Select a story your non-reader or struggling reader really, really likes. Then:
1. Choose a short-vowel word that comes up several times in the story, like can, or pet or cat or if or ___. It’s your call. Or let the child pick! <—I like this idea! Nouns may be easier at first.
2. On a 4×6 notecard*, write the word with a brightly colored marker or whatever you have on hand. Color has been shown to help.
3. Show the word to your child, and quickly point out the sounds the letters in the word make, and what it says. Spend no more than a few seconds, or it will be lesson-ish! Avoid that like the plague—this is a book your kid still enjoys. Let’s keep it that way!
4. Ask your child if she wants to draw a hint for herself on the card or on the back of card. Don’t insist if she doesn’t. (Next time she’ll probably see the wisdom of doing so!)
The pictures my students draw often baffle me, but sure enough, they have a connection in their mind to the word, so I just accept happily and smile.
5. Use your finger to point to the words you’re reading. With your child holding the card, pause when you come to her word, point to it, and ask your child to “read” her word. If she can’t remember what it says, just remind her cheerfully. Remember, this is a just beginning step. We want it light-hearted and fun!
6. If she “reads” it correctly a few times, celebrate afterwards! Tell grandma! Have her “read” a sentence to someone on the phone! This really is actual reading: she sees the letters on the card and matches them to the letters on the page. Good for both of you!
6. Repeat similar activity another day, and go over the words she’s read previously in a quick, painless review.
Many parents find this to be a fun and effective way to give their child a successful reading experience.
Use the same word again in this book or others, whenever you wish, but continue to add different words as well. Soon your child may be able to handle two cards at a time, or even come to recognize the word on its own. And so on and so on and so on—we hope. 😀
If not, there are many more tips coming for things to try.
Let me know if it works—or if it doesn’t!—for you. I’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have here in the comments below.
*Notecards are suggested only because they can be reused for a longer time. Paper will work just as well.
Note: My tutoring and my free program will probably not help a child who is profoundly disabled. I do help kids with learning disabilities, dyslexia, mild Down’s Syndrome, dysgraphia, and many other kids who struggle to learn reading for various other reasons.
Many kids just “miss a little something” the first time around, and that stops them from going further. What seems like an overwhelming failure is just something that is missing, and is easy to teach again, using my very different style of teaching.
If your child needs help, do try to find it! If you can’t afford my rates, don’t stop looking.
And keep an eye out for my upcoming VERY inexpensive reading program.
To make sure that your child will never want to read, enjoy books, or love to learn, do follow all these tips! (I can’t claim credit—I’ve seen this several places on the internet and wasn’t able to find out where it originated. If you know, let me know, and I’ll be sure to attribute it.)
These make me laugh out loud. 😉
- Never read where your children can see you.
- Put a TV or computer in every room. Don’t neglect the bedrooms and kitchen.
- Correct your child every time she mispronounces a word.
- Schedule activities every day after school so your child will never be bored.
- Once your child can read independently, throw out the picture books. They’re for babies.
- Don’t play board games together. Too dull.
- Give little rewards for reading. Stickers and plastic toys are nice. Money is even better.
- Don’t expect your children to enjoy reading. Kids’ books are for teaching vocabulary, proper study habits, and good morals.
- Buy only 40-watt bulbs for your lamps.
- Under no circumstances read your child the same book over and over. She heard it once, she should remember it.
- Never allow your child to listen to books on tape; that’s cheating.
- Make sure your kids only read books that are “challenging.” Easy books are a complete waste of time. That goes double for comic books and Mad magazine.
- Absolutely, positively no reading in bed.
You bet they can!
Most of my students enjoy lessons on the computer much more than in-person tutoring. They don’t have to spend time in the car going to and fro, they are in the comfort of their own home, and in general we enjoy the work together.
Another reason it works is because I don’t teach reading the way most schools do! That has already failed your child. Over the years, I’ve created special ways to explain the small details about reading that confuse your child. Every child has different bits that he simply missed in the past. My job is to give them a coping skill to handle each of these.
We use online books. Music, including (clean) rap. Mnemonics. Silly sentences as reminders of the sounds of vowels. We read 1-on-1 and I show them a way to think it through at the very second trouble begins. Tutoring goes very quickly for both of us most of the time!
This stuff can’t be cloned. It can’t be done with a group who learn at different speeds and in different ways. It’s me and your child doing what works for him, tackling the small things, then eventually the larger issues.
Most kids who struggle have already failed or done poorly using the same old methods. They’ve had enough. They’re sick of it. Often they’ve shut down completely, and are sullen, unhappy, and refuse to read anything. I do all I can to change those feelings, both about themselves and about reading.
Why my work matters so much to me
I care because it’s a terrible situation for the child and the family. It breaks parents’ hearts, and it crushes the souls of children. I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to. I have worked wonders, and hope to work many more. At the very least, I want to help YOU find ways to make a difference for your precious child.
Maybe it would help you decide if you read some letters from actual parents whose kids worked with me.