Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing Column 21
This editorial article was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.
When is the Right Time for Reading Intervention?
The Children’s Book Review
How Do You Know if Your Child Needs Reading Intervention
Children learn to read at varying speeds and with different levels of ease. Because of this, it can be hard to know if your child is simply a bit behind, is unmotivated, lacks a love of reading, or has a serious reading difference such as dyslexia.
Research has shown that early intervention is incredibly effective and greatly increases the chances of bringing a child up to grade level. Studies have also shown that early intervention helps to increase gray matter in the brain—as evidenced by increased activity in the frontal and temporal lobe. If your child, or a child you know, is struggling with reading or writing, reach out to their educators or anyone that may spend time with them, so that you can begin to take the steps needed to help increase their reading and writing skills, and in turn, their self-esteem.
ALL children, especially those that struggle with reading, respond best to early intervention that is explicit, multisensory, structured and sequential. It is important to note that if your child begins intervention and tutoring, and turns out to not have a reading difference, that is okay! Intervention will boost a child’s skills, confidence, and hopefully their love of reading and learning. It will only help your child become the best reader they can be! If you worry that your child may have dyslexia, an Orton Gillinham intervention approach is the gold star standard intervention for dyslexia (it covers all of these aspects) and can be intertwined with various other beneficial programs.
The textbook definition of dyslexia can be overwhelming, but it is important to understand what dyslexia really is, and the warning signs, to help you figure out the right next steps for your struggling reader. Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability that refers to a cluster of symptoms that result in people having difficulties with specific language skills, particularly reading. Dyslexia causes difficulty retaining (remembering and recalling) phonemes (sounds) and letter sound correspondence. In other words, a child will have a very difficult time retaining the sounds that letters make, which is the foundation for learning how to decode and read.
Those with dyslexia need hundreds of exposures to something a child without dyslexia might retain in a day or two. In addition, children with dyslexia are consistently inconsistent—they may seem to grasp a skill one day and not at all on another day. There is no relationship between IQ and dyslexia; in fact, a large discrepancy between reading ability and IQ can be a warning sign (such as a high IQ and very low reading skills).
Dyslexia is genetic. Children have a 50% chance of having dyslexia if one parent has it and a 100% chance if both parents have it. Dyslexia ranges from mild to severe. If you or your partner have dyslexia, or struggled with reading as a child, it is a good idea to start early intervention for your child. If you worry that your child may have dyslexia, an Orton Gillinham intervention approach is the gold star standard intervention and can be intertwined with various other beneficial programs.
For more information on Dyslexia, check out the following article: Learning About Dyslexia: How You Can Help
Here are a few things to look out for to determine whether or not reading intervention might be helpful for your child:
- Does your child struggle with retaining the letters of the alphabet, despite frequent exposure?
- Does your child struggle with retaining letter/sound correspondence, despite frequent exposure?
- Is your child inconsistent in the things that he/she can recall about letters and sounds?
- Does your child read effortlessly, but not retain or comprehend what they are reading? (Struggles with reading comprehension?)
- Do the child’s parents and/or siblings have dyslexia? Did they struggle with reading at an early age?
- Does your child struggle with rhyming?
If your child has yet to begin Kindergarten, here are a few skills that your child should be exposed to, in order to help build a strong literacy foundation:
- phonemic awareness (playing around with and manipulating sounds)
- letter/sound correspondence and alphabet knowledge
- high-frequency word knowledge
- rhyming background
Here is a helpful website with lots of free, printable phonemic activities that help teach all of the above skills through fun games!
Thank you for reading the Growing Readers: Learning to Love Reading and Writing column. Bookmark this Growing Readers Column link or subscribe to our e-newsletter so you do not miss out on the monthly reading tips. How Graphic Novels Boost Literacy Skills and a Love of Reading was written by Lizzie Mussoline, M. Ed.—follow her on Instagram: @wildflower_learning_denver.