My daughter is currently in second grade. Reading is a real struggle for her, so it is a constant fight at home to ever get her to read. How can I help her improve if I can't even get her to pick up a book? -- Struggling Reader


Your daughter is just like everyone else when something is difficult; most people don't want to do it. At the same time, there is an old adage -- the more children read, the better readers they will become. So it is very important to get your daughter to read more at home.

Consider what your daughter likes to do. Then go to the library or local bookstore together and get books that interest her. It would be best to start with books that are easy for her to read. A good rule of thumb is to choose books in which she does not make more than five errors in every 100 words or one in 20 words.

Make it easier for her to read a book by always modeling how it should be read first. Read a paragraph or a page a couple of times, and then have her read it to you. Continue through the book in this way. At times, you may even want to read the book aloud together before she attacks it solo. Have her read these books to you many times.

Reading will become easier for your child if she can automatically recognize basic words. Get first- and second-grade word lists from either your daughter's teacher or the local librarian. See what words your daughter knows, and use these and a few she does not know in games. You can adapt games like Bingo and Memory, or find other games at learning stores that your child might enjoy playing with you.

The most important thing for you to do this summer is to get your child the extra help she needs to improve her reading skills, whether it is from a tutor, a learning center or a school program. If your child is not a good reader by the end of third grade, it is quite possible that she will never be a good reader. Talk with her teacher now to find out the specific help your child needs. And visit the Reading Rockets Web site at www.readingrockets.org for more ways parents can help children who are struggling with reading.