How to Identify if Your Child is Struggling with Reading
Learning to read is a complex process that starts in the early years of childhood.
In the first couple years of life, kids who are read to by parents and caregivers begin to memorize passages in some of their favorite books and can answer questions about what they see on the pages. By preschool, kids usually recognize some letters and engage in basic rhyming. By kindergarten, kids start identifying letter sounds and in the next couple of years, can read and understand easy sentences. Ultimately, most kids are readers by the time they’re six or seven years old.
In addition, playing rhyming games, singing songs together and pointing out words on street signs or product labels at the grocery store also contribute to the reading process.
Reading milestones are general, however. Kids learn to read at different rates—some before kindergarten and some, a few years later—but most kids’ reading skills even out by 2nd or 3rd grade and the disparity in reading ability is much less noticeable.
Nevertheless, there are times when a child continues to struggle to grasp the basics of reading. If you’re concerned that your child isn’t progressing normally along the path to fluent reading and reading comprehension, this post is for you!
Signs your child may be struggling with reading
Reading is an involved process that requires your child to recognize letters, letter sounds, words, meaning and eventually, context.
If this process is difficult for your child, you may notice one or many of the following signs:
- They have a hard time remembering or recognizing letters
- Rhyming is challenging
- They speak fluently much later than their peers
- Reading aloud is slow and laborious
- They have a hard time identifying even the most common words they’ve seen many times
- They transpose letters in words or reverse words in sentences
- They remove words from sentences or add words that aren’t there
- They struggle to answer basic questions about a text they just read
- They have a difficult time with spelling
- They struggle with decoding syllables or individual words
- They frequently complain that they “don’t like” or “hate” reading
If your child is struggling with reading, they may exhibit other seemingly unrelated signs as well. Some of these signs include difficulty understanding opposites or following multi-step directions, difficulty telling or retelling a story in order or difficulty managing time and materials.
Don’t blame yourself
When parents realize their child is struggling with reading, they often blame themselves.
I should have started reading with my child at an earlier age.
I should have been more consistent with bedtime reading.
Maybe I should have followed a “teach your child to read” process instead of just simply reading to them.
Why didn’t I pick up on their reading issues sooner?
The reality is, however, that reading struggles often stem from weak cognitive skills which begin to develop early in childhood. These skills can be weak or underdeveloped for a variety of reasons and make reading, decoding and comprehension difficult or impossible.
Sometimes parents are “too close to the forest to see the trees” and learn from teachers or other caregivers that their child is struggling. If that happens, don’t feel bad about it! The most important thing is knowing how to proceed when a reading delay is detected.
What you can do to help your struggling child
At LearningRx, we know that strong cognitive skills are foundational for reading success. That’s why we recommend that when parents first contact us about their struggling reader, they take our free brain quiz and our cognitive skills assessment. This gives us a thorough idea of where their child is at and, if weak cognitive skills seem to underlie the current reading challenges, a launching point from which we can propose a customized brain training program that targets their child’s specific needs.
We have more than three decades of experience helping children and adults who struggle with reading and/or dyslexia and we’ve watched our students achieve huge gains!
Our clients consistently improve their auditory processing, long-term memory and broad attention skills, all of which make reading easier. In fact, in a study we performed with 2,112 of our clients who were struggling with reading and dyslexia, auditory processing skills improved an average of 5.3 years and overall cognitive skills performance improved over 3.6 years—a testament to the brain’s ability to learn and grow.