As an educator, one of the hardest things to communicate to a parent is, “Your child has a deficit in,” especially when the parent is confident in the child’s ability to read. As a Reading Specialist, it’s my job to make sure I educate my parents about their child’s deficit, and to empower and equip them with the knowledge, strategies, and tools to help their child grow.

Reading is not recalling words. 

For most children, learning to read by memorizing words is common.  Memorizing words has its limitations, and children will need to move from memorization/recall to understanding the relationship between letters and sounds. Don’t get me wrong, sight words and exposing your children to common vocabulary is critical. However, if a child can’t decode words, it can be harmful; because the more they read, the more complex words become.  Children who have memorized words, but have difficulty decoding, often have trouble in the areas of fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. They also tend to skip and mispronounce words and have a hard time with spelling.

As children grow, they will start to move from sight words and common words to words that are phonetically based.  For example, your child may be able to read the word man, but will have difficulty decoding the word manipulate? The goal is to equip them with the tools they need to move from memorizing to decoding words.

I wanted to list a few suggestions to help you on this journey.

  1. Review the letters and sounds of the alphabet.  This will help your child in the first area of reading, which is phonemic awareness. The child has to understand that every letter (grapheme) has a corresponding sound.

  2. Read with your child. Reading with them will help you see the areas they are having difficulty in. If you notice your child skipping words or having a hard time decoding words, that’s a red flag. This may be an indication that your child need help in the area of phonics.

  3. Let them choose the books they love to read. The type of book does not matter.  You want to make sure your child is reading.

  4. Don’t restrict how your child reads. Your child can listen to audiobooks, read out loud to you, or you can read to them.

  5. Asking questions during reading helps the child with critical thinking, and it also helps them in the area of comprehension. Take turns asking questions.  Go deep and try to stay away from answers that can be found in the text (right there questions).

  6. As you’re reading, focus on and highlight unknown words to help build vocabulary. Look up the word together. Talk about the definition, how it’s used in the context of the sentence, and allow them to tell you how they would use the word.

  7. Allow your child to retell the story to see if he/she understands the text and can remember important details.

  8. Write! A great reader is a great writer.  Incorporate writing into your reading time. It doesn’t have to be tedious. You can read out loud to your child and have them respond in written form.

As always, I hope this blog helps you.  If you are looking for additional tools and strategies, please visit my YouTube page to see a video of the alphabet here. Don’t forget to hit subscribe. You can also visit my resource blog here to find additional resources.

Remember to follow us on Instagram and Facebook @educationallyspeaking.

Educationally Speaking,


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