Colorin Colorado: Helping children read... and succeed!
A bilingual site for families and educators of English language learners
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FAQs

Motivation

Frequent questions

  • Question 1: My child is struggling in school. As a result, she has very low self-esteem. How can I help to build up her confidence?
  • Question 2: My daughter is reading below grade level. What can I do to help her become a good reader and get to a point where she enjoys reading?

Expert answers

Question:

My child is struggling in school. As a result, she has very low self-esteem. How can I help to build up her confidence?

Answer:

It is common for struggling children to have feelings of low self-esteem. These feelings often accompany learning disabilities, but can also affect people who are not learning disabled. It may be a good idea to see a psychologist who could address these feelings that make learning, and even living, difficult.

LD OnLine has an entire section devoted to self-esteem issues with LD students. The following link provides information about ways to build self-esteem.

Question:

My daughter is reading below grade level. What can I do to help her become a good reader and get to a point where she enjoys reading?

Answer:

Beginning readers need lots of practice reading – it takes time, practice, time, and more practice! Work with your daughter's teacher to learn exactly at what level she is reading. Then, go to the library and load up on books written at that level and below. Provide her with time each day to read and reread those below reading level books. You'll want to build up her confidence and fluency with those books. Then, support her reading by reading her the books at her instructional level. Prompt her to sound out words that can be sounded out (and just tell her the ones that can't or are too tricky). Praise her efforts and reread each book multiple times over the course of a week or two. Finally, get some terrific children's literature written above her reading level. Model lots of good expression and let her hear what good, fluent reading sounds like. Check Reading Rockets' Books & Authors section for some great titles!

Do everything you can to provide a fun climate for reading. If a book is too hard, put it away. Reinforce her efforts and continue to work closely with your school and teachers. If she continues to struggle, talk with them about additional testing and some one-on-one supervised tutoring.