When it comes to reading, every child is different. For some children, reading comes easily and they are happiest when they have a book in their hand. Other children may not find the act of reading to be difficult, but they simply do not enjoy it. There are also those for whom reading is a real struggle. Your child may fit neatly into one of these categories or may be a combination. All parents can help their elementary students with reading regardless of the circumstances. Red Apple Reading would like to offer some advice to parents who wish to help a struggling or reluctant elementary reader.

Struggling Readers
Reading is more challenging for some kids than for others. Some students simply do not catch on as quickly and require extra instruction, while others may have diagnosed reading disorders. Wherever your child falls in this spectrum, you can be confident in your ability to provide the help they need. Check out these simple ideas:

  • Practice Timed Reading Passages – Sometimes practice really does make perfect! Pick a paragraph that is close to your child’s reading level and have her read it aloud to you three times as you time her for a minute. Keep track of words missed with each reading. While this process can be tedious, chances are your kid will improve the number of correct words with each reading and gain confidence.
  • Ask Questions – You may find that your child can read the words on the page but has little or no comprehension about what was read. As you read to your kid and your kid reads to you, ask questions. For instance, “Why do you think the character is sad?”, “What do you think is going to happen based on the title of the chapter?”, or “What just happened?” are all good questions for helping your child gain a better grasp on the reading material.
  • Enlist Extra Help – If you feel like your child is not making noticeable progress, talk to her teacher. She will be able to shed light on age appropriate reading development as well as help you implement additional strategies as needed. You may also wish to inquire about available professional assessments the school can provide. One of the most important ways parents can help their children is by advocating for them. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel your child needs additional services.

Reluctant Readers
Many children simply do not enjoy reading. While this can be frustrating for parents, they need not despair. Try implementing these strategies if you have a reluctant reader in your home:

  • Let Them Choose – Allow your kid to pick his own reading material. While you may not be a fan of comic books, you may find that it’s the perfect choice for your child. Consider your kiddo’s interests. If she is crazy about animals, find some good non-fiction books about wildlife for her. Nobody becomes a reading enthusiast by reading about things for which they have little or no interest.
  • Create a Reading-Friendly Environment – Here’s a personal anecdote from my home: whenever my son loses video game privileges or his allotted playing time is reduced, he actually finds other ways to entertain himself! Very often, that includes reading. If our children have unlimited access to what can sometimes be “mindless entertainment”, they will often choose that. However, if we have periods of time throughout the day that are designated as electronic free, the chances for picking up a book increase. Be sure to have plenty of available reading material on hand for such occasions!
  • Be a Reading Role Model – Although it may not seem like it, our kids actually are watching us. They observe our habits and how we spend our time. Are we modeling reading in our everyday lives? When we take time from our busy day to pick up a book, it communicates that reading is a valuable activity.

Any time you spend helping your little one learn to love reading is time well spent. Check out our Pinterest boards, Struggling and Special Needs, Reading Comp Coffers, and Finding Fluency for additional ideas!