Q:

My son who is in second grade is struggling with reading. What can I do to help him? -- Need Some Help

A:

The big question is: Why is your son struggling with reading? Obviously, a talk with his teacher is in order. The teacher should be able to give you an idea of how serious the problem is and how he can and should be helped. Help can come in the form of special help at school, tutors, learning centers and college reading clinics.

Since you also want to be involved, ask for specific things that you can do to improve the child's reading skills. We also have some specific steps that you might want to follow. You can find out more about his current reading level by going to our dearteacher.com website and clicking on "Find Your Child's Reading Level" under "Checklists." Then give him the San Diego Quick Assessment. This assessment is very easy to give, and research has confirmed that it provides a fairly accurate estimate of children's ability to read grade-level material. Be aware that at your child's school, the levels could be more demanding.

From this assessment you will find out your child's various reading levels:

  • -Independent Reading Level: the grade level at which your child can read with no help from you.
  • -Instructional Reading Level: the grade level where your child is actually reading.
  • -Frustration Reading Level: the grade level where material is too difficult for your child.

Beyond talking to the teacher and getting an idea of things to do to help your son, you should listen to him read. This will give you more clues to what his reading problems are. Be sure to supply words when he hesitates.

We also suggest that you try some of the techniques to improve your child's reading under "Skill Builders" -- "Reading" on our website.

You are very wise to hop on your child's reading struggles now, as children who are not reading on grade level by third grade are apt to continue to have reading problems.