Reading is an excellent way to spend quality time with your child but the importance of reading goes beyond bonding. Reading with your child is a good way to gauge his abilities and make sure he’s not demonstrating any signs of reading issues, since learning disorders and reading are often linked. If you’re wondering whether your child might be demonstrating signs of dyslexia, visual processing disorder or other reading disabilities, check out these reading red flags for different age groups:
Preschool and Kindergarten: Learning to Read
When a child is in preschool and kindergarten, it’s normal to still be learning how to read. There are, however, some common signs that indicate your child might have a reading disability, even at this early stage. First, a child who comes across a word that is common in his environment and still must sound out the word each time he sees it has not yet picked up the ability to recognize sight words. Children who are able to sound out only the first letter or syllable (and who may make up a different ending to the word) show that they haven’t mastered basic phonics yet. If your child resists reading with you, it may be because the experience is challenging, and thus unpleasant.
Elementary School: Reading Comprehension
Once children are in elementary school, they are expected to discern content, not just to recognize individual words. If your child can sound out words but not comprehend the meaning of a sentence, it may be because just reading the words is using most of his effort, and he therefore can’t focus on what they mean. Also, if your child reads out loud laboriously, with lots of guessing and word substitution, there's a good chance he is struggling with a disability. Inattention when reading is another reading disability red flag; children who feel unhappy in an activity often become frustrated, distracted or simply unwilling to engage.
Middle School: Reading Skills and Fluency
By middle school, children should be reading skillfully and smoothly. Clear signs of reading disabilities at this age include not being able to decode new words quickly, reading very slowly, and attempting to sound out all words phonetically, without being able to recognize words with non-phonetic spellings. When discussing material they are reading, children may stammer and use filler words like "um" a lot. This is because reading disabilities often make it hard for children to think of or pronounce the exact word they are looking for.
Reading can present unique challenges for kids with learning disabilities, but identifying them early can help educators guide your child in overcoming their challenges. Start reading books with your kids early to identify red flags, and you'll have a great time while helping them learn in the process.
If your child has trouble learning to read or has been diagnosed with a Learning Disorder, contact us online or find a center near you to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help.