How to help if your child reads slowly

by Patricia Hipwell September 12, 2018

How to help if your child reads slowly

If you and your children battle frustration and anxiety when it comes to learning and practising to read at home, you’re not alone.  Parents and caregivers play a significant role in helping children learn to read, but unless you have learned to teach children how to read, it is likely you will not know how to do it.

logonliteracy is sharing some tips to help parents identify the reading behaviours of children and how they can help. This week we look at what to do if your child reads slowly or stumbles over words.

If your child reads slowly, in a laboured way, the text is probably too difficult for them.

Reading slowly and awkwardly can be a sign that the text is too difficult for the reader. The reader is putting all their energy into saying the words or decoding the text, leaving very little room in the brain for making meaning from the text.    

Readers who do not become fluent in reading, or are unable to read quickly, can become discouraged from reading. As a result, your child will do less of the very thing that they should do more of to become better.

If the text is too difficult:

  1. Find a book that is easier for the child to read. As a general rule, the text is too difficult for readers if they stumble on more than 1 in 10 words.
  2. Make sure they know the 200 most common words in English. Help your child learn these words as quickly as possible because they make up approximately 80 per cent of all English sentences.
  3. Read the text with your child, making sure you are a little behind them but able to carry them through the tricky parts.
  4. Read the text and ask your child to follow along with their eyes. Do this a couple of times then get your child to read the text. You can prompt them and read with your child if necessary.
  5. Use voice to text software and let the child listen to the text a couple of times. This allows your child to recognise more difficult words in the text. Kindles and iPads have this function, and there are plenty of programs on the Internet you can use.
Encourage your child to re-read the text several times to improve fluency.  
How to help when your child reads slowly...




Patricia Hipwell
Patricia Hipwell

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