"Whether you are an adult who never learned to read, or the parent of a child struggling at school, you know the anguish of the poor reader.

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- Beacon Literacy

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Is a Reading Difficulty Hauling Your Kid Away in Handcuffs? 

“Only the educated are free.”
Epictetus 55 AD – 135 AD

Did you know that there are Justice Departments in North America that predict the future need of prison space based on grade three reading scores?

EESH!  If that was the case I should be sitting in Alcatraz by now!  When I was in Grade 3, I was struggling to read the basic grade level books.   I felt like I already WAS in prison and Dick and Jane were the wardens!

What is it about the ability to read that predicts either ultimate success or failure even in our current school systems?

Reading effectively is no less a skill than crossing the road safely, but we have more individuals who can cross the road safely than can read effectively.  This accounts for the large numbers of students standing on the wrong side of the academic highway.

Don’t Tighten the Hand Cuffs

Reading difficulties are becoming more commonplace than they use to be and in our fast paced world it is imperative that they be dealt with quickly because the longer you leave it, the worse it gets.

Why?

- It has been estimated that information is doubling every five years.  That is a tremendous pace to keep up with and if reading is a struggle, the learning gap widens and difficulties only get worse.  

- Gone are the days when the ability to read effectively was left to those who were very learned.  It is a life skill, just like crossing the road safely, that everyone needs to master.

- Our educational system relies heavily on reading and if children struggle the natural tendency is to dummy down the material for them.  This philosophy only tightens the handcuffs.

Learning to Read Effectively Breaks the Ties That Bind

Thirty years of scientific research says, the most effective way of teaching individuals to read is to use systematic, sequential phonics.  NOT phonics drill.

- Most reading difficulties are caused by a fundamental gap in an individual’s knowledge of the reading process and the basic sub-skills associated with it. 

- The time to deal with reading issues is the moment you think there is one. 

- The earlier a reading difficulty is dealt with the easier it is to correct.  Once an individual learns to read effectively, navigating the educational system is so much easier.

Here’s Your Get Out of Jail Free Card

One of the most difficult concepts in learning to read is that most of us know the alphabet and the names of the letters; however, the letter names have nothing to do with the sounds they make.
Now that is enough to confuse the best of us!

3 Things You Can Do RIGHT NOW For Your Child:

1. Parents can give their children a leg up by teaching all the letter sounds.  Make sure you teach them the correct sounds.  Example the letter ‘c’ actually makes the same sound as the letter “k” it does not make the sound ‘cuh’.
2. There are lots of books on the market that will target initial sounds but avoid those that use the word ice cream for the letter ‘i’ and xylophone for the letter ‘x’ as they are the wrong sounds.
3. Here is a website that is full of helpful worksheets for working with students at home and it covers a variety of age and grade ranges.  www.kidzone.ws

Feeling overwhelmed by it all?  Not to worry, you are certainly not alone.  The time to deal with a reading difficulty is the minute you think there may be one.  Don’t let your child or other family members become another “handcuffed” statistic.  Find out if there is a problem sooner than later and fix it before it hauls them off.  Read about the nine indicators of a possible reading difficulty and if you are in the Calgary or Victoria area, book a free reading assessment.  Losing the handcuffs was never so easy. 

Lani Donaldson, The Literacy Expert, owns an innovative tutoring company that improves a client’s literacy rate by one grade level in only 20 hours of instruction.  Lani is determined to improve the literacy rates not only in Canada but also around the world!