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How Can I Help My Child With Reading?

Allison Gardenswartz
Allison Gardenswartz

By Allison Gardenswartz, Consulting Educator


I have a second-grader who is not reading at grade level. He has struggled since he has been in school. When I talk to the school the first thing they say is to retain him. I am against retaining him because he is the biggest kid in his class. I have also noticed that a lot of elementary school children have problems with reading. He is being tutored. What else can I do to help him?


Remedial readers tend to get further behind as the grade level increases and the difficulty of the reading increases. Step one is to determine why your son is having problems. and how best to help him.

You can either have him evaluated by the resource specialist at your school or take him to an independent learning specialist to determine the issues that cause him to struggle. Many independent learning centers have diagnosticians on staff who can help to identify the trouble areas. Once you know the source of the problem, then you can customize the remediation to enable him to catch up more efficiently and determine how best to help him.

Perhaps the tutor can help you begin to understand the issues because he or she has been working with your son for a period of time. There are many different areas that can cause reading trouble and you need to determine if your son struggles in fluency and decoding, or comprehension. and how best to help him.

There are many strategies that can be employed to enable him to catch up to grade level. Comprehension strategies include defining basic types of comprehension such as remembering details and finding a main idea. Once each type is taught and practiced, comprehension should improve significantly. For decoding issues, oral reading and phonics remediation practice work well to improve fluency. and how best to help him.

As for retention, the latest research argues against it, unless the deficiency is in all academic areas. You don't mention your son's performance in math or science or social studies. Reading comprehension troubles can show up in many academic areas but will not affect math computation abilities. You need to meet with classroom teachers, resource specialist(s) and reading specialist(s) at your school to determine the resources available for your son and how best to help him.

Allison Gardenswartz is the founder of a San Diego tutoring center specializing in gifted and remedial learning and test preparation studies. An educator for over 15 years, Allison is an expert in identifying and enhancing the learning abilities of school-age children. Allison now fully devotes her time to parent education, consulting and college counseling. Allison has a teaching credential and has taught for several years in various public school systems. She has three children: Jacob, 11, Sofia, 7, and newly adopted Ryan, who is 3.

Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.

Comments from readers

"hy my name is any and i whant to know which books can I buy for my son edgar he is and second grade .please tell me i need help "
"I have a second-grader who is not reading at grade level.He has problemss reading since he has been in Frist grade. He is 7 yesrs old and. He is being tutored. What else can I do to help him? "