Health Resources

Reading Difficulty (Children)

What Is Reading Difficulty

Reading involves a complex set of skills, and mastering them is crucial for understanding and proficiency. Essential reading skills include:

  • Phonemic awareness: the ability to process sounds in words
  • Phonics: understanding the relationship between letters and sounds
  • Vocabulary development
  • Reading fluency
  • Comprehension skills

A child needs to develop all these skills to become a proficient reader. If your child has a problem with any of these skills, your child will likely struggle to understand what he or she is reading.

Children's reading difficulties come in various forms, depending on which particular reading skills your child has difficulty with.

Reading difficulties may affect your child's academic progress in school, and in turn, lead to low self-esteem,  school refusal and other behavioural problems.

Causes Of Reading Difficulty

Several factors that can contribute to reading difficulty:

  • Specific learning disorders (SLDs) such as dyslexia, which can affect reading, spelling and writing
  • Insufficient literacy experiences at home
  • Language impairment
  • Sensory impairment
  • Auditory or visual processing weaknesses
  • Attention difficulties
Signs And Symptoms Of Reading Difficulty
  • Reluctance or avoidance of learning activities
  • Distractibility and attention issues, especially during learning
  • Delayed acquisition of pre-literacy skills in preschool years
  • Speech delays
  • Difficulty with rhyming
  • Difficulty with spelling despite practice
  • Mispronouncing words
  • Comprehension issues with spoken language
  • Slow vocabulary growth: being often unable to find the right word
  • Memory challenges with numbers
  • Disinterest in word games
  • Difficulty following directions or routines
  • Struggles with fine motor skills required for writing
Tips For Taking Care Of Children With Reading Difficulty

Remember that all children learn at their own pace and in their own ways. Early exposure to reading and monitoring progress are key. Aim to make reading a fun activity.

Here are some activities you can do with your child:

  • Introduce a diverse range of literature early, including comics, non-fiction and fiction
  • Encourage enjoyment of book illustrations as they aid in reading comprehension
  • Visit the library regularly and establish a daily reading routine
  • Discuss the content of books to help connect stories to real-life situations
  • Stay informed about your child's school performance and communicate with teachers regarding their progress.

Early detection of reading difficulties is crucial for school success, as reading skills are foundational across all subjects.

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