Reading is one of the most valuable skills that your child learns in early childhood, being a tool which we all know is one of the most valuable skills in everyday life. Schools stress the importance of reading because it is the foundation from which all education exists, and identify struggling readers early on is often seen as an indication of your child’s abilities throughout their schooling. But you know your child, and you know they are smart, curious, and capable. If your child is falling behind despite these characteristics, it’s possible that your student has a learning disability or needs a little extra attention in the area of reading. But what do you do to figure out if this is the case? The experts at Jett Publishing are here to break down your steps for identifying a reading disability, getting a diagnosis, finding a dyslexia specialist, and more.
Start Talking to the Professionals
The first step in taking action when your child is falling behind in reading is to start talking to the professionals. It’s estimated the nearly 10 million children (1 in 5) have difficulty learning to read, which - though sometimes helping your child feels like a lonely battle - means you have a community full of people who have been through what you’re going through. Start by talking to your child’s teacher about your concern. Send an email or letter, or request a conference to discuss your concerns. Since your student’s teacher is the person often most directly connected to your child’s reading, be sure to clearly and honestly voice your concerns. From there, a teacher can help you find a course of action.
Your student’s teacher doesn’t have to be your only point of contact, either. Talk to your child’s pediatrician about where your child is developmentally - both physically and mentally - and what they recommend for students falling behind. Also remember that it takes a village to raise a child, and you are surrounded by other parents who have been through similar issues and are more than willing to help you and your child get the help you need.
Research Your Options
While contacting people who may be able to help your child who is falling behind in reading, make sure to do your research and be aware of your options and resources that are available. If that’s the step you’re taking right now by reading this article -- great!
First, become familiar with IDEA: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This act requires by federal law that school, after a parent voices a concern that their child may have a disability, must conduct a free assessment on the child’s abilities and best tactics for learning. IDEA also requires schools to provide accommodations for students who are found to have a learning disability.
In your research, you’ll find that there are a variety of reasons your student may be falling behind in reading, including:
ADHD or ADD
Language Processing Deficits
Be sure to consult your child and talk to them about the trouble they are having with reading to see if you can target any specific patterns with them. Additionally, in many cases doctors can help you identify many of these issues, so be sure to include your child’s pediatrician on the discussion.
Request an Evaluation
Once you know what you’re up against, request - in writing - an evaluation from the school, giving explicit examples from which you are concerned. Look forward to a follow up from the school in the following days to start the evaluation or follow up on your own. From here, a reading specialist can draw conclusions on what may be causing your child’s issues with reading. Your child may qualify for an IEP, special accomodations, or a recommendation to see a specialist like a dyslexia specialist.
Support Your Child at Home
While an IEP and evaluation may help your child, it’s important to follow up by doing what you can to help your child at home. There are a variety of ways to provide additional support to your child in the home, including:
JETT Publishing Parent version of the Secret Codes: The Secret Codes was written to prevent reading failure when used as the kindergarten reading curriculum. It has worked quite well. It has helped children to become competent readers who are older than kindergarten and are experiencing reading failure. Many parents have requested a parent version of the Secret Codes and we have listened. Stay tuned to find when it will be available.
Reading Exercises and Games: There are easy exercises you can do with your child to help them with reading. Reading stories, helping them visualize what they read, or playing reading games are great ways to make reading fun and help boost their comprehension.
‘I Have Dyslexia’ Books: Created by Jett Publishing, ‘I Have Dyslexia’ is a book that helps both students and their parents understand a diagnosis of dyslexia in a fun, tangible way. Resources like these books are great options for helping to boost understanding overall.
Hire a Tutor: If you want to help your child a little further, consider hiring a tutor or dyslexia specialist. This can help provide your student with the extra boost they need to get back on track with reading.
Utilizing these options can help your child get ahead in reading and gain the much-needed confidence they need in themselves to achieve academically.