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Learning to read can be hard for some kids. Having a struggling reader at home can be even tougher for parents. You may have tried everything you can think of to help, but sometimes all those suggestions just make things worse. Usually, kids struggling with reading just need a little extra time. In the meantime, here are some everyday strategies that can help.
Give Emotional Support
Children need to know that even though they are struggling, they are loved and that you are not judging them. Emerging readers need to know that they are special and important. Self-esteem can hit an all-time low during this time. If parents are adding more negativity, it just makes the situation worse. This may seem obvious, but it can be just as hard for a parent to stay positive as it is for a struggling reader.
Praise your child a lot even for the small things. Don't just say, "Nice Job." Think about what you are saying. For example, "I see you using the pictures to help you figure out the text. That's a great strategy." Or even, "Wow, I like that you are checking to make sure your reading makes sense."
Have Lots of Books Available
It's important to have lots of books in your house, but it is even more important to have books at your child's reading level. If you have books that your child can't read, it will emphasize what they can't read, rather than what they can. Even if some of the books are very basic, they will help them feel successful.
Read to Your Child
Just because your child is learning to read, doesn't mean that you should stop reading to them! While you're reading, track the words with your finger. Stop every so often to ask questions about what you have read. Read books that your child likes and if she asks you to, read the same books over and over again. This gives children a sense of security and familiarity, at a time when they're learning something new.
Hire a Tutor
Sometimes it can be really hard to be the tutor and the parent. Call in reinforcements! Ask your child's teacher to recommend someone, or check the local library for a struggling readers programs.
Finally, stay positive! Often after struggling to read, something just clicks, and reading happens. Until then, be supportive of your child and do everything you can to make them feel successful. Because ultimately, they get their cues from you.
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