Parent Resource

How to Help a Child with Reading Problems

By Amelia Nora, Careful Mummy

Is your child a slow reader, struggling to recall what he/she read, or having difficult to mention words that are seemingly easy and familiar? If that describes your child, chances are he/she does not understand the meaning of words and the message delivered in the text.

Inability to understand what your child reads will affect how they gain knowledge and their classroom performance. Here’s how you can assist a child with reading problems and elevate their comprehension skills.

1. Find the Right Reading Materials

Shop for age-appropriate books, magazines or any form of reading material. Pre-readers may particularly be interested with audio books and tapes. However, have a collection of favorite reading materials that children love spanning from simple novels, comic magazines, newspapers and complex books.


Let the child decide what to read and provide a huge collection of their favorites to maintain the reading momentum. Consider having reading materials in trips, in their room and anywhere around them. Your child may drift towards reading materials when he/she has nothing to do.

My advice is early exposure to books as this will help build up reading skills right from the young age. You can do that by introducing sign language books as early as when your child is one-year or after the diapering stage.

To help an older child remember what they read, request him/her to repeat the content. Ask questions to gauge your child’s understanding about the content.

2. Help the Child Mention Out the Seemingly Difficult Words

For your child to comprehend what they read, they should be able to read the words correctly. Besides that, they must be aware of how the letters sounds and blend to make words.

Mention out the complex words and have them repeat what you say. For pre-readers, sound the words out with them in a friendly tone if they’re really struggling.

Help your child create a list of difficult words so that him/her can memorize the words outside the classroom when you’re not there. Encourage your child to add new words to the list every reading session. That way, he/she will be able to recall various words and apply in future readings.

Train your kid to look up the meaning of complex words in the dictionary and advise him/her to reread the words to determine if they make sense in the sentence.

Once your child understands the meaning of words, he/she will be able to interpret the text in the sentence. He/she will read the words in the text fluently and proficiently and still be able to tell what they read.

3. Set Aside a Reading Schedule for the Family

A good way to help your child enjoy reading is to lead by example. From experience, children are known to emulate their parent’s actions. When the parents are avid readers, the child is likely to follow the same path.

That been said, have a schedule where everyone in the family is engaged in their favorite book. For starters, make sure there are comic materials since children may be intimidated by long novels.

Switch off the TV and any entertainment device. Don’t make the reading time long though. Just a significant length of time to encourage reading habits.

You may also read in turns aloud – a book or magazine that’s familiar to everyone. Let everyone summarize every paragraph or section as you read to work on memory and comprehension skills.

Discuss the content and then have an open question & answer forum where everyone is actively involved. Explore other discussion strategies and talk about valuable lessons on each story or text.

To sum up, struggling readers require extra practice to improve their understanding of text. The way to work this out is to try and point out the reasons. What’s the level of your child’s phonological awareness? Do they have the right collection of books?

There are tons on reasons and the earlier you identify the issue, the easier it is to support the child overcome the predicament. Identifying the reasons is the only way to help your child excel. Nonetheless, reading skills and eventual improvement with get better with continuous practice.