5 tips to help your kid learn to read
Growing up, my brother was always the star in his class. He was the athlete, went the extra mile to win in games, and was able to solve math problems in ways some of us weren’t even interested in. And yet, I remember how at age seven or eight I’d try to talk a conversation out of him with my hand, “You need to read this,” I’d say. “But you are such a good reader that you can read and you can count, and you are a great sportsman,” I’d say. And there’d be an awkward silence.
Where did that come from? How did we get lost in figuring out how he was different? How did it begin?
For parents, “youth” are often the worst. We think that because they are “youth,” they don’t need help. As adults, we think we don’t need to help them. And when we tell them they can “just do it,” the guilt sets in before they even reach the reading stage.
I can tell you firsthand – I have a rare genetic disorder that changes each of our brains and can make it hard for us to “read” words from the pages of books. Just like every child, I am gifted at math and, although I am trying hard to learn to read, there are times I remember how at 7 years old, I cried – convinced I was no longer a “book” reader.
Parents need to pay attention. While it’s nice to be proud of a child, it doesn’t do them any good to assume that the more innate reading skills they have, the stronger they will be. Knowing the difference between gifted and weak children who might need extra help is critical. Here are five tips to help you keep your kid’s abilities at a peak:
1. Talk to your children. Your favorite child or your favorite parent? Talk to both. The earlier you are exposed to your child’s wants and needs, the more trust and confidence you will have in helping them through this stage.
2. Know what your child needs. It’s your job to figure that out and set goals together to help them reach those needs. Many kids start with their parents and then go on to therapists, tutors, or book carts at the library. However, it’s also helpful to go to bookstores and ask a salesperson at a major retailer or a parent of a gifted child what books you may want to avoid as you help your child with their reading. Or, let your child know you want them to find books by people with the same dyslexia that you do.
3. Talk about research. Go to your local library or local math teacher’s office to find out where you can go to find resources in your area about dyslexia and reading. Then ask them: Who should you look for in terms of book authors and publishers? In math, who can help provide a toolbox of both real and fictitious math problems that may help children better understand whether reading about a math problem is a sound practice or not?
4. Read to your child. Talk about books you loved when you were kids, current books that might sound good, and the books you gave as gifts. Don’t just let them open a book or two and try to work it out themselves, but read as much as you can – all the way through the book.
5. Research dyslexia. The American Dyslexia Association, National Institute of Mental Health, and National Center for Educational Statistics all provide excellent information and support. They all offer tips and resources online and in their respective publications that will help support your child’s reading comprehension.
Holly Korbey, MSN, RN is a licensed professional counselor in small groups and private practice. She is passionate about helping children, teens, adults, and couples address life’s difficulties with love, kindness, grace, and a level head.
Get your FREE PDF copy of her new eBook “Fetal and Postpartum Depression,” at www.DivorceRealityCheck.com