Lots of people want to give labels to why their child is having reading difficulties, but if you can get to the gist of why your child is unmotivated or struggling in reading you can also find the answers of how to fix the problem. Some of the reasons children are struggling in reading can be very simple and fixable. Yet, of course, others are more complicated. But every child can learn. Therefore, every child can learn to read.
Let’s look at some of the reasons children have difficulties in reading. This list starts with the simple, easy to fix problems first and progresses to more serious issues with learning.
1. Familiarity with books
Simply put, these children are uninterested in books, because they haven’t got to look at books, play with books, or explore books for fun. These children just need to have books in their hand and enjoy turning the pages and looking at the pages. They need an adult to sit down with them and just talk about the pictures, talk about what they think is happening in the story, and what they think will happen next.
Why would children be unmotivated to read? Well, there can be many reasons. This is where you have to look at lots of things including yourself and your teaching. Here’s some reasons why he/she might not be motivated to read:
The books he is reading are too hard.
The kind of books that he’s reading are uninteresting to him.
3. Left handed children
Don’t get me wrong not all children who are left handed have problems in reading. But it is something to consider if your child is left handed and having problems in reading. Some times when children write with their left hand they curve their left hand over and write from the right side to the left side when writing letters. When they do this occasionally this causes the children to have directionality confusion. This means they think that we read words and sentences from right to left instead of left to right. This can be worked out, but it takes some specific, intentional teaching to fix the problem. See the page on left handed children for more information.
4. Hyperactive Kids
Hyperactive children need very controlled reading lessons with a very patient, calm person. You need to have the time limited, plan specific & detailed lessons, and plan a variety of activities. Example: You may read a page or book to them, then let them read a page or book to you, next you might do some word work on the board, then come back to read another book, last you might let them talk, draw or write about their favorite part based on what they can do. I have even let students that are hyperactive stand to read the book. My goal was to get this child reading and if he needed to stand to do it, as long as he was reading and not playing, then GREAT!
5. Below grade level
This is where most children are if they have difficulty reading. They just need tutoring. This does not mean going to get a tutor. If you are homeschooling, then you are your child’s tutor. Tutoring means breaking down the process to the child’s understanding.
6. Attention Disorder
Children with attention disorder have a hard time focusing on print. They are looking at the picture, all over the page, the table they are sitting at, the wall, everything but the print on the page. Print is usually small, not colorful, and they have to think about it. To them they will find some pretty and easy to look at. So, you have to direct their attention back to the print. One easy way to do that is by asking them questions such as Can you show me the first letter of that tricky word? What sound does it make? What would make sense in the story right here?
7. Learning Disorders
These days doctors have discovered that there are a variety of learning disorders, not just dyslexia. Some people want to put this label on, put them in a special education class, and say this child cannot read. But you cannot give up. Children can learn to read. You first have to find out what learning disability, if any at all, that your child has. Once you know then you can get the help needed. Check with your public school system. If they offer Reading Recovery in your school, then see if you can get a Reading Recovery teacher to tutor your child. You will not find anyone who can tutor your child better than a Reading Recovery teacher. Reading Recovery teachers worked mostly with first grade students, but they are well-trained and can work with any elementary age child.
Reading Difficulties are not cured by finding the right curriculum for your child. There is a reason your child is struggling in reading. It’s your responsibility to keep looking for the reason why your child is having problems. If you want to know more about each of these topic, click on the links below.
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