Helping A School-aged Child Who Can’t Read And Write
Helping a school-aged child who can’t read and write
Before going further, let us get to know a little bit about dyslexia. It is said to be a reading and writing difficulty which shows through speech development delays, slow learning of new words in listening and speaking, inability to recognize the letters of the alphabet and writing of letters in reverse.
When these symptoms are not identified and not given proper attention at an early age, it could lead to worst symptoms such as reading slowly or inaccurately, spelling words poorly, reading words in the wrong order or skipping of words when reading, and the omission or addition of letters or words when writing or reading.
In addition, the child won’t be able to tell the correct meaning of individual words and won’t be able to tell time. When a primary school-aged child is unable to read, then he or she will have problems understanding almost all the lessons in school. And when the child gets frustrated and nobody understands him or her, his or her behavior may become destructive or he may sulk into his own world. Thus, it is important to detect or diagnose such difficulty in your child at an early age before it gets worse.
So, what do we do when our child can’t read nor write? Here are some things we should and should not do when dealing with your child.
1. Don’t punish the child unless you know the cause of your child’s behaviour.
Punishing the child for his non-performance without knowing the cause won’t solve the problem. You need to keep track of your child’s performance in school. Talk with the teachers. Don’t wait until your child’s teacher or principal sends you a note to come to school.
Take the initiative to periodically ask about your child. Once you know of his or her status, act appropriately according to the situation. Don’t scold your child in front of others. Embarrassing your child won’t help at all. Your child will even more feel frustrated and will lose the confidence and motivation to learn.
2. Love and encourage your child.
Accept your child’s weakness or disability. You shouldn’t be angry, disappointed or discouraged with your child. Don’t also expect too much from your child. Don’t be angry when or she does not learn quickly the things taught in school or the things you teach him or her.
Instead, encourage your child whenever he or she fails. Tell him or her that he or she can still do better next time. Assure your child that you will always be there to guide him or her. Don’t compare your child with your other children.
3. Patiently teach your child the basics.
Teach him or her first the basics of the English alphabet such as how the individual letters look, how they are articulated and how they are written. Look for creative materials or activities that will catch his or her attention to effectively teach your child. Know about the learning style of your child.
Ask yourself, what methods can my child learn these things best? Can play be included? Will my child’s attention linger when he or she is having fun learning the letters of the alphabet? If you found a material or activity that would make your child learn faster, then stick to that and don’t stop until the child has mastered the letters of the alphabet. Once the child has thoroughly learned the letters of the alphabet then that’s when you teach the child to read words by using sound combination of letters.
Go slow or fast depending on the child’s bility to learn. Don’t show anger or impatience for the child might feel frustrated with him or herself. The key here is patience. At the start, introduce to the child 3-letter words that he or she can quickly recognize. Then, you can progress to 4-letter and 5-letter words depending on the pace of your child.
Once he or she can read words, you can let him start reading sentences in the form of stories. Choose a book for beginning readers that can catch the child’s attention and is within his reading level. To make your child become interested with reading, read to him or her a story every night. When he or she can read, then you can ask him or her to read.
4. Ask professional help if you can’t do it on your own.
If the task of teaching your child is too much for you then seek professional help. Ask a teacher or someone who specializes on reading difficulties of children. But it doesn't mean that if your child is dyslexic, he should be in a special school. The child can still be in a regular school as he or she gets over his or her difficulties.
If your child is still to enter preschool, place him or her in a school where he or she can be individually taught or can be closely monitored. Again, the preschool years for your child is very crucial. Bring him to a preschool which teaches children to read and to write and to have fun and develop their talents at the same time. Scout for good preschools which you can afford and which follows a curriculum that will help you achieve your goals for your child.
It is not too late to do something for your child if he or she has reading and writing difficulties. You just have to work over it together. Let me quote these words from Aamir Khan for you to remember: "Every child has his own abilities."