Reading Problems Turned Around


Accurate Assessment

Reading problems can be turned around given time and the right support. Recently, I tested a student who was substituting words in a reading passage. Probably, these errors were overlooked because the teacher was more concerned with children who were reading well below the age level. But when I looked beyond the reading and actually analysed what the child was doing, I nodded my head knowingly. This child had learnt reading by learning words off by heart. And, believe me, there are a lot of children who do this and believe or understand this to be reading. In fact, this sort of teaching/reading strategy leads to failure.

Learn to Read and Read to Learn

By about the end of Year Three or early Year Four some high reading achievers start to fail or score lower marks. This is due mainly to the increased complexity of what they are expected to learn. By Year Four, children are now reading to learn NOT learning to read. Once this level of schooling is reached,consolidated, decoding strategies are needed to unlock longer, more complex words that appear in Science, SOSE and other key learning areas.


Instead of enjoying new knowledge through reading, the child and the parents are frustrated by the fact that a once high achiever is now unable to confidently access the curriculum. That is not the only problem. What happens next is what is more serious. The child loses confidence and self- esteem plummets and then we see behavioural complications.  This is the saddest place for all involved because once these feelings of ineptitude become ingrained it is difficult to move the student to a better place. And we all know not every child is provided with the support to overcome this situation.


If students are “caught” before the problem escalates it is possible to turn the situation around. Don’t get me wrong, it is always a struggle but with parental support, consistency, perseverance and explicit teaching, engagement will improve and the child’s success can again be back on track.
Our children are facing a world that is going to be very different to the world that we grew up in. They will be facing different issues and will have to be personally responsible for problem solving to achieve their goals. We, as parents and teachers, can help children to hone the necessary skills for this new world by scaffolding them to see that they can achieve with resilience, perseverance and concentrated effort. It takes a village to raise a child is an old saying that still holds validity. But the best advice is to get expert help before academic failure raises its ugly head and then, the whole village can rest assured knowing that the reading problems turned around will build a solid community.

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Ann Foster                  

Ann Foster is a teacher with a unique talent to provide back to basics step by step programs/products and tutoring for students in Australia and overseas.Her programs and products help children, teachers and parents to achieve extraordinary results quickly. She has a track record of bringing into action programs that are easy to follow and that achieve results. Ann has been working online teaching students and adults successfully for the last four years and has taken children from average results to well above.Letter Box staff solve problems and puts wings onto dreams.