22 Jan · Tim Carter · No Comments

A child that is reading below their grade level will often become frustrated or completely give up on their schoolwork. Parents and teachers may also find themselves at wit’s end and unsure of where to turn for assistance. For these families, it may be time to take a look at these six tips that will not help a child improve their reading level, but also help them develop a lifelong passion for reading.

1. Speak with the School

The first and most difficult step of this process is establishing that a problem even exists. Many times, children with a lower reading level may show signs that are difficult to pinpoint such as acting up in class or letting their grades slip. It is important for parents to speak with the teacher, the school’s counselor, and any other specialists they have access to in order to ensure that reading is the culprit of these problems.

2. Create a “Reading” Home

Instead of leaving the reading to school, parents should strive to make a “reading” home that promotes this activity every single day. This begins by having a comfortable and cozy place available at all times for children to read. This is especially important for children that are struggling to read as outside distractions, toys laying around, or a nearby TV could complicate the process. It is also important to have engaging reading material throughout the house and even in the car.

3. Make a Reading Schedule

While studies on the subject do vary slightly, most specialists agree that it will require at least 15 minutes a day of dedicated work to improve reading skills. Ideally, parents will want to set aside at least 30 minutes a day for reading and making it a family activity is a great way to get everyone involved. This is also a great time for children to practice reading out loud to other family members or help them break through learning plateaus with everyone ready to help them as soon as they begin struggling.

4. Keep Up With Progress

Having a child improve their reading is going to require constant attention and changes to what they are actually reading. Depending on a wide variety of factors, children may be moving up a reading level in as little as a few months, and this means that parents need to stay on top of their child’s progress. This is just another reason that daily family reading sessions in the home are so invaluable.

5. Search for Reading Problems

If the child is still struggling, it may be time to begin pinpointing exact problems that are affecting their reading. Parents have a number of methods to do this but they want to focus on some basic cognitive skills first. As a child gets better at reading, they should be able to continuously sound out new words, identify sight words, and use context to decipher new words. They should also be absorbing the material that they read and be able to understand the basics of characters and storylines.

6. Know When It Is Time to Find Help

If parents and the school have taken an active role in promoting reading to the child and they are still not consistently improving, it is time to speak with a specialist. A reading tutor or other specialist may be able to identify specific issues that are affecting a child’s reading such as the need for glasses or a disability. Catching these problems early on is the absolute best away to limit frustration for all those involved.

Just as with any other major skill, reading is are going to take time, patience, and focus. With a few simple tips and tricks parents may be able to improve their child’s rate of development and even create a lifelong passion for reading.

Tim Carter

I’m Tim Carter, a thirty something year old, husband, father, childcare owner, and chocolate brownie lover. I believe children deserve better and only hope this blog will create a little change.