Lots of parents worry about their child’s reading. When you hear the playground chat about how well another child is doing with their reading, it’s easy to feel that your child might be getting left behind.
However, it’s important to remember that reading isn’t a race. Being a good reader might be the finishing line, but children get there in many different ways and at different speeds.
Children struggle with reading for all sorts of reasons. They may find it hard to sit still and concentrate; they may have got so anxious about reading that it stops them learning; they may have speech and language difficulties or a history of hearing loss. They may be in the early stages of learning English, because they speak a different language at home. There may be a history of reading or spelling difficulties in the family.
A shared feature of many struggling readers is that they find it hard to process the sounds in spoken words. For example, they might not pick up that a spoken word like ‘coat’ is made up of three separate sounds (c-oa-t), or that it rhymes with ‘boat’. This makes it hard for them to learn the links between sounds and letters.
The best thing to do if you are worried about your child is to talk to your child’s class teacher. They can set your mind at rest if they think your child is making good progress, or they can talk you through plans to help if they think your child needs more support.