If your child is having
trouble with reading, the first step toward getting support is to talk with the teacher. That can happen in person, like at a parent-teacher conference. Or you can set up another time to talk. (If you can’t meet in person, try connecting by phone or email.)
But what exactly do you say about reading difficulties? And how do you say it?
It can be hard to talk about problems with reading. Some parents and caregivers feel embarrassed. Or they worry that people will think it’s their fault. Others might feel uncomfortable talking to teachers in general. But teachers can be a great source of information and guidance.
There are a few rules of thumb to follow when you have the conversation:
Ask follow-up questions.
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Don’t be afraid to keep asking. The whole point is to understand reading struggles and find out what can help.
Here are some sample conversation starters to make it easier to talk with the teacher about your child’s trouble with reading.
Asking to meet or talk: “Hi. I’m Will’s mom, Gina. I’m worried about Will’s reading, and I’d like to set up a time to talk about it.”
Starting the conversation: “Thanks for talking with me. I’m concerned Will is having trouble with reading. I know you told us that kids should take a half-hour to complete reading assignments, but they take Will twice as long. Does this mean there’s a problem?”
Sharing information: “This might not be related, but Will gets angry when I remind him to read, and he puts it off until the last minute. At first, I thought he was just trying to get out of doing work. But could it be more than that?”
Getting information: “Can you tell me how Will’s doing with reading? I know there’s a lot that goes into reading. Is there anything specific he has trouble with? Does it take it longer than it should?”
Following up on answers: “I know you’ve mentioned
reading fluency before, but I’m not sure what it means. Can you give me an example?”
Asking about help: “What can help Will with reading? Are there things you can do in class, or is there someone else at school who can give him some extra help? Should I be doing something at home?”
Finishing the conversation: “Thanks so much for your help. I have a much better idea of what’s happening and what to look for. Once I’ve had time to think about this, can I check in with you to talk about what happens next?”