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  • Writer's pictureLisa Joesten

Tips for Parents: How you can help your struggling reader at home

The following are some fun and easy activities you can do at home, in the car, or while waiting in line at the store that don't take a lot of time, but can be a huge difference maker in a developing or struggling reader! Below are all essential pre-reading skills necessary for developing readers. Deficits in these areas are indicators of possible reading delays or disorders such as Dyslexia.

  1. Rhyming games- See how many words you and your child can come up with that rhyme. Start with simple, one syllable words like cat, car, tree, etc., but then move to multi-syllable words like middle, startle, or thimble as a challenge. Play rhyming “I Spy.” You say “I spy with my little eye something that rhymes with … [grable].” The student looks around and sees a “table.” It’s great to do this to pass the time in a new place, like a restaurant, a waiting room, etc.

  2. Sound Deletion- Ask your child to say a word, then ask them to remove the first sound or the last sound. For example, "Say 'car'. Now say 'car' without the /c/." Or "Say 'movie'. Now say 'movie' without the /e/." “What word is left if I start with [pie] but take away the [/p/ sound]?” Words like pie, take, chart, cape, etc., all have hidden words in them.

  3. Word Segmentation- Count words in sentences. Have your child think of a short sentence to describe a recent event. (“I went to the beach yesterday.”) Clap the words and count them. Make the sentence longer and count again. (“I went to the beach yesterday and it was really windy.”)

  4. Syllable Blending and Segmentation- Count syllables in words. As you’re unloading groceries clap the syllables in the items. “How many times did we clap?” Some new exotic additions to the grocery list may spice this up a little (“arugula!”). You could vary this by listing just things you like or dislike, or choosing a category of thing (animals, cars) your child is interested in.

  5. Syllable Deletion- Using compound words, ask what’s left when you take away a word. This is the kind of thing that might work on a car ride. “If you start out with a [starfish, football] and you take away the [star, foot], what’s left?” Work on first and last parts of the words.

A little bit of sound and word work goes a long way! Have fun with it!

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