Children who have been diagnosed with ADHD might also have dyslexia, which can complicate the process of learning how to read. If you believe your child is struggling with reading, keep reading to learn about helpful tips and ways to improve your child's reading skills.
In addition, if your child has a reading difficulty, supporting them by understanding why they are struggling or how come your child can't focus in school as early as possible will help them not only in their early academic years, but well into adulthood.
Helping Struggling Readers
If your child is having difficulty in school, whether it is difficulty reading or difficulty with math, it can be overwhelming and stressful for parents. However, if you are prepped with the resources and skills necessary, you will be better able to help your child overcome their difficulties in school. Therefore, remembering that you, as a parent, are the absolute best advocate for your child is crucial in knowing what to do and how to effectively support them.
Ensuring that your child has the best opportunity to become a successful reader might include considering if your child needs extra help, consulting with your child's teachers, asking the school for support, being flexible, and considering a tutor for your child with ADHD.
Consider if Your Child Needs Additional Help
Experts recommend that if your child is beginning to fall behind their classmates in reading, don't wait. For instance, it might not necessarily be a good idea to wait and see if your child will "grow out of it."
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), 95% of children who have trouble learning to read can reach grade level if they were to receive specialized help.
If your child is in preschool and you are beginning to notice these reading difficulties, call the main office of your child's school district and ask for the "Child Find" program. This program requires school districts to assess preschool children for free if academic problems are suspected.
In addition, discussing these concerns with your child's pediatrician is another step in the right direction. Your child's doctor will assess for issues with vision and hearing to rule out any physical problems that could be contributing to difficulties with reading. A pediatrician will also be able to discuss what is appropriate based on your child's development and age.
Consult with Your Child's Teacher
If your child is struggling with reading, consider making an appointment to discuss these concerns with your child's teacher. This will allow you the opportunity to ask questions about the specific issues your child is having, how they are doing compared to their peers, what reading group they are in, as well as any reading tips your child's teacher can provide.
Meeting with your child's teacher will also put you both on the same page for developing plans to improve your child's reading ability. This can include as a parent, supporting your child at home and setting up a reading homework plan as well as your teacher accommodating your child's needs within the classroom. Together, you and your child's teacher can create a positive experience and help your child achieve success within the classroom.
Ask the School for Support
If you believe that your child is struggling with reading skills, write a letter to your child's principal to request a school specialist to review your child's progress. Once this letter is received, the school will decide if your child should be evaluated for speech, language delays, ADHD, dyslexia, and other conditions that might have an effect on your child's reading level.
Recommended reading: How to Help a Child with ADHD Learn to Read: Expert Tips
In addition, keep a written record of each person you talk to and meet with. This will be a helpful tool in keeping track of dates and plans in place, in writing, to make sure your child is receiving the support that they need to succeed.
If you feel that you are not receiving the proper support from your child's school, also consider having your child be evaluated by an independent expert. An independent expert, such as a clinical psychologist or neuropsychologist will be able to assess your child and perform an "independent education evaluation." However, there is likely a fee associated with this type of evaluation.
Consider a Tutor to Build Reading Skills
If you believe that your child needs extra support at home with reading, then hiring a tutor can be a good option. Experienced tutors have specialized knowledge and education in working with children who have reading or learning disabilities.
Therefore, tutors will be able to spend one on one time teaching your struggling reader basic skills, literacy skills, reading comprehension, reading fluency, and phonemic awareness, and the written word.
Let Your Child Choose What They Read
Giving your child autonomy and allowing them to have choices on what to read at home is a great way to improve their reading skills. For instance, research has indicated that you can help children improve their reading skills and mitigate reading difficulties by allowing them to select their own reading material.
Some fun ideas can include taking a trip to the local library and encouraging your child to choose what books they would like to read. Your local librarian can also provide you and your child with resources which could include digital options, such as audiobooks for listening.
Giving your child the option to choose books that are of interest to them will increase their confidence in reading and help them better perform in the classroom.
Be Flexible (To an Extent)
As a parent, it is important to remain flexible and supportive for your child. Being a child who experiences reading difficulties can be stressful and emotional at times, but it is important to encourage and support your child through the learning process.
Don't feel like you are in a race to get your child caught up to his peers. Follow your child's lead as you work with your child at home, as they will develop at their own pace with the proper resources in place.
Support Your Child at Home
There are a multitude of ways to provide your child with the support in their reading abilities, at home. Not only allowing your child to choose their own reading material, but making reading a part of the daily routine is an effective tool in building these skills.
Keep reading to learn more about the strategies that can be implemented in home to help your child with reading difficulties.
Read Aloud to Your Child
When you read aloud to your child, you are allowing them to learn various skills that are required in reading. This can include phonemes, cadence, fluency, and comprehension. When reading to your child, read slowly and clearly so that they are able to relax into reading.
Make Reading a Part of the Routine
As a family, you can make reading a fun part of the day. There are so many opportunities throughout the day where your child can be exposed to reading and books. Driving in the car? Listen to an audiobook.
In addition, read a book each night before bed, so that your child will eventually associate reading as a fun and calming activity rather than boredom or fear of failure. Children with the repetition and practice will naturally have an improvement in their reading skills.
Limit Screen Time
As a parent, it is important to monitor your child's screen time and promote alternative activities like spending time outside, going for a walk, or taking a trip to the local library. Screen time affects children's sleep and has been linked to academic performance in school.
Introduce Sight Words
Sight words are high frequency words that children are encouraged to memorize as a whole by sight, without having to rely on strategies to decode. Some of these words that are often learned in kindergarten can include: be, but, have, do, he, she, they, was, what, with.
You can introduce these words to your child by writing them on flashcards and placing the flash cards around the house. To make it even more fun for your child, you can make a game out of this by flashing a flashlight on the word when you are in the dark and having your child read it.
If your child is having difficulties reading, it can be stressful for the whole family. However, there are proven interventions that are deemed effective in building your child's reading level not only at school, but at home as well.
The first step is discussing with your child's teacher your concerns and coming up with a plan to improve your child's reading skills. From there, considering extra support at home, limiting screen time, allowing your child to choose books, and reading aloud to your child are just some of the few helpful strategies to incorporate into your daily routine and promote a successful reader!
How Joon Can Help Your Child with ADHD
Joon is an app designed for children with ADHD to help motivate them to complete daily tasks. Joon utilizes a video game platform that will make routine tasks more fun for children (ages 6-12).
Joon is easily to manage and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. As a parent, all you have to do assign routine tasks as Quests and the app will do the rest! Your child will have the opportunity to choose a virtual pet to feed, wash, and grow by completing tasks that are assigned to them. These tasks can include anything from reading 10 pages of their book to brushing their teeth!
With Joon, your child will be given the tools to learn important life skills that teach independence and foster success!
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