Reading help for kindergarteners

Finding Help | Reading Rockets

Children with reading difficulties benefit from the same thing all children benefit from — excellent reading instruction tailored to their needs. But sometimes kids who struggle need more.

Several people may be able to provide your child with extra help:

  • Classroom teachers

    Your child's teacher may be able to provide more intensive instruction

  • School specialists

    Specialists at your school — such as the reading specialist, speech/language pathologist, or special education teacher — may be able to provide extra assistance

  • Tutors

    The school, another organization, or private tutors may be able to provide your child practice with reading or more intensive help

  • Professionals in private practice

    Educational psychologists and other professionals in private practice may be able to provide an assessment, diagnosis, and/or a plan for helping your child

  • Reading clinics

    University and private reading clinics may be able to provide an assessment, diagnosis, and/or a plan for helping your child

Help from private tutors and others outside of the school may be very effective but also quite expensive. Some public school services, which are free, are only provided if a child is diagnosed with a learning disability, the most common of which is difficulty with language and reading.

If you suspect your child may have a learning disability (or ADHD), the best place to begin seeking help is your child's school. Public schools have professionals trained to make a diagnosis. They do not charge a fee for these services.

If you disagree with the school's diagnosis, you have the right to ask for further testing or to seek a diagnosis from a professional in private practice. Similarly, if the school does not think it necessary to assess your child, you may want to seek a diagnosis from a professional in private practice.

Remember, in order to qualify for special education services or accommodations, your child must have a diagnosis that clearly shows he or she has a learning disability that meets the criteria defined by law. In general, federal law says that a person is eligible for accommodations when a documented disability significantly interferes with a major life activity such as learning. Most states use criteria related to the discrepancy between a child's ability and achievement. Federal laws also set clear guidelines on what special education accommodations must be provided.

The bottom line is that it's important to know upfront what services are available from the school and how a child's eligibility for those services is determined.


Sometimes kids just need an extra dose of reading help. Many schools provide tutoring support that includes one-on-one reading instruction. To make sure that your school has a high quality tutoring program, ask these questions:

  • How are the tutors trained?

    It's important that the tutors understand the goals and purposes of the lesson.

  • What is the structure of the tutoring session?

    Good tutoring programs use a lesson plan that is based in the best reading research.

  • How frequently will my child receive tutoring?

    Students should be tutored at least twice a week, for 45 to 60 minutes each time. Some students will need more.

  • Are the students assessed regularly to determine progress?

    A reading specialist should supervise the assessment program.

  • What types of materials are used during the tutoring sessions?

    Students should be carefully guided through books that are written at their reading level.

  • Does the content of the tutoring session support my child's classroom instruction?

    It should.

  • Does the content address my child's specific needs?

    If your child sounds out words well but struggles with vocabulary, the tutor should spend more time on word meanings than phonics.


Special education

Even with good classroom teaching and extra help, its possible that your child may continue to struggle with reading. Special education may be the answer — and it's required by law for students who are identified as having a learning disability.

The special education process includes these steps:

  • Referral

    You or your child's teacher suspects a problem and requests an evaluation by the school.

  • Evaluation

    With input from you and your child's teacher, a team of school professionals completes a full evaluation of your child. This same team — which may include a school psychologist, a speech-language pathologist, and a reading specialist — reviews the results to determine whether your child is eligible to receive special education services.

  • Eligibility

    If your child is eligible, you and the school team develop your child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP), as required by law. Annually, or more often, you and the school review the IEP and its impact on your child's progress.

    If your child is ineligible, continue to push the school for help. If your child is not eligible but still struggles with reading, the school must figure out what will work for your child. You can also turn to private testing.

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See also

Target the Problem! | Reading Rockets

Welcome to Target the Problem!, information to help parents and classroom teachers understand the specific problems a child may be having with reading. You'll find practical suggestions on what you (and kids themselves) can do to help students overcome or deal with their reading difficulties.


For a quick overview, start the Target the Problem! activity

Areas of reading difficulty

Click below to learn about areas where kids often have reading difficulties:

What you'll find in each section

  • An explanation of the problem and how it affects a child's reading
  • Information on how children experience the difficulty as well as what it may look like from a parent's or teacher's point of view
  • Suggestions on what parents, teachers, and kids themselves can do to help
  • Links to more information

You can also download and print this handout version of "Target the Problem!" with all the information presented in chart form.

