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When reading with your children may not help them to learn to read

March 26 2019

New speech pathology practice on the Surf Coast targets children who are struggling to read 

“I was told to read to her. I’ve read more to her than any of my other kids, but she still struggles with reading.” (parent of a year 5 child) 

Some children don’t get it. When they read, they guess the words, mix up sounds and usually read slowly and with a great deal of effort. 

Nothing else seems to be wrong with them, but they might be beginning to struggle at school and fall behind. Their parents have been advised to read with them. In class they learn the letter names. They can recite the alphabet and try to learn lists of words.  

When they read a book, strategies such as guessing the word, looking at the pictures to infer meaning are suggested. Their spelling test results are poor. They avoid reading books when they can and reading aloud in front of the class. 

These children may not have cracked the code. Reading is a matter of understanding the sounds in English and how they are written. Some kids get it without being taught. Many don’t and fall behind.  Once a child can decode words, they can read for meaning and may catch up. Research suggests that children who do not receive help for reading in the early years may struggle to catch up with their peers. 

These are the kids who may benefit from help in how to crack the code. One way of doing that is through phonics, namely synthetic phonics where they learn the sounds in English and how they are written. If your child is at a school that does not offer phonics-based instruction in the early years, they may benefit from seeing a speech pathologist to help them learn the sounds. 

It’s good to read with your children for lots of reasons. But sometimes children may need more than that.