Many children struggle a little when they start to learn to read but time and good teaching helps them to overcome those initial difficulties. However, if by half way through his first year, your child can’t recognize around one hundred common, short words then he may be experiencing difficulties. Don’t disregard the signs as the dangers of ignoring reading difficulty in children can be traumatic and far reaching.
Embarrassment and Frustration
Reading difficulty in children brings out all sorts of emotions; embarrassment because they look foolish in front of their class mates and frustration because no matter how hard they try, they just can’t get the words out and reading aloud in class becomes a trial.
School children being what they are, children with reading problems will be teased and even bullied by their class mates, and may end up in trouble by trying to fight the bullies.
Teachers and parents of these children see an apparently intelligent child who doesn’t seem to be trying to learn to read, so they are labelled “lazy” or “careless” or “stupid”. This adds to the child’s frustrations because he is trying so hard, but he just can’t live up to adults’ expectations.
Anxiety and Anger
Children with reading problems can become anxious and withdrawn if nobody recognizes that they have a genuine difficulty. Because these children expect to fail, they will become anxious when faced with a new situation which involves participation in school work.
Reading difficulties can also lead to an unstable temperament. Teachers and parents think the child isn’t trying, class mates think he’s stupid and he can do nothing about it, so he becomes angry and starts to lash out at those closest to him such as parents or siblings.
A child who is unable to read properly will have difficulties with any other school work which requires reading. As he gets older there will be more and more subjects which require reading skills, such as history and geography to name but two.
A child with normal reading abilities will develop his own self-image during his school years and in general, it will be a positive one leading him to believe that all things are possible and that the world is his oyster.
Children with reading problems will begin to feel inferior to their school mates and siblings who can read fluently. Constant failure will lead to feelings of low self-esteem and a reluctance to make an effort because doing so doesn’t make any difference. Their view of the future will be a dim one and they won’t expect to succeed in life.
The dangers of ignoring reading difficulty in children can result in any or all of the above emotions for the children, and many of them fail to complete school because it seems so pointless, and of those who do graduate from high school very few go on to further education.
If you suspect that your child is having difficulty reading, do seek help while he’s young and don’t let him develop into a frustrated and angry adult