Some children struggle with reading. The fact is that for almost 40 percent of kids learning to read is a challenge to some extent or another. There is good news and that is that with early help, most reading problems can be prevented or corrected.

The worst thing you can do if you notice your child is struggling is to wait to get help. Some parents wait in the hope that the problem might resolve itself

The older a child gets the more difficult it is to teach them to read. In that sense, the window of opportunity is small.

Why kids struggle

There are a few reasons why kids might struggle with learning to read.

Some children have a disability that makes reading difficult to learn, others begin school without the early reading experiences they need to become readers and some children struggle because they are taught poorly by the person responsible for teaching them how to read.

The good news if these barriers to becoming a reader are identified early a child who struggles to read can be taught.

Lack of early reading experiences

Learning to read begins a long time before a child begins school. Children need to have reading ‘sold’ to them right from young and need to be a part of a reading rich home. Children who are exposed to reading and language experiences early on will

  • Develop a vocabulary that means they can make sense of text they read later on,
  • Understand that we read for a number of reasons – to be entertained, to be informed, and
  • Be able to make connections between spoken language and words on pages

Disabilities impairing reading

Sometimes things go amiss that you as a parent have no hand in. Some children have learning disabilities that impair their ability to learn to read.

Some of the more widely recognized causes of reading problems are vision and hearing impairments and poor speech and language development. There are other children who have problems reading because of a learning disability.

Keep in mind that children vary a great deal in how they develop and learn. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s progress, talk with your family doctor, a teacher or speech and language therapist.

Where can I get help?

Don’t feel that you are alone. Family members and friends may be willing to support you in helping your child learn to read. Your child’s teacher and local librarians are knowledgeable and can offer help. You can also seek advice from community organizations in NZ such as child care centres and from your family doctor.

The key is to ask and be open about what is going on.

Useful Websites


Reading Rockets is a U.S.A. website providing excellent strategies, teaching methods, and information resources (including “Kids Who Struggle With Reading”) for parents wanting to improve their children’s reading.


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This information was compiled by the Kiwi Families team.

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If your child complains that words are blurry, or move, or they see the text in double they may have a common vision problem called Convergence Insufficiency.

Engaging Eyes ( http://www.engagingeyes.com ) is an excellent on line game which improves convergence problems.

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