We’ve all been there before. The teacher is going around the classroom and calling on students to read from the textbook when suddenly, it’s your turn. Your shoulders tense, your mouth becomes dry, and you feel dozens of eyes turn on you as your classmates wait for you to begin reading. What if you stutter? Will friends judge you if you take too long trying to pronounce a difficult word? What if you embarrass yourself in front of your friends?
If your child struggles with reading, chances are they feel the same way. But don’t let self-doubt get in the way of their growth. Instead, help them learn to read with confidence.
Establish “Alone Time” With Reading
As much as your child may love reading with you, it’s important to give them space for reading on their own. When a child feels like reading is an assignment they have to ace, they’ll become less inclined to do it without external motivators. This takes the joy out of reading for many kids. To remedy this, set aside some time each day for your child’s leisure reading. You can even take things a step further by setting up a “reading nook” in their bedroom or play area, complete with comfy seating, pillows, and blankets.
Have Them Read to a Pet or Stuffed Animal
If your child gets nervous reading to a human audience, have them read to a pet or stuffed animal. Animals won’t recognize when kids struggle with pronunciation or get stuck on a difficult phrase. They won’t laugh, mock, or judge. Rather, they’re there to provide their unwavering support and attention—cuddles are just an added bonus. If a four-legged friend isn’t available, have your child pick their favorite stuffed toy or action figure.
Praise Them for Reading—Even When They Stumble
It can be frustrating for children to feel like they’re behind their peers in reading ability, and they’ll often feel discouraged or even dejected over the simplest mistakes. Show your child that reading is a journey and not a race by giving them unconditional praise. Refrain from rushing or overcorrecting and follow every “try again” with a “good job.” The time you spend together should be less about teaching your child how to read and more about teaching them why they should read, so that they feel empowered to take reading roadblocks in stride.
Lake Forrest Prep, a leading private school in Orlando, fosters a welcoming environment for young children to learn, grow, and achieve. Ability grouping in our math and reading classes assure you that your child is getting the best education tailored for them. For more parenting and child education resources, check out our blog.