There was a very short period of time last Summer where I went into panic mode because my 7 year old was still not reading.
My oldest had read Magic Tree House books in Kindergarten back in 2003. This thinking caused me to worry that my youngest was falling behind.
I quickly came to my senses once I went back to my reasons for homeschooling and following my childs’ lead.
My goal as a homeschooling parent is to create an environment that fosters a lifelong love of learning. By approaching all things, including reading, at his pace, I can meet him where he is to determine how to move forward. This allows me to create a learning environment in which he thrives.
I had to take several steps back and remember that this was my childs individual journey Nothing that his older siblings did or didn’t do at his age mattered at this point, in relation to his progress. I am thankful that I didn’t lose sight of that long-term.
There are things you can do as a parent to facilitate learning to read in a relaxed, comfortable setting. One that is nurturing, inviting and peaceful for all members of the family.
Implementing some of these tips will not only create peace in your homeschool, but will also remind you why you began this homeschooling journey and should help assuage any fears you may have.
Ideas for Parents of Struggling Readers
1. Wait it Out
One huge mistake I made as a new homeschooling mom was to purchase a ton of curriculum without taking in to account my childs’ learning style or interest level.
I wasted a ton of money!
It’s a good idea to hold out on buying all the curriculum until you have a better handle on your goals, what your child needs and how they learn best. Meeting the child where they are is paramount to success. Trying to recreate a school environment at home can be detrimental to success.
Until you’re better able to gauge your goals and your childs’ level, it’s often best to wait it out and use free resources online as well as library visits and the books you already have on your shelves.
2. Stop Comparing Your Child to Other Children
As a mom of four very different kids, I learned quickly that I had to parent each of them differently. There is no one-size-fits-all method to raising them.
That adage applies to how children learn as well. Each child has their own strengths and weaknesses and comparing where your child is to other children is always a bad idea.
The beauty of homeschooling is that you can tailor learning to your child’s individual learning style and accommodate their needs.
Don’t rush it and remember that your child is an individual person.
3. Computer Applications and Video Games Have Their Place
While it may be unconventional thinking, to allow more screen-time, I noticed a significant improvement in my sons reading skills when I allowed him time to play his favorite video games or apps on my phone.
One of his favorite apps, wholly unrelated to reading is called Little Alchemy 2. It’s a crafting game that allows players to combine elements into new creations. Little Alchemy is a great jumping off point for subjecst like math, science, history, and literature.
Minecraft offers the same benefits as well. Not only does it allow players to focus on what interest them and what they’re good at, it can also offer opportunities for expanding a childs vocabulary.
4. Read the Book Versions of Favorite Movies
Consider finding book titles based on your childs favorite movies. We’ve recently had luck reading the Step in to Reading books for Moana and Coco.
There are several novelizations of popular Disney movies that can really get a child engaged in their favorite story!
5. Turn on the Television
Ok, hear me out! If your child is dead-set against picking up a book, why not turn on the TV, turn down the sound and turn subtitles ON. Reading is reading, whether it’s from a book or off of a screen.
Reading the subtitles of a favorite television show is an unconventional, yet effective way to get a child reading. Granted, it’s not quality literature, but let’s be honest, how many of us read what Charlotte Mason calls ‘twaddle’ as a fun, forget-everything beach read?
Taking a step back from a public school mentality of what learning should be and when milestones should be reached can be difficult. I understand and sometimes struggle with it too.
I always come back to the ‘every child is an individual’ and they come to each thing in their own time when they’re ready.
Reading is no different; creating opportunities for learning, surrounding your child with books, reading to them and ensuring they see you reading are great ways to facilitate reading in your homeschool.
Do you have any tips for parents of struggling readers? I’d love to hear them, comment below!