Why is reading so hard for my child?
Could it be dyslexia?
The short answer is yes, but a formal diagnosis of dyslexia is not needed to start helping your child! Research tells us the best gains are made when intervention commences in Prep or Grade 1 (Vellutino et al 1996). People may tell you to wait, or try to reassure you they'll be 'fine', but taking steps now will make the difference. Time spent waiting for others to guide you is time you will never get back at this critical age.
Dyslexia is the most common reading disorder in children, affecting up to 80% of those who struggle to learn to read. It has nothing to do with your child's intelligence but is a difference in the way the brain is wired to process language. A comprehensive overview of dyslexia, including a simple self-assessment tool, can be found at the International Dyslexia Association
Dyslexia is known to run in families.
If you or your partner had difficulties learning to read or spell in primary school, your child has a 50% chance of having a similar problem.
Regardless of whether there is a family history of dyslexia or not, if you've noticed your child is not learning to read as easily as others their age you have every right to be concerned. It is likely they are missing one, or more foundational skills needed to successfully kick-start their reading journey.
Processing difficulties affect a child's ability to learn. From a parent's perspective, if your child has processing difficulties you may have noticed they:
- can't remember all the alphabet
- can't write many letters
- can't remember sight words
- had difficulty learning to write his/her name
- often mispronounce words, especially longer words
- had difficulty learning nursery rhymes or songs
- appear to be losing their 'spark' about learning
How can I help my child?
Reading is more complex than you may realise and many children need extra assistance when learning to read.
The most common support is through a phonics program at school, but interestingly even with phonics intervention many struggling children still fail to make substantial gains with reading and literacy. Why? For children who are genuinely struggling, many classroom programs are simply too much, too fast. The programs often assume a level of letter shape and sound knowledge upon which to build, or they assume the child will learn letters and sounds quickly and be able to launch into phonics. Children with processing weaknesses will quickly fall behind their classmates and not catch up without targeted intervention.
The Read3 program allows you to take control of your child's learning. It focuses on strengthening all three of the 'processing areas' that are crucial for reading and directly targets weaknesses in working memory and automatic recall in a way that many programs do not.
If your child is currently doing a phonics-based reading program with limited success, they are likely to be one of the children who require an intensive, individualised program that accounts for all processing weaknesses, and Read3 is the perfect choice. Find out more.