. The text is usually the least important aspect of the book. These kids will eventually learn to read but they have different priorities when reading a book. Visual children tend to be very creative.
Does your child watch too much television? When I lived in Germany in the 1970's, there was very little to watch on television. As a result, the children read far above their grade levels.
Does your child have a learning disability? It is very important that your child is given the right program to teach him or her coping skills for reading. If your child has a learning disability, don't get discouraged. I believe that almost every children can be taught to read.
Has your child been placed in a low reading group? Reading groups are very discouraging to children who are already struggling with reading. Also, lower level reading groups can track your child in classes that limit his or her potential. Although your school's teacher may feel confident with placing your child in a certain reading group, speak with them. Perhaps you can have your child tutored by a classroom volunteer, teacher's aide, or older student. Reading groups can take away self-confidence and self esteem.
How old were you or your spouse when you started to master reading? Sometimes late readers run in families. There isn't a magic age when we all start to read.
How does the school approach reading? Are the classrooms over crowded? Is there a reading curriculum that parents can study? Do the teachers take into account different learning styles and needs for their students?
Are you listening to your child? Often the person who knows how to help is your own child. Ask questions and try to understand what your child is saying. Sometimes the solution is right in front of you.