How to Identify Reading Problems

Imagine children sitting in class. The teacher assigns all of the children to read some pages out of their text book. All of the students begin to read but there are several students who sit there staring at the page with no idea how to even begin. This situation, unfortunately, happens a lot in the classroom. Sometimes the teacher does not even realize that there is an issue and that is when it becomes a real problem. Statistically, children who are behind from the beginning, when it comes to reading, will be behind forever and it becomes a catch up games for all of the teachers of the children. There are many children in school who struggle with reading. There are a lot of ways for the teacher of the classroom to identify those problems and for the parent. 

Teachers should identify these reading issues through quick assessments, such as: running records, anecdotal notes (just observing the child reading), doing comprehension checks. It is very important for the parents/guardians of the children to read with them. While reading, note what they are struggling with. Are they confused with vowels? consonants? Maybe their issue is with comprehension. Try asking the students if they can identify the beginning, middle, and end of the story or have then tell you the 5 W’s (who, what, when, where, and why). This will tell you whether they truly understand the story because the child may be a good word caller, but without the comprehension piece, it does not mean as much. Another way to identify reading problems is to record the child reading out loud. Try to find patterns of where the issues are occurring.

What can you do to help the child? That really depends on the issue that they are having. If it is comprehension, practice with them retelling the story and make graphic organizers with them while reading. There are a ton of great resources on the internet to help with any of these reading issues. If the issue is fluency (are they reading too slow? too fast? You want them to be reading at a nice pace and taking breaks at the punctuation), try modeling for the child how to read a paragraph or a couple of sentence. Model the pace that you read and model how you would stop and take breaks at commas and periods. If the issue if phonics related, teachers typically have some kind of word work (word sorting, word hunts, making words). Parents can ask for those materials to be sent home so that they can be worked on at home. Another great resource is the phonics dance. If the school that your child is at does not have one set up, you can easily find one online.