5 Tips To Help A Slow Reader

Not all children enjoy the activity of reading and for some it is a daunting exercise because of a variety of reasons based on delayed development or learning difficulties. Whether you are a parent or teacher seeking answers on how to help a slow reader, using these five basic tips below will hopefully assist in their literacy learning.

{TIP 1} The key for any parent or teacher is to stay patient! Just think, if you’re the adult and you are losing it, how much frustration the child is feeling too. So stay calm and think outside of the box in order to learn the same skills. There are a lot of literacy based games and activities that can make the repetition of learning the skill a little more fun and easier on the both of you. Google how to… You’ll be surprised what you might find! If it’s spelling words or sight words in a reader your child is struggling with create two sets of the flash cards and turn it into a snap or memory game.

{TIP 2} Be an example to your child by sharing ‘real world’ opportunities of when you read – such as cooking recipes, road signs, food labels and shopping lists, phone messages or emails from people they know. This will increase their curiosity and motivation. Take advantage of these opportunities by asking them to have a go at identifying letters or words they may know.

{TIP 3} Find out what topics your child is interested in. Just like adults, children are more motivated to read if it’s on a subject of intrigue. This could be insects, clothes, makeup, cars or brands such as Thomas the Tank Engine. Whatever it is start taking your child to the library and let them lose to choose books on these topics. Don’t worry if the text is beyond them – look through the pictures with them and ask questions, talk about interesting facts and maybe read snippets from it that you know your child would be interested in. We all browse magazines for the interesting content and this in itself is a reading skill – allowing your child to browse through books is a pre skill to researching.

11 Learn To Read Shape Books{TIP 4} Create your own books! Use the shopping catalogues that are put into your letterbox to find pictures to cut out and create a dictionary scrapbook or topical books of their own are great way to build confidence in your child. Often slow readers when taught the alphabet symbols or phonetics of words find them hard to remember because they have had no meaning. Using pictures to represent the words gives the child more visuals to help them remember the symbols and understand the concept of grouping of symbols that make up words. Having your child find their own pictures gives the book more meaning and therefore easier for the child to read the book independently from memory – this builds self confidence that they are achieving.  Scribing for the child and labeling pictures with one word is a great place to start. Later replace the one word with a sentence where they write the sight word (or you scribe while they sound it out) is a great way to progress in steps. See the book templates we created to get you started on colours, shapes to understand the idea.

{TIP 5} Have books easily available everywhere. Keep your child’s books in a basket or tub somewhere in the home or classroom where they can be accessed easily. Don’t overwhelm the basket with too many ‘new’ books, your child will develop favourite books and to encourage your child to use the basket of books it is important to keep a few favourites and known stories in it. Let your child pick a book from the basket to take with them in the car. This is also a great idea when you know your child is going to have to wait somewhere, such as eating out, doctor’s appointments etc. The key is to allow enough time for your child to select the books he wants to read – don’t you choose for him.

The success to helping a slow reader improve their literacy skills is in sharing with them a love for books and building a purpose around reading. Creating a reason to want to read will help your child push through the frustrating hurdles of then learning how to read because they are more motivated. If you have other tips to share please comment below.

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