My child’s teacher reported that he needs help with reading.
My child is in K1 and still can’t read.
Sounds familiar? If I counted the number of times this topic comes up in my discussions with parents, I would need a calculator to keep track. But it is a valid concern, and I’m glad parents are asking!
Here are the questions that have been tingling in my mind for weeks: “Why is this problem so rampant? Might it be that the issue is not the child but something else?” When I tried to answer those, more questions came up—questions you might like to consider. There are no right and wrong answers to these questions. I ask them merely to bring up points of view that may have escaped you. My purpose is to help you understand why reading has been reported to be a problem for your child, and what you can do about it.
- First, the child is reportedly slow in reading… according to whom and compared to what? Not in a sarcastic way, but to help you figure out where your child really stands. Do note that it matters what standards a teacher uses to assess our children. If your child is simply being compared to other children, there is room for relief. As we all know, children develop at different rates. My sister began reading at the age of four. I know of children who somehow could not “get the hang of it” till age seven. If possible, find out from your child’s teacher by what standard your child is considered a slow reader. Not being able to read books by age five is a common issue. And the fact that it is, says something about the accuracy of the standard… or perhaps the efficiency of the teaching methods.
- Second, taking into consideration his age and development, why is this a concern in the first place? What is putting the pressure on us? Most parents would answer, “Primary 1.” In kindergarten, not being able to read well is not a major concern. The gap they have to jump is the transition from Kindergarten 2 to Primary 1. Suddenly our children are required to recognize words and read off instructions and problem sums as though they’ve been doing it all their lives. That is the issue. Why is this important to know? So that you can chart your action plan. More on this later on.
Do you see how answering these two questions could solve some headaches for you? It clears the fog and helps you understand what the real problem is. It may not be that your child is slow and lazy. The issue here might just be a fast-paced system. Of course, what we can do to influence or change the system is limited. Yes, I do think that we need changes in the education system to make it more efficient. But I am not here to denounce our education system or shout for revolution. I’m here to help you, right now. What can we do to help our children cope in a demanding system?
Think over this questions for awhile. I’ll see you next week with some suggestions and some thoughts. And take heart, parents, knowing the problem is half the battle won!
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