If you notice that your child struggles to learn to read and write or looks like they are not making as much progress as expected, talk to your child’s teacher.
Each school has both funding and strategies to help students who struggle in school. Ask the school what they are already doing to support your child.
Most children will progress well when they learn:
- The sounds of the English language and how they work together (for example: Can they sound out all the individual sounds in the word ‘cat’? Can they work out what word is made up by combining sounds? Can they split words into syllables?) Teachers refer to this as phonological processing.
- The sounds of letters and of combinations of letters. Teachers often call this phonics. Ask if your child’s school is teaching phonics, particularly in primary school and if they use a specific program to do so. Check out Macquarie University’s assessment of the intervention’s validity.
- To develop their fluency. This means that rather than having to sound out every word they read, they increase the number of words they recognise by sight. This enables them to read quicker and without stumbling on many words.
- To identify new words (vocabulary). The more words your child knows, and can use appropriately, the easier they will find it to read longer texts.
- To extract meaning from text. Teachers call this comprehension. This is the skill that allows them to figure out what texts are trying to say, to make inferences when information is not straightforward, extract clues from text and generally use the information for whatever purpose they need.
Please talk to your school about what they have already done to help your child and ask for information on how they’re progressing. Children and young people within SA government schools and preschools can access specialist support from support services offices. They provide assessments of children and can assist your child’s teacher to implement the appropriate program.
Contact your child's school for more information.