In my work with children across different ages, I have realized that while some children find it easy to pick up reading and also comprehend, others struggle through the process. In fact, most times parents pay so much to teachers to correct this problem or some parents do not even know that their children have difficulty in reading! (That’s another story for another day). I tell parents, if the child can’t read simple sentences or recognize simple words at the age of five, they should get concerned. However, what do you do when you discover that the child is struggling to decode words, understand what he/she has read or if the child is not fluent?
- Spend time with that child: I know for a fact that while some of these problems
might need professional help such as special education teachers who are specially trained to help struggling children, a child who struggles needs more attention. Get to know the child outside of the classroom and you will be amazed. The child could have emotional issues or simply can’t adjust with many people around him/her. There is a girl I work with presently who would not talk in class but when she is alone with me, she responds better. She is the child that loves to learn when no one is watching her. Children who struggle to read don’t need to be maligned or disregarded, they need a little more time and patience.
- Know the interests of the child and put it in books: If the child loves sports, books on sports can be given to him/her so that you can have his attention. Kids are easily distracted, hence you have to find what will keep them focused,
- Get the child books that are age appropriate: In our bid to make them move fast in school and be promoted to the next level (especially in our Nigerian system where a child of eight is being enrolled in secondary school), we rush the child. Children who are struggling readers are not to be rushed. Let them read what is suitable for them. In fact, let them remain on that level, if you do not recognize any real progress. Please, do not over pressure them.
- Use very illustrative books: Children are attracted to colours and beautiful things. If possible use audio-visual methods to get them interested in the book. If the book is about animals, show them with slides the animals that are being studied and if you can with the sounds the animals make.
- Read to them: They can learn faster when they hear you read to them because they hear correct pronunciations from you and their listening skills are sharpened.
- Recognize progress and reward it: A high five after a word has been correctly pronounced is not a bad idea or an extra snack during lunch for spelling correctly. Children love incentives.
At Treasured Thoughts, we seek to help readers across all levels. We can come to your school or wherever you need our help for your child or children who are struggling readers. Feel free to contact me: http://onomeonwah.org/contact/