Things to be aware of

There are many reasons why reading can be hard. Target the Problem! describes the five components of reading and difficulties that kids experience within each area.

We hope this tool helps parents and teachers become aware of specific areas in which a child is having trouble and begin targeting ways to help. (In the Other Difficulties section, you'll also find information about other sources of reading problems, such as processing difficulties and attention issues.)

It's important to note that struggling readers will often have problems in multiple areas. For example, children who have problems with phonemic awareness almost always have problems in word decoding and phonics; children with fluency problems usually have comprehension weaknesses; and a weak vocabulary also impacts comprehension. Please read through all of the sections of Target the Problem! to understand these different factors.

The key thing is, don't hesitate when you suspect a child has a reading difficulty. Trust your judgment and consider how a child does in comparison with other students. Although reading problems are best addressed when caught at a young age, it's never too late to help a child. One thing to consider early on is whether hearing or vision loss is contributing to your child's difficulties with reading. Be sure to talk with your pediatrician about having your child's hearing and vision tested. This is particularly important for children with fluid in their ears or children with allergies.

Parents play a huge role in making sure that their child's needs are being addressed by the school. Some kids end up being diagnosed with a learning disability. There is an even larger group of students, though, who never receives a diagnosis but who nonetheless needs targeted assistance to learn and read well. Because you care the most about your child, you need to understand your child's needs and advocate for him or her.

A thorough reading evaluation can help determine a child's reading difficulties. A good evaluation should clarify, for example, whether a child's primary reading problem is poor fluency with comprehension problems secondary to it, or whether other problems that contribute to poor comprehension also exist. Please see the Assessment Process for information on how to get a thorough reading evaluation for your child.

We hope you'll use this information as a starting point. The best thing that can happen is for parents, teachers, and other professionals to begin talking and strategizing how they can help a child overcome or cope with his or her reading difficulties. It takes everyone working together to help a child strengthen the skills that are so crucial to learning to read.

Target the Problem! includes suggested things parents, teachers, and kids themselves can do. The idea is not to put more pressure on a child, but to offer him or her caring support and strategies that work. With a well-informed and engaged team of both parents and teachers behind him or her, your child will have the best opportunity to succeed at reading.

The fine print

Target the Problem! is not intended to replace the expertise of trained professionals such as educational diagnosticians, school psychologists, special educators, or general educators in either diagnosing or instructing children who may have reading disabilities.

Target the Problem! is also not intended to be exhaustive in scope. The topic of reading disabilities is complex and because of the uniqueness of children, families, classrooms, and home settings, there is no one strategy that will work for all children. Please use the information provided in conjunction with information you may glean from other resources and people.

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Research Briefs

Featured Video: Target the Problem!

About this information

We created "Target the Problem!" to provide parents and classroom teachers with a tool to help them recognize and act upon a child's reading difficulties. It aims to encourage parents and teachers to start the process of engaging people who can 1) help determine the nature or source of a child's reading problems, and 2) provide targeted instruction or intervention that will help a child overcome difficulties, build upon his or her strengths, and increase skill levels.

Our overall goal is to provide accurate, research-based information; offer suggestions that are practical and feasible; present information so it is easy to understand; bring more attention to reading disabilities; and provide a bridge to the many additional resources available from The Access Center, Reading Rockets, LD OnLine, and other organizations.

In developing this information, we decided to focus on the five components of reading. These components were articulated by the National Reading Panel in 2000, and are well supported by scientific evidence.

"Target the Problem!" is a collaborative project of Reading Rockets, The Access Center, and LD OnLine.

The Access Center and Reading Rockets are funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

The following individuals contributed to the development of this material: Dr. Kathryn Drummond, Dr. Claudia Edmondson, Dr. Joanne Meier, Dr. Kathleen Ross-Kidder, and Dr. Judy Shanley.

We are grateful to the following individuals for their careful review: Dr. Lynn Fuchs, Dr. Louisa Moats, Dr. Annemarie Palincsar, Dr. Terry Salinger, Dr. Louise Spear-Swerling, and Dr. Joanna Williams.

Please let us know how you are using this tool or if you have any comments or suggestions.

