How to Help Your Child Read at Grade Level
If you're child is not reading at grade level, whether they're in first, third or fifth grade, the first thing to do isn't to freak out. Parents advisor Cathy Vatterott, Ph.D., professor emeritus at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and author of Rethinking Homework, says to ask yourself these three questions first, then go from there.
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1. Who says your child is struggling?
If the problem was revealed through school testing or her teacher's concern, then you should figure out which assessment was used and ask what issues it found. But opinions of other parents and comparisons with what other children in her grade are reading aren't valid reasons to worry.
2. Why is she not reading at grade level?
Reading is a complex process. If your child tests below grade level, this could point to several possible causes, like word-recognition or decoding issues or even vision or hearing problems (each of which requires a different type of intervention). Once you learn which reading behaviors might be factors, rest assured that her teacher and reading specialist have many tools available to help her get to the next level.
3. What can you do together at home?
Allow your kid's interests to drive what she reads. (She loves dogs? Find every book you can about them!) Your child's teacher and reading specialist might also suggest ways to support her improvement, such as having you read to her, having her read to you (and the dog!), talking with her about what she's reading, getting her to reread a book she liked, or letting her write her own story to read.
Finally, relax. You don't want your worries to affect your child's confidence. Reading is supposed to be fun, not an anxious chore.
Reading also requires a degree of neurological maturity, that not all children have at the same age. Especially those with ADHD, or other challenges. Their comprehension of the concept of letters having sounds, and meaning in written form, may come later. The problem is that by the time the school system acknowledges this fact, a child may be so far behind his peers that he will never catch up, and his self-eteem has suffered greatly. In thee cases it really is best to hold a child back during the first 3 grade levels, when it will do the most good, and the least emotional damage. JUST TRY explaining that concept to a school system that INSISTS on passing a child up the ladder, when they clearly have NOT met the goals for their grade level.Read More