An Expert Take on the Skills Your Child Must Have for Successful Reading
By Learning RX
You sit down on the first day of school with your kindergartener, and what do you do? Likely, one of the first things you focus on is letter recognition and reading.
This moves on through the years, and you take time to review and present new information as the months go by.
Then suddenly, you realize, “I’ve taught this same lesson for three years, and he STILL doesn’t get it.” Or your child goes to co-op and feels embarrassed by how far behind her peers she still is with her reading. Or maybe you’re thinking, “Could my child have a learning disability? Shouldn’t reading have ‘clicked’ by now?”
Teaching your child to read can be a daunting task. Reading fluently is an incredibly important skill that sets the trajectory for the rest of your child’s education.
Whether you’ve been slogging through the trenches of teaching reading for years (yet seeing little growth in your child’s fluency or comprehension), or you’re just starting out and are trying to sort through the influx of advice you’re receiving from friends, mentors, and the internet.
We are here to help you today!
We will shed light on the three hugely pervasive myths about teaching reading that can actually keep your child from learning to read effectively—and give you the answer to why your child is struggling to learn this skill in the first place.
HOW DOES LEARNING HAPPEN?
Whether it’s learning to read or memorizing social studies facts, cognitive skills are the foundational pieces that govern your brain’s ability to think, learn, and remember. The core cognitive skills are:
● Attention (sustained, divided, and selective)
● Memory (working/short-term and long-term)
● Processing Speed
● Visual Processing
● Auditory Processing
● Logic & Reasoning
Information comes in through your senses, and then it is up to these skills to determine what happens: whether it is stored away and applied or lost in the shuffle. If any of these skills are weak, learning is going to be harder than it needs to be throughout your whole life.
If your child is struggling with reading, it is likely because one or more of these cognitive skills are weak.
Before we share more about how to strengthen these skills effectively, let’s talk about three huge pieces of BAD reading advice that you have likely received on your homeschool journey.
THE BIG THREE READING MYTHS
Chances are you’ve heard at least one of these before (and to be honest, maybe you’ve even said them). While well-intentioned, often adhering to any of these myths can hold your child back from growing in his or her reading skills as quickly or as easily as possible:
Reading Myth #1: “Just Read to Your Kids; They’ll Catch On.”
In many homeschool circles especially, this is a commonly heard phrase. Are we saying don’t read to your kids? Absolutely not. Reading to your kids is an amazing time of connection and learning for both of you—but it’s not the best way to teach your child to read for themselves.
Reading to your kids exposes them to a wide range of words, situations, experiences, and facts that they wouldn’t encounter otherwise. However, it is not building the foundational brain skills that are so essential for learning to read effectively (we’ll cover those more in-depth below).
If you use this strategy, you may find that your kids:
● Are not independently motivated to try to read for themselves
● Heavily rely on audiobooks
● Struggle in other subjects because of an inability to read instructions, textbooks, math problems, etc.
● Become good guessers at common words but struggle when trying to decode an unfamiliar one
These setbacks are frustrating to both kids and parents, but often the advice you get is our next major myth.
Reading Myth #2: “It’ll Click, Just Give It Time.”
Under the guise of being supportive and understanding, many will tell you that it doesn’t matter when your child learns to read. In fact, research shows that if children learn to read at a younger age, they will have a better vocabulary, writing skills, articulation, and increased curiosity and desire for learning throughout life.
If you hold on to the myth that “when it’s time, he or she will read,” you’re deflecting much of this huge responsibility onto your kids instead of equipping them with the tools they need to learn reading effectively.
Building effective reading skills and strategies from the get-go is the best way to enable your child to make gains on their ability to decode words, read fluently, and understand what they’re reading.
Kids don’t just outgrow cognitive struggles in most cases. Dr. Amy Moore, head of research for LearningRx, found in her extensive research that weak skills actually get worse with age if you don’t intervene early.
So if your kindergartener or 1st grader is constantly misreading words, switching sounds, or struggling with basic spelling and decoding, fixing the problem NOW can save you from years of repeated struggles.
Reading Myth #3: “You Just Need to Find the Right Reading Curriculum.”
There are so many reading curricula available, yet if you’ve been trying them and not seeing a change in your child’s reading, there’s a reason.
Reading curricula like All About Reading, Reading Eggs, ABC Mouse, or similar plans may work for some kids, but the answer to your child’s reading struggles is not in switching to a different curriculum or program.
It’s in changing how his or her brain learns in the first place.
If you’ve been on a curriculum carousel for years trying to find something—anything—that will work for your child, we sympathize with the pain and struggle you have been through.
But instead of just waiting another year and finding another curriculum to try, what if you could identify the WHY behind your child’s struggles with reading?
What if, instead of another year of trial and error, you could have a clear plan of action that will target your child’s weaknesses to help them succeed long-term?
That is where cognitive skills come into play.
For more on why most reading programs fail, check out this webinar with Dr. Amy Moore.
WHY COGNITIVE SKILLS MATTER FOR READING
Everything you hear, read, see, and learn goes through your brain within the framework of cognitive skills. In the case of learning to read, there are three main skill weaknesses that contribute to your child’s struggles:
– Working Memory is the ability to hold onto important information while you complete a task (like holding onto the sounds in the word or the details of a story while reading).
– Processing Speed is how fast your brain can take in information and process it. For example, how long does it take your child to look at a sound and know what sound it makes?
– Auditory Processing is the ability to distinguish and decode unique sounds that make up words.
While other skill areas like visual processing or logic & reasoning can absolutely hinder your child’s ability to read fluently, weaknesses in these three areas account for a majority of the reading struggles we see in children.
And instead of just making accommodations or saying “it’ll click,” LearningRx uses these insights to create a plan to help your child strengthen these skills so learning across all subject areas becomes easier.
Clients who complete a brain training program with LearningRx gained an average of 5.3 years in Auditory Processing and an average of 3.6 years in cognitive skills across the board. This is a HUGE time-saver to help you catch your child up to where they need to be!
So if your child is reading at a level below where they should be for their age, you don’t have to settle for trial and error and continued years of struggle. We help you make up that lost ground in only a matter of months!
And if your child is still in the early stages and you suspect that learning to read is harder than it should be, getting a look into your child’s cognitive skills now will prevent years of struggles down the road.
WHAT DO YOU DO NOW?
If you’re sorry you’ve waited five years to figure out why your kid can’t read fluently, or if you’re in the early stages and you want to set your child up for success, the best place to start is by understanding your child’s cognitive skills.
Getting an in-depth look into the way your child’s brain operates can open the door to easier learning and fluent reading by addressing the root causes of why your child is struggling in the first place. The best way to examine these skills is through a cognitive skills assessment, done in person or online through LearningRx.
As a special offer for HEAV members, we’re giving you our Friends & Family Discount of $100 off when you call us and schedule your assessment!
This one-hour assessment will enable you to take an x-ray-vision look into the way your child’s brain is working, both for reading and learning in general. Then we will work with you to create a personalized plan that will strengthen these skills, save you your sanity, and give your child the gift of fluent reading!
Don’t waste any more time on strategies that aren’t actually going to help your child learn to read in the long run. Contact us today to get started with getting to the root of your child’s reading struggles!
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