10 Fun Ways to Get Kids Reading

Despite the fact that today almost everyone carries most of the world's library in their pocket, the overall level of literacy, erudition and horizons of children is not increasing. And here we are again faced with the eternal question: "What to do?". And this is not a rhetorical question at all. It is necessary to show children that reading can be fun and positive emotions. Alikhan Dinaev, based on the research of the philologist and teacher Evgenia Abelyuk, and based on personal experience, talks about ten effective techniques. nine0003

1. Read aloud to the children

And start as early as possible. Many experts, based on scientific research, advise starting literally from the first day of a child's life. The more you talk to him, the more he hears the words around him, the faster he will speak and become interested in books.

2. Show your acting talents

At the same time, you should not mumble something incoherent under your breath, but read "with feeling, with sense, with arrangement." Read as if you are the only actor in a big play playing all the roles at the same time. Say the words of a child in a sweet and funny childish voice, the words of a grandmother in an senile female voice, dilute the speech of some monster with frightening notes. nine0003

If the author writes that the hero shouted, shout, if he whispered, do the same! And if he howls, then why not play the role of a wolf for a few seconds by the light of the moon?

Do you think this is funny? That is how it is. But who said that if it looks comical, then it's bad? Believe me, the children will be completely delighted, and their sincere and contagious laughter will spread throughout the house. The author of these lines successfully tried this method on his nephews. It equally captures an 11-year-old fifth grader, and 7-year-old girls, and even a 2.5-year-old boy who, showing miracles of endurance, listened enthusiastically to the story from the book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" for almost 15 minutes. And when his grandfather began to loudly ask about what they were all doing here, the child who still could not really speak put his index finger to his mouth and said: “Shh!” nine0003

3. Read until the most interesting part - and stop

Use the same trick as screenwriters with directors of good series. Usually an episode or an entire season ends at some unexpected, climactic moment, forcing viewers to wait weeks or months to continue, discussing almost every frame of the last episode. The same can be done in reading books: the child will look forward to continuing. And many simply cannot stand it and will ask to be taught to read as quickly as possible in order to find out how it all ended. If you apply this method to a child who already knows how to read, then for sure he will look for a book the next morning and read it himself. nine0003

4. Let the child choose books himself

Today, publishers make such beautiful covers for children's books, they are so colorful that they are sure to attract the attention of even the most selective child. Try to teach your child to be surrounded by books everywhere. Go with them to bookstores and let them wander through the rows of books, explore all the shelves. Take the kids to the library, show them how beautiful it can be. And if the library turns out to be large, then any preschooler or student will be impressed for a long time by its size, beauty and views from the windows. nine0003

5. Lead by example

This is perhaps the key piece of advice. Parents should read for themselves. Otherwise, the likelihood that their children will be carried away by reading is extremely small. Let children from an early age regularly see you with a book in their hands, read and study your home library.

6. Introduce your teen to book apps

There's nothing wrong with reading e-books instead of classic paper books. And if the phone has already become a natural and integral extension of the hands of your children, then let them use it to good use. Invite them to download, for example, the Bookmate app. This is not just a reader with a huge library. It is also a real social network for book lovers, where they can find new friends, share experiences and exchange bookshelves. nine0003

7. Draw parallels between the characters and yourself, find common and different things

Compare literary characters with yourself, relatives, friends and, of course, with the child himself. Ask him a question: “How are you like the Little Prince? And what makes you different? And what would you do in his place, if you met the Fox? These and similar questions fuel interest in the content of a novel, short story, or fairy tale.

8. Make an adventure out of a book and look for hidden meanings in it

There are always riddles in a good book. And if a student reads, for example, Jules Verne, then they are there on almost every page of any work. But you can ask yourself other questions as well. How to get Oblomov off the couch? How to help Mumu escape from Gerasim and save her from death? nine0003

9. Illustrations for a book can change attitudes towards it

Sometimes it is important for a young reader to see the main characters and the places where they live. Pictures, drawings, graphics - all this can be of great help. And if your child is not even interested in Harry Potter, then he is unlikely to refuse the same book, recently published with illustrations by British artist Jim Kay. His drawings amazed even JK Rowling. They are so beautiful, bright and exciting that you want to look at and study them all the time. They interest and captivate, giving room for fantasy and imagination. And this is what we need. nine0003

