A+ Home Tutors believes that one-on-one tutoring from a talented, caring tutor is the most effective way to help a student reach his or her academic potential. We also believe that a well-matched tutor can develop the rapport and trust with the student that is critical to the success of the tutoring support. Students who raise their grades with this type of support also gain loads of self esteem, confidence, and pride. These qualities lead not only to a successful student, but to a person who is successful in all areas of life.
[Here is an excerpt of an article of mine that A+ Home Tutors published called “Helping Young Readers” in March 2009.]
Helping Young Readers
Learning to read is an exciting time for both parents and children. Watching your child discover letters and learn to pronounce words can fill a parent with pride. It also can leave a parent confused as to where and when to help and when to let the child learn on their own. Here are some tips for parents from Linda Bausch, Assistant Professor at Dowling College, NY, on offering the right amount of help and encouragement.
The urge to jump in as soon as your child struggles with a word or sentence can be a strong one. However, supplying them with the answer or pronunciation does not help them in the long run. An important part of reading is the ability to reason your own way through struggles and uncertainties. Instead of helping immediately, Bausch suggests asking your child questions that help them rely on their own logic: Does it sound right? Does it look right? Does it make sense? What do you think would make sense there? What do you think it sounds like?
These questions teach the child to construct meaning on their own and make connections when reading. By looking at the illustrations and considering the plot of the story, they can learn to figure out difficult words and sentences.
The Logic of Children
Sometimes parents don’t realize that the tangents kids go off on are really their own way of relating things in their mind. While it may seem illogical to us, side comments are the sign that the child is “translating” the text. Instead of getting frustrated with these seeming distractions, approach them with patience and recognize them for what they are—your child responding to and understanding the meaning of the text.
There may be a difference between what your child wants to read and what their actual reading level is. Sometimes struggling isn’t a reflection of the child’s inability to understand, but rather just that the material is too sophisticated for their reading level. It is okay to put something aside that is giving them difficulties and turning to something less demanding. Librarians and teachers can help you choose age-appropriate selections that are still within your child’s range of interests.
Make Reading Easy for Them
It’s okay to still read aloud to your child as they advance through the grades. Sometimes hearing someone read aloud helps students get a new perspective of the tone and style of what they are reading. Having them also read aloud to you brings another level of understanding, particularly as the reading materials gets more involved and sophisticated.
Another way you can help children read is by providing materials like newspapers and magazines. Integrate reading into other activities, like trips to the library, following recipes or reading signs on road trips. And, of course, set the example you would like your child to follow. If you are preaching the benefits and importance of reading but you never pick up a newspaper or book, it’s difficult to expect your child to be motivated to do the same.
Sometimes Extra Support is Necessary
If you feel your child is truly struggling with reading, rather than just experiencing the normal roadblocks on the way to literacy, make sure you get them the proper help they need. Reading can be difficult, and it’s okay to ask your child’s teacher or tutor to give some extra attention to developing these skills at an early stage.