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When it comes to reading, bear in mind that when something is difficult and doesn’t come easy, you generally just flat out don’t want to do it! When you read aloud or have a program such as an i Pad app that reads books aloud (call it old-fashioned, but a real human reading to children is better), your child has the opportunity to focus on the meaning of the words and content.What makes struggling readers even more anxious about reading is the pressure they’re getting both at school and at home to learn to read. They develop background knowledge and it allows them to use their imagination.As a teacher who uses a reading-assessment system and leveled books, my goal for students often is to move up a single reading level.At home, you might set a goal even to just practice reading every day.(This is yet another reason why setting goals and celebrating every small success are so important.) So when they know that you are working on things that are hard for you, it helps take the pressure off them and makes their struggle less lonely. Reading books to your child (or listening to audio books) allows him or her to get into books that his peers are reading and holds interest because they are age-appropriate. You can offer explanations and further detail when needed.Your child’s education is not a private matter that excludes your child. He or she needs to know what’s going on; otherwise, it’s a lost opportunity for learning self-advocacy.

Most important, I am eager for the parents of my students to understand that their children can and will learn to read, but it will take time.

An easy way to deal with the very, very long road (did I mention it’s long?

) to on-level reading is to set some very short-term concrete goals.

Remember: you’re setting a goal that is achievable for you and your student that will positively affect his/her reading. Encourage them to use a dictionary, spell-check or text-prediction software.

What the goal really does is allow them to see that they’re capable of reaching a goal, that they can be successful. Even if your children can’t spell, they still have thoughts and creativity that they need to express. Have your children start their very own personal word dictionary as a tool to use when they write. Look into what technology or other strategies there might be to help your child become more successful.

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