10. Choose the right books

Of course, all ages are submissive to many books. But if you want to get your child interested in reading, then "Deniska's stories" by Viktor Dragunsky or "Journey around the world in 80 days" by the same Jules Verne will be among the best examples. But if your 15-year-old son says that he doesn’t want to read novels written by “long-dead, gray-haired and bearded old men from the century before last,” then advise him, for example, the book Outcasts, a classic of American literature recently translated into Russian for the first time. Its author Susan Hinton wrote The Outcasts when she was 18 years old (she started writing at 15), and the main characters of the novel are from 14 to 20 years old. Despite the writer's young age, Hinton's book became a bestseller with a total circulation of more than 20 million copies. nine0003

how to make a child friends with a book



How to raise a child?

Interactive reading: how to make a child friends with a book

  • Tags:
  • Expert advice
  • 1-3 years
  • 3-7 years
  • 7-12 years
  • nine0072 teenager
  • general development and age characteristics
  • reading
  • education
  • preschoolers

Reading is food for the mind - this is what all progressive and educated people think. Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin spoke beautifully and accurately: “Reading is the best teaching. To follow the thoughts of a great man is the most entertaining science.

In the meantime, parents and teachers state that the new generation is very reluctant to pick up books, and that it is necessary to introduce children to reading from early childhood. nine0003

By reading to a baby from the first days of life, we thereby help him to recognize important intonations and, as if into a computer program, we put in him the necessary concepts and associations. Showing pictures while reading, we introduce objects, colors, shapes - this process is not only very important for the baby, but also interesting.

In introducing children to reading, experts suggest using such an innovative method as interactive reading. Its essence is not in buying a lot of educational books, but in the interaction of the child with the book. nine0003

Principles of interactive reading

  • Collaborative reading. It is very important to get the child to fully understand the text. To do this, pauses are made during reading to explain new or incomprehensible words and expressions (there are also in fairy tales) or to talk about what interested the little reader. We are used to the need to bring the reading to the end - "Wait, finish reading, then ask." If the baby is interested in something in the process, and we know that he will soon find out the answer, we still need to pause and help the child deal with the question of interest to him. nine0073
  • Asking questions is one of the main principles of interactive reading. Ask about everything: the better the baby understands at this stage of his development, the easier it will learn to read and write in the future. Ask what the child thinks about the behavior of the hero, about the situation, about the feelings and emotions of the characters. The more questions, the better. Take, for example, "Ryaba the Hen":
  • - Why couldn't grandfather and grandmother break an egg? Why did they want to break it? Why were grandparents crying? Why didn't the hen lay a normal egg right away? (this question can already be discussed at an adult level)
  • Discuss details . To truly understand, the child must know more than what is written and drawn. Discuss illustrations, colors, animals, people, the feelings of the characters. Gradually, as they grow up, the child will learn to turn reading into an interactive process.
  • Play the story in faces. Reading can be turned into a real theatrical performance. To create a mini-performance, it is not necessary to make heroes, connect existing objects and toys, remembering to use different voices and intonation. Thanks to the visibility, the kid will quickly understand how one event leads to another and why the characters act and react the way they do. Do not be afraid to look uncomme il faut, your task is to show real emotions and get mutual pleasure from it. nine0073
  • Relate the plot to the experience - this helps the baby better understand the position of the character - why he thinks and acts the way he does. Let him tell you what similar situation he got into and how he got out of a difficult situation, or what he was thinking at that moment, what he was afraid of. Make mistakes in the descriptions and let the child correct you - this way he will learn not to be shy to express his opinion.
  • Retell your favorite stories. Ask the child to retell the books or fairy tales they read, tell the story in turn, fantasize about another possible development of the story. This will help him not only build relationships with others, but also form the right habits of behavior. nine0073
  • Praise your child while reading or discussing what they have read. “What a wonderful book you chose, well done!”, “How interesting you told this tale!” Pay attention to the little things and do not spare kind words, because this will help the baby to open up more in the future.

Joint reading can and should be turned into an exciting game. It is no secret that it is the game form of learning that is the most effective for children. And reading is a surprisingly simple and incredibly effective way to not only help your child learn something new, but also to become closer to each other. nine0003

Tamara Rybakova

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