Red Flags for Reading Problems (page 2)
Your 2-year-old doesn't make two-word sentences? Your 3-year-old doesn't enjoy listening to you read? These can be signals that your child will have trouble learning to read. What else should you be alert to?
A 3-year-old who doesn't notice rhymes;
A 4 year-old who still uses baby talk, doesn't say easy rhymes, drops the first syllable of a word ("lephant" for elephant) or puts sounds in the wrong order ("am-I-nal" instead of "animal");
A 5-year-old who can't suggest words that rhyme or separate words into syllables ("today" into "to" and "day"):
A 6-year-old who complains that reading is hard or can't determine which words start with the same sound.
Where should you go for help? Start with an ear exam. Most of these problems result from hearing issues: about 20 per cent of children need extra help distinguishing between letter sounds, especially such similar sounds as "B" and "D." The "sound map" in the brain, which makes it possible to tell one sound from another, becomes less flexible after age 8. Those who learn to read at 9 or later may continue to find reading difficult throughout life.
Sometimes a hearing problem-and that can mean a reading difficulty--- runs in families. In this case, it is especially important to get extra help in the preschool years.
Get your child's eyes tested by a specialist, too. The usual pediatrician's test only checks distance vision, the most common problem. Kids also need good close-up vision to tell the difference between letters like E and F. To see well, the brain must take two slightly different views (one from the left eye and one from the right eye) and put them together exactly. Otherwise we see "ond eog" instead of "one dog."
Used by permission from "Is This A Phase: Child Development and Parent Strategies, Birth to 6 Years," by pediatric nurse and parent educator Helen Fowler Neville.
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