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by Julie Sheard (Educator and Specialized Instructional Assistant)
Blog - Our Experts - Teaching & Homeschool
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5 Ways to Determine If Your Child May Have a Reading Disability and How to Help

Feb. 8, 2022

Learning to read is not something that every child enjoys. Most struggle at first, but they can achieve their goals as effortless readers with practice and patience. The first step is to determine if your child has actual reading difficulties or a disability.

A reading issue implies a discrepancy between anticipated and achieved performance. When comparing these findings, parents should take note of their child's age and grade level. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you have the power to help your child.

Your child may have a reading disability if you notice they are having trouble with any of the following issues:

1. Your child is struggling to read at grade level

Their reading skills also tend to lag behind other subjects or continually fall behind their classmates. Many children who struggle to read at grade level have the vocabulary and knowledge to read much above this level based on IQ and math proficiency. Disabilities are underperformance in one or more components of learning. Many gifted children suffer a processing delay that impedes their reading development, generating frustration and behavioral problems.

One of the most prevalent reasons for reading difficulties is a delay in phonemic awareness, especially blends, such as /bl/ and /br/. Strong skills in language processing are required when phonemic awareness is engaged. Many children will know letter sounds but can't distinguish them while spelling words. Your child may also have problems pronouncing words or mixing up letter sounds, and they don't always hear the ending or beginning. Decoding syllables or single words and connecting them with specific sounds might be complex, and knowledge of common sight words is limited. If you’d like to help your child practice sight words, Kid’s Academy has an example of a great interactive worksheet here, or you can choose from a variety of sight word interactive worksheets and games.


sight words worksheet

Take advantage of multi-sensory activities to enhance your child’s learning. Together, you can use stacking blocks (such as legos) or playdoh to create word structures. Make use of a variety of materials in letter practice with your child. Letters may be cut out of magazines, or you can use magnetic letters to make silly sentences.

Your child may have issues with fluency during reading or an inability to read quickly and smoothly. They may also lack expressiveness or long gaps in between words. Read often to your child so they can hear the natural cadence we use when reading out loud. When reading, use your finger to highlight each word and read carefully to emphasize each syllable.

2. Spelling and word recognition is a difficult process

Your youngster probably has difficulty spelling words or completing phrases. Learning spelling rules, norms, and exceptions takes practice. Spelling precision is not the issue if they struggle with basic phonetically based words. The brain reads by recognizing spelling patterns, which requires strong decoding skills. If your child has trouble with phonetically regular expressions, they will struggle to acquire awkward rules and exceptions since every word seems to lack a pattern. This is why a lack of phonological awareness leads to poor spelling ability.

A way to build phonological awareness in your child is having fun with rhyming! We have precisely what you are looking for at Kid’s Academy, with this fantastic selection of interactive and printable worksheets specifically geared toward rhyming practice.

  father reading a book to his little son

Word recognition is difficult for children who struggle with reading. They may misspell, misread, substitute, skip, or confuse words that look similar. This leads to a lot of guessing and attempting to fill in the unfamiliar words. As your child progresses in school, strategies such as guessing words or filling in the blanks begin to fail as vocabularies grow and texts become more complex.

Help your child stay a step ahead by having them check out these interactive worksheets to help build their vocabulary as they develop. Find the perfect activity by grade level from Pre-K through 3rd grade. Because Kid’s Academy is focused on keeping learning fun and successful, they provide auditorial instructions accompanied by the worksheet, increasing their exposure to even more multi-sensorial learning.

A fun way to increase exposure to words is by hiding sticky notes around your home with individual letters or clear-cut CVC words (which stands for consonant, vowel, consonant, a quick way to describe words like “cat” or “rob”) written on them. Organize a scavenger hunt for specific letters or words. 

3. They “forget” words or have trouble with recalling fundamental rules

Your child may forget words even after they were just told what it spells. Parents and teachers often feel frustrated when a young reader cannot read an identical word on the same or next page within seconds of help. For struggling early readers, a text might appear to be in a completely different language, and it can be utterly overwhelming with words they cannot decode.

When reading or writing, try to have visual aids on hand. An alphabet chart on the wall can be helpful when trying to decode a new word or attempting to spell something unknown.

Try to implement catchy sayings to help your child remember special rules in reading and writing, such as "When there is a silent 'e,' the vowel says its name, you see." 

4. They exhibit fear or avoidance of reading

Your youngster will seem anxious when reading or avoid it altogether, especially when requested to read aloud. Reading aloud tends to embarrass weak readers, and the pressure from parents and teachers often leads to frustration and resistance to reading. This issue can also be made worse during reading time in school, where your child can struggle with concentration while being reminded how readily their friends read, lowering self-esteem. This may even evolve to a loss of motivation to keep trying.

Look for books on themes or topics they want to learn more about. Superheroes, nonfiction animal readers, and television characters might help a kid become more aware of the books that are accessible when early literacy reader books aren't engaging them. We guarantee that our scholastic games at Kid’s Academy will get them excited about becoming stronger readers! Here are our interactive selection of reading games!

  mom is reading a book to her daughter

5. They mix up sounds, letters, and words

Dyslexia is a learning disability characterized by difficulties recognizing spoken sounds and understanding how they connect to letters and words, also known as decoding. Dyslexia, also known as a reading disability, affects language-processing regions of the brain.

For children with dyslexia, similarities and variances in letters and words are hard to discern and sometimes hear. They may also have trouble finding the “perfect” work or producing responses to questions due to problems processing and interpreting the auditorial and visual information. This leads to problems with sequencing events, memory recall, and difficulties with reading comprehension.

Kid’s Academy has an amazing selection of interactive reading worksheets that will help exercise your child’s skills in recalling proper sequencing of events and reading comprehension. Children will read a brief piece from a variety of genres and themes and then answer simple questions based on their understanding of the text.

Additionally, your child may spend a lot of time reading or writing projects, having difficulty finishing them. Children with dyslexia commonly read substantially below the predicted level for their age. Many with dyslexia may have no other learning disabilities; however, tutoring or a specialized education program can help most dyslexic children succeed in school.

Keep in mind

One of the most effective ways to encourage and assist your child in developing their literacy skills reading is to read yourself. Children learn by example, and if they see you and others in their family reading frequently, they could be curious about what makes reading so enjoyable.

Demonstrate that you care about their thoughts and ideas about books you've read together. Reading shouldn’t have to be a daily struggle. Visit Kid’s Academy’s website to discover even more ways to enhance your child’s reading experience.

About the author

Julie Sheard - Educator and Specialized Instructional Assistant.
United States, CA, Felton


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