Early identification is crucial when it comes to helping children who are having trouble learning to read. According to author Joseph K. Torgesen in his recent article Catch Them Before They Fall: Identification and Assessment to Prevent Reading Failure in Young Children, “One of the most compelling findings from recent reading research is that children who get off to a poor start in reading rarely catch up. As several studies have now documented, the poor first-grade reader almost invariably continues to be a poor reader.”
Those are frightening words for concerned parents as they watch young children struggle to master the skills necessary to become proficient readers.
But, hard science bears out the studies’ findings. In fact, brain imaging research shows that incorrect processing (sounding out of words, sight reading of words, etc.) found in beginning readers continues unless direct intervention occurs. So, children will not simply “grow out” of their reading difficulties on their own.
Reading requires specific skills
In Philip Gough’s “simple view of reading” (1996), two general types of skills and knowledge are required for proper reading comprehension:
- General language comprehension ability
- Ability to accurately and fluently identify the words in print
The roots of reading difficulties are varied
There are many reasons children may struggle with reading at an early age. And, many children face several challenges all at once. The most common include:
Lack of book experience. Some children enter kindergarten with well over 1000 hours of quality book experience with their parents, some with virtually none.
Self-esteem issues. Struggling readers are frequently embarrassed or ashamed to read in front of their peers because they are not yet proficient.
Incentive. If a struggling or poor reader sees himself as such, there may be little motivation to improve. A defeatist attitude soon becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Sight vocabulary deficiency. Poor readers (at all grade levels) have a slower than normal development of a “sight vocabulary” of words which they can read fluently and automatically.
4 steps parents can take to improve reading skills
- Parents should model reading as a pleasurable activity to encourage children’s literacy. According to Reading Rockets, “Help your child understand that reading is important (and fun) by letting him see you reading maps, books, recipes, and directions. Suggest reading as a free-time activity.”
- Find books that entice children to read. A weekly trip to the library keeps reading material fresh and exciting. Finding a book series that really hits home with kids is a surefire way to encourage interest.
- Identify early. Parents need to speak with teachers and find out exactly what reading skills are expected at each grade level. Tracking progress helps quickly identify issues as they arise.
- Use a variety of reading aids. According to FamilyEducation.com, “To help your children improve their reading, use textbooks, computer programs, books-on-tape, and other materials available in stores. Games are especially good choices because they let children have fun as they work on their skills.”
When more help is needed: Reading tutoring in Delaware
To get your family started on the path to improved literacy, Back to Basics Learning Dynamics has compiled a list of must-read children’s books by age category. These are some of our top picks that both children — and parents — will love.
And, if your child is struggling with reading skills, or simply needs a little extra help, Back to Basics Learning Dynamics in Wilmington, Delaware can help. In addition to our 1-on-1 tutoring for reading and reading comprehension for student of all ages, Back to Basics also offers a summer program to help kids conquer summer reading lists.
Our experienced instructors will work 1-on-1 with your student to read, comprehend, retain and apply summer reading material. These sessions will provide students with the knowledge and confidence to complete any required reading-related assignments, such as reports, projects and tests. Available at your home, day camp, or in our Newark or Wilmington locations.
Back to Basics Learning Dynamics is the undisputed leader in 1-on-1 tutoring in Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania for over 60 subjects, including reading!
The company also offers 1-on-1 instruction for the SAT, ACT and Test Prep, translating and interpreting in 16+ languages, educational testing and more. For more information about Back to Basics’ educational services, please call us at 302-594-0754.
The company also operates a unique Department of Education-approved 1-on-1 K-12 Private School in Wilmington, Delaware. For more information about Delaware’s only Department of Education approved 1-on-1 private school, please call us at 302-594-0685.