What to Do if You Suspect Your Child Has a Reading Problem

Many reading problems can be resolved if a child receives early intervention.

By Laura Dyer

Reading problems can often be resolved if a child receives early intervention. If you think your child struggles with reading, consider the following:

Fist talk to your child's teacher. Find out if she thinks your child has a reading problem. Make sure your child is receiving phonics instruction. Discuss the ways you can reinforce your child's reading skills at home.

If your child struggles with spelling quizzes, ask if she's been taught to sound out words.

Consider having your child screened for vision or hearing problems. Both can cause reading problems.

Consider enabling closed-captioned TV to enhance reading skills.

If reading easily frustrates your child, make sure she's reading books she can handle. Small reading successes go a long way toward promoting self-confidence.

It's normal for young children to reverse letters and numbers occasionally up to age eight (for example, like when they first learn the shape of letters). Be aware, however, that one of the symptoms of dyslexia (a learning disorder marked by impairment of the ability to recognize and comprehend written words) is seeing or writing letters or words backward or upside down. If you suspect your child has dyslexia, have her tested by the school reading consultant, or find another qualified professional to test your child and make recommendations.

Don't wait too long to ask for help. If you feel your child's reading problems affect her self-esteem or make her apprehensive about school, get help promptly. Research shows that most reading problems don't get better on their own, and that children generally don't catch up once they fall behind unless they receive help.

Excerpted from Look Who's Talking: How to Enhance Your Child's Language Development, Starting at Birth by Laura Dyer, with permission from the author.