Q:

My daughter has just started first grade and is already having some difficulty learning to read. I talked to the teacher, who believes the problem is immaturity and wants us to give her until the middle of the year to turn things around. I'm all for nipping a problem in the bud when it first appears. What do you think? - Want Action Now

A:

No matter how good the instruction is, all first graders aren't ready to start reading at the same time. It won't hurt to wait a few months to see if your child catches on to reading, if her problems don't seem too serious.

In the meantime, read to your child every night. Also, have her bring home her beginning readers and read them aloud together. Go over a story many times, pointing to words as they are read. Plus, ask the teacher about reading-readiness games that you can play with your child. Doing these things should make reading easier for her. Above all else, make all reading activities fun.