The Reason Bright Kids Often Struggle To Read and How To Help
Aug 15, 2008 Reading 1973 Views
It is unfortunate that some children develop serious reading problems quite unnecessarily. The cause can be the design of the early reading books that they use. As a parent or teacher, it is important to know the pattern of symptoms you will see when this is happening.
Luckily, we have found it quick and easy to fix.
How To Spot The Problem
Things often start out well. A child will learn most of the alphabet fine and then even a few words without seeming to have a problem.
As things move on, the child starts to guess more words, sometimes with no relation to the word on the page.
The guessing and difficulty just seem to increase as the child moves up to more complicated books.
Eventually it all gets too much and the child's confidence collapses. By now it can be very difficult to progress in any direction because there will be heavy resistance to reading at all.
This can become a permanent situation, without the right help. That will destroy the child's changes of reaching anything like his or her full potential. And yet we find it can usually be fixed in a few weeks.
As a child approaches a task like reading, it is natural to use what seems the easiest approach. For a very visual child, memorising words by sight will seem the easiest thing to do.
Any child will almost certainly be being taught phonics in the classroom. But, in a whole class setting, it is easy to be quietly baffled, without the teacher really knowing or having the time to work through it one-on-one in any case.
The design of early reading books usually feeds this very situation. They use a small number of words and repeat them a lot. That makes them easy to read for a child who is memorising the words by sight.
But, unfortunately, the child's reading is not really progressing at all. And eventually you reach the end of the blind alley.
We need to gently lead them out of their dead end and down the right path.
The key is to help the child get a memory hook on all the different phonemes being used in English. The Easyread Coaching System does this by presenting a bright and slightly bizarre image for each of them, with a simple rhyme to remember. This was developed from memory activation processes used by memory specialists.
The next goal is to move the child away from the shortcuts being employed of memorisation and guessing. In Easyread we have developed games and exercises specially for this.
Once the child is redirected onto the right path, you need to make it easy to travel. Confidence is further built by steady reading practise. In Easyread we allow the child to read text unaided each day, by floating the images connected to each phoneme over the text. In that way, the child always has support when puzzling over a word.
The result of these changes of approach is that we regularly see children who have been completely stuck after years of effort, become enthusiastic readers in just a few weeks.