How to detect reading problems in children

How to detect reading problems in children

Not every child takes to reading like a bee to honey, but is that resistance a symptom of a reading problem like Dyslexia? Find out more about the signs to look out for and possible ways to help your child.

reading problems in children

Find out how to detect reading problems in children

Your child’s first attempts at reading are a cause for celebration and pride, but what if the process of learning is less than smooth and they continually stumble? How can you tell if they are just a slow reader or perhaps give an indication of a deeper learning disability, such as dyslexia? Their lack of focus could also be a sign of reading problems in children like ADHD. Yet it will not be beneficial for anyone involved to go into a paranoid and panic mode when you see your child stumbling across the page and lagging behind their peers.

Warning signs of reading problems in children

Since reading is closely linked to language development, any problems that your child might be having with pronunciation or talking in general could be red flags that their reading journey could be fraught with challenges. Some of the indicators are:

  • their resistance in reading aloud
  • guessing rather than sounding out unknown words
  • doesn’t recognise when words rhyme
reading problems in children

Check out some of the alternatives for when you detect reading problems in children

What to do

If you do suspect that your child has a problem, it is best to consult with their school teacher so that your child can be closely monitored in school as well. This is a good time to also consider private testing at specialised centres such as the Dyslexia Association of Singapore (DAS), who can suggest ways to improve your child’s reading.


The fact is that sometimes a resistance or aversion to reading is just a call for help. Parents should consider an alternative way to instruct their child on reading instead of the regular way. Consider that your child might not be a visual learner and needs to use all of their senses to successfully read. Some things you can try at home to help reading problems in children:

  • making letters with sandpaper or felt so that your child can feel as they read
  • phonetic approach – read them silly songs and tongue twisters that draw attention to the sounds of words
  • Get a collection of ‘Just Right’ books that fit their level of reading (‘Just Right’ books are books that your child can read without making more than five mistakes)

Never give up

Remember that the key to combat reading problems in children is to never give up. Even when you are both frustrated by the failed attempts, never doubt that your constant reading to them is subconsciously helping them pick up and recognise words.

So we say, whatever it is, never, never stop reading to them. It does not necessarily have to be a story book, you can read or sing them the ingredients on a food label or instructions in a recipe. Make every moment a teachable moment and with proper guidance and specialised help, your child could be reading in no time.

Did these tips on alternatives to help overcome reading problems in children help? We’d love to hear from you!


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Any views or opinions expressed in this article are personal and belong solely to the author; and do not represent those of theAsianparent or its clients.

Written by

Wafa Marican

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