Reading Problems: How to Correct Reading Problems in Kids

Reading problems can affect a child's performance in every subject because every class involves some amount of reading. It can also cause real-life problems if a child is unable to read street signs and names on buildings. If your child is having difficulty reading, use the following activities for extra practice at home.

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Ways to Help Your Child Read

Identify the Problem

Parents can track a student's progress by looking at test scores, maintaining open communication with teachers and helping their child with assignments at home. Listen to your child read aloud to look for specific issues with fluency. Some students struggle with sounding out words, which can cause frustration and a lack of comprehension. You can read to your child and ask him comprehension questions. He may also lack the vocabulary to understand what's happening in the story.

Fluency Training

If your child is struggling to read a text aloud smoothly and fluently, then she may lack the ability to sound out words. To review, start with a very simple word, like 'bat', which has three phonemes, or sounds: 'b', 'a' and 't'. Have your child point to each letter and make the sound. Then, blend all the sounds together.

Depending on your child's age and reading level, she may only struggle with multisyllabic words. It can be helpful to break long words apart into smaller, more recognizable parts. For instance, 'unbreakable' can be broken into the prefix un, the base word break and the suffix able. For practice, give your child a list of long words and ask her to circle the parts of the word that she recognizes. For instance, in the word microscope, she might circle 'micro,' which gives her a clue that a microscope has to do with small things.

Sight words are words that can be recognized instantly, like 'the,' 'and' and 'she.' Often, they are words that are difficult to sound out. Learning sight words can help your child's fluency because it reduces the amount of words that she has to decode on the page. To practice these at home, write some sight words on note cards. Read the words aloud, and have your child repeat the words a few times. Then, mix them up and quiz her.

Increasing Comprehension

In order to increase comprehension, sometimes you must increase vocabulary skills. Teach your child to use context clues to decode unfamiliar words. Context clues are the words that surround an unknown word that give 'clues' for its definition. Consider the following sentence: 'Julie went to the pharmacy to pick up her prescription.' Here, 'pharmacy' is a context clue because it provides a context for the unknown word (prescription).

Your child can also increase his comprehension by becoming active reader. Before beginning a text, have him read the summary and look at the pictures to predict what the story or the chapter will be about. Then, after reading, ask your child questions about the text. For instance, ask him to name his favorite character or part of the story. Questions like these will help him make a personal connection with the text and will encourage him to continue thinking actively about the story as he reads.

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