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I was so happy to see this sight I cried! My 10 year old willingly reading on a Saturday morning. Not just reading, but reading a book that he has wanted to read forever but was convinced it was too hard and he wouldn't be able to do it.
I'm not sure if I can adequately describe how hard it is to be the homeschool mama of a child who struggles to read. It can be so heartbreaking and frustrating. It makes you feel like a complete failure. It gets harder when you know children that are younger than yours that are reading like crazy (worse if they happen to be a younger sibling!) You worry about situations where your child might be asked to read something out loud and then get embarrassed or ridiculed because they can't do it. You see how frustrated they get when they try to read. You keep praying that it will get easier, that the light bulb will finally turn on, but worry that it never will.
Out of my 7 children, 3 of them have struggled when it came to learning how to read. I foolishly thought reading would be an easy skill to teach. I love to read and devoured books as a child (and still as an adult!) My oldest two children I didn't even have to teach. They learned at a very young age by reading with me. Then we hit a wall. My next 3 children all had difficulty learning to read. 3. In a row. It has been hard. But I promise there is hope and some things you can do to make it easier on both the child and you.
The idea that children should be reading at the age of 5 is crazy. I don't know who randomly chose that age. Once upon a child children did not even begin learning letters or reading instruction until age 7 or higher. Studies have shown that the best age for reading especially for boys is around age 10 (and personally in this house there has been something magical about that age!) But knowing that does not help when you have a child that wants to read and can't.
4 Tips to Help Your Struggling Reader
1. Find a good multisensory reading curriculum that can grow with your child. The type of reading curriculum you choose is very important. I am a big, big, fan of All About Reading from All About Learning Press. This curriculum has been amazing for my children! It allows children to build their words using letter tiles, has fun hands on activities and great stories. Something about building the words with the magnets really makes them make sense to my children. I love the built in review and the hardback readers have wonderful stories. You can use it with multiple children too. Children can move at their own pace.
Whether you choose All About Reading or something else, stick with it even if you don't see results right away. Try to keep your lessons short and to the point and always be willing to offer help if needed.
2. Read Aloud Often. If your child cannot read well schoolwork can be very difficult. Look for curriculum that you can read aloud and answer questions orally. Choose fiction and non fiction books your child will enjoy in addition to your regular curriculum. Read aloud as often as you can.
3. Use audiobooks. There are several sites that offer free audiobooks. Many libraries also allow you to check out audiobooks. Listening to audiobooks are great for children especially if they can't read well. It also helps out the busy mama who cannot read aloud all day! I have discovered that it really improves children's vocabulary too.
The new immersion reading from Kindle is fantastic! You can download an ebook and an audiobook and it highlights the words as they are being read. This allows your child to not only listen to the book but see the words as well. I love this feature!
4. Be patient. Okay I know this is hard. Patience is definitely not one of my strengths. But we have to remember that just because a child does not read as early as others does not mean that they won't ever read or that they will not become successful adults. We have to remember that God did not create us all the same and many blessings come through struggles. I mentioned above that 10 seems to be a magical age in this house and there really is something to be said for that. The first child that I feared would never read started reading well just shortly after turning 10. He loves to read now. My next child just recently started making huge improvements in his reading and he is 10 and 1/2. Encourage a love of reading and help lessen your children's frustrations as much as you can. Surround them with good books on a variety of subjects and be as encouraging as you can. It will get better!
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