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Are you worried about your child’s reading development?

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

The nine points below were written in consultation with an experienced education practitioner.

1. Make a note of what is concerning you. This makes it easier to discuss with the teacher and easier to remember when ‘on the spot’.

2. Try to be specific. Lots of reading difficulties are in fact developmental, meaning there are peaks and troughs in reading ability and pupils will find things easier/ more difficult at different ages and stages. However, noticing specifically what’s tough for your child will help home and school find the right strategies, solutions and support.

3. Early intervention is good so feel confident to approach school for a discussion.

4. Communication is key. So pop in as regularly as you feel you need to and make sure you use the mechanisms in place e.g. reading progress book etc. This helps both home and school keep track.

.5. Consistency is helpful. Use the same reading instructions and resource at home as they do in school. If you don’t speak Welsh, ask for guidance from the teacher on the best way to teach what your child needs in English.

6. Remember: learning to read and write can be a slow process. Keep calm and have patience. If you or your child is getting frustrated, leave and come back later.

7. It is suggested that ‘little and often’ is the best way to learn literacy skills so 10mins daily is better than 40mins once per week (for example).

8. Repetition and over learning is key to learning literacy skills so doing the same work over so that children can master skills is important.

9. It can be an emotional journey when you’re helping your child with something they find tough. So be kind to yourself and stay curious about what might be helpful.


For me, the point that resonates with me most is number 6. I really like to try and get every word right and finish the book, so I had to work hard at just keeping it light and putting the book down whenever they lost interest. For years one of our children struggled with reading, and then suddenly they just 'got it', so we've really experienced the 'peaks and troughs' too!

Any form of reading can foster a love of books and learning, so even if you read a few pages a day and point out the odd word, they're probably learning more than you think. Finding the books and stories that they enjoy (in whatever language) will give them a fantastic start and foster a love of reading.

But always chat to their teacher if you are concerned or struggling, and trust your instincts.

If you are still reading this, you are clearly invested in giving them the best start in reading that you can, so yeah, as point nine says, from one parent to another; be kind to yourself. I know how hard it can be.

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