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Six-Year-Old with Reading Difficulties

Elementary School Expert Advice from Barbara Potts

Q: My six-year-old is having problems with rhyming words and sight words. His teacher thinks that another year of kindergarten will help. My husband and I don't want to hold our son back. Can you suggest any activities that may help him?

A: Talk with your son's teacher or with the technology specialist at his school about appropriate software to help him with those skills. Make sure that your son has regular opportunities (daily, or perhaps on alternate days) to work with the software. This consistent work over the summer will encourage development of his reading skills while making sure that he doesn't lose all that he learned this year.

Check with a book store or a teachers' supply store for workbooks that your son can use as well. Again, making sure that he has regular times to work on this will help tremendously.

Most importantly, read for 15 minutes with your son every day this summer. Ask the librarian at your public library for help in choosing interesting books at your son's reading level. Many children's books use rhyming words in the text, and his sight-word recognition will improve with practice.

If your son does go on to the next grade, be sure to monitor his progress next year. If he continues to have trouble with his reading, request that he be screened for a possible learning difference.

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Barbara Potts has worked as an elementary school counselor for many years. She has a BA in psychology from Wake Forest University, and an M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


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