Kindly written by Katie Tang, a Qualified Teacher (1st Class Hons in Primary Education) who works with children with SEN including autism, ADHD, and dyslexia. She says that, “Teaching is the only thing that gets me up in the morning.” Read her comments and tips about how to help a reluctant reader below:

Reading should be a fun, relaxing activity that children can do anywhere. At home, at school, on a train/bus/car etc. However, some children, including those with special or additional educational needs (autism, dyslexia and ADHD) can find reading challenging. This is especially true if their phonics skills, such as segmenting and blending words were not secured in the early years of their life. I have found that those children feel less confident and are often reluctant to read, especially in front of the class.

Here are my top tips to boost confidence and enthusiasm in reading:

  1. Children with SEN, including those with autism, ADHD and dyslexia are often very visual learners. When reading with your child, start with books that they are interested in and that have lots of colourful pictures. Use the pictures to support their understanding and talk about what is going on in the picture before you begin with the text. This will provide children with the context and can help them predict the words in the text. 
  2. Go through the text beforehand and underline digraphs, (2 letter sounds such as ‘ar’, ‘ea’) and trigraphs (3 letter sounds- ‘igh ‘, ‘air’) so it is easier for them to see the separate sounds and blend them together. Eg. Ch-i-ck. Highlight words, particularly tricky words that are repeated, to support the child in recognising and remembering the word.
  3. Often, children forget to ‘read’ the full stop mark. By highlighting full stops (in another colour to the tricky words), your child can be reminded that they need to take a breath and pause before beginning the next sentence and that the full stop is a significant part of the text.
  4. When reading to a child, always choose a book that you are also interested in- your child will feel your enthusiasm for the book and a ‘boring’ book will not help enthuse or encourage independent reading.
  5. Share the reading. This means alternating between you and your child so your child can copy your expressions and tone of voice when reading a story.
  6. Don’t forget to consistently praise your child, especially if they have made a mistake and then corrected it themselves. This is where the learning is happening!
  7. Many children, including those with SEN (autism, ADHD, and dyslexia) have a special interest or favourite book.  Use this book as a reward so your child sees reading as something to look forward to!
  8. Relax and enjoy your time together. Happy reading!

We LOVE Katie’s teaching philosophy. She says that, “children are wonderfully creative. They have the ability to imagine what we, as adults, can never imagine. When given enough time, effort, love and attention, and when we celebrate their incredible strengths, they have the ability to learn and develop at rapid speeds. Teaching and learning intertwine as one, as both the teacher and child do both in the shared experience. Only when you learn about the child, can you teach that child. The personal experiences that they cherish are those moments that the teacher needs to know in order to encourage and gain the necessary bond for effective learning. This is something I truly believe in.” To read Katie’s profile and to book her for your children, please click here. 

At SENsational Tutors Ltd, we aim to inspire a love of learning through fun and exciting activities. We offer tailor-made support packages in London to transform the wellbeing of children and parents. Sessions can be combined with additional behaviour or communication support, if necessary.

Fore more ideas about how to boost your child’s love of learning, read our blog on How to help your child develop a love of Maths

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