This question came from anxious parents who wants to know if their son has reading difficulties and how does one go about improving a child’s reading skills.
Dear Teacher Stella,
We have a 7-year old son who still has difficulty reading. It takes him os long to read a sentence as simple as “a frog is on the sled”; he even reads some of the words incorrectly. He’ll be grade 1 this coming June, and we don’t know how he will be able to cope. We don’t understand why he is having so much difficulty reading. Could he have that reading disorder or disability we’ve been hearing about lately?
Dear Anxious Parents,
Reading is a complex task that is dependent on many factors. Before you jump into the conclusion that your child may have a reading disorder or disability, here are some questions I need you to answer. These may provide clues as to whether your child has the requirements for reading.
Does he have good vision and eyesight?
Reading is a highly visual task and it starts with having good vision to break down a word.
Can he connect sounds to letters and blend these sounds to form syllables or 3-letter words?
These skills are important for beginning reading. They pave the way for an emergent reader to decode words independently.
Is he often being read to? Does he show interest in books (e.g. chooses a book, scans a book?)
Research shows that reading aloud to children appears to be the most important activity for building the knowledge and skills needed for reading success.
Does he have a positive attitude towards learning? Is he generally motivated?
In my experience with children,those who appear less motivated are often the ones who have difficulty in acquiring the necessary skills for reading.
Is he familiar with the language used in the reading material?
It is said that children who are exposed to a wide range of words during conversation will easily read the words they will later encounter in books.
Many factors interplay when a child reads. It would also take various forms of assessment before saying that a child has a reading disability. As a start you can reflect on these questions and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can hone in on what area you son may need to work on.
About the Author:
Stella Marie Cabilao is the Director of Academics of Dynamic Minds. She has a bachelors degree in Psychology and a masters degree in Education specializing in Reading from the University of the Philippines.