3 Simple Strategies For Better Reading Skills

Is your child struggling with reading or comprehension? Are you feeling guilty because your child may not be improving as quickly as you would like? The good news is that there are some secret tricks you can do to help them improve.

Cross-lateral movements

You are probably wondering what crawling and leg tapping has to do with reading! The answer lies in the brain.  When you read, information has to come through the visual system and then to the corpus callosum. This area connects the left and right sides of the brain. 

             Sometimes a child will have difficulty reading because they are struggling to process the information across both sides of their brain. You may have noticed that they do not alternate their feet when coming downstairs, or that they do not have a dominant hand.  Also, as an infant, they may not have had a “typical” crawl-they may have dragged one foot or skipped crawling all together. 

     Cross-lateral movements include crawling, and alternating tapping knees with the opposite hand. Doing these movements daily, and before you begin to read can help to get the brain ready to learn.  This can improve reading and comprehension. In fact, many schools in Japan incorporate crawling in their reading programs.

 

Visual Exercises

Just like the brain, the visual system is responsible for processing information when reading. Sometimes the eyes struggle with tracking, or smoothly processing the information on a page.  This underlying issue can affect reading as well as comprehension.  Here are some simple ways to strengthen the visual system at home.

Websites such as Eye Can Learn offer some visual tracking exercises. Alternatively, you can try this at home:

 Have your child kneel on the floor and sit back on his or her feet. Make certain they lift their head and look straight ahead.

Take a red or orange-colored object and hold it in front of their eyes about a foot away. Slowly move the object around to one side of their head and pause. Then move it slowly back to the center and pause. Finally, move it all the way to the opposite side and pause. 

 Repeat this process and speed it up as you go along.  Working on these visual exercises a few times a week will help to strengthen the vision and brain connection.

Read with your child-but not the way you have been!

This sounds very basic, but many parents who are reading with their children nightly are missing out by not utilizing a few simple tactics. 

Repeat after me.

If your child is struggling to read words, then you read a line (or three) and have them read it after you (repeating what you say). This will help with comprehension and word recognition.

Give them the word.

If your child is struggling at all with a word-give it to them.  You may think that having them sound it out will be more beneficial, but it actually has the opposite effect.  Children who are struggling with a word will expend so much energy trying to sound it out that they will forget what they have read. This can lead to a decrease in overall reading comprehension.

Ask questions the right way.

When you finish the book make sure to discuss it by asking questions.  Instead of asking “what happened” it is much more effective to ask questions like “in the beginning _____ (this happened) and what do you think ______(character) was feeling? “

Or “At the end ______(the character) finally returned home. What do you think she learned?”

By giving some information about what happened when- you can help your child to improve comprehension beyond simple fact recall.

 

These are three simple secrets to improving your child’s reading today.  To learn more about how you can help your child improve their academics, social skills, and behavior visit movementmatters.com to learn more!

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