Helping my Child with their Reading

Lots of parents worry about their child’s reading. With reading books coming home from school every week, it is easy to feel overwhelmed if you child doesn’t seem interested or isn’t making much progress.

Fortunately, issues with reading are very common and there are all sorts of things you can do to help. Please let your child's teacher know of your concerns.

it’s important to remember that reading isn’t a race. Being a good reader might be the finishing line, but children get there in many different ways and at different speeds.

Why might my child be struggling?

Children struggle with reading for all sorts of reasons. They may find it hard to sit still and concentrate; they may have got so anxious about reading that it stops them learning; they may have speech and language difficulties or a history of hearing loss. They may be in the early stages of learning English, because they speak a different language at home. There may be a history of reading or spelling difficulties in the family; research does show that literacy difficulties can be hereditary, when linked to dyslexia. If you are worried about dyslexia, do talk to your child’s teacher. 

What should I do if I am worried?

The best thing to do if you are worried about your child is to talk to your child’s class teacher. They can set your mind at rest if they think your child is making good progress, or they can talk you through plans to help if they think your child needs more support.

Jean Gross CBE gives her expert advice on how to support children who struggle with reading.

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Encouraging boys to read

Gary Wilson gives his expert advice below on how to raise boys’ achievement by encouraging them to read.

You can spot a reluctant reader by putting a book in their hands. Five minutes later they’ll be gazing out of the window, wriggling on the floor, or building an intricate paperback tower – anything but reading the words on the page. However, research consistently shows that children who read for pleasure do better at school, here are some great ways to encourage your sons to feel excited about books:
Read for pleasure Listening to stories is a great way to nurture a love of books. It also helps a child to access interesting content above their reading level. As they get older, use audio stories take it in turns to read a sentence, page, or chapter each.
Make it funny Change a traditional story – adding jokes and misinterpreting the pictures for comic effect – there are LOADS of funny children’s books out there.
Read for a purpose From coding to origami, non-fiction books that give children a clear sense of purpose are always a big hit
Copy and collect The best recommendations come from other children – ask around on the playground, or find out which books have a waiting list in your local library. Books linked to films or TV shows can be a good starting point.