Homeschool Reading Difficulties: My Child Doesn’t Like to Read!

By James Leonard

November 1, 2023

Is your child struggling in school? It could all be tied to him saying “I don’t like to read!”. Find out what it really means, and how to correct-course!

As parents, we've all heard our children say, "I don't like to read."

This statement can be disheartening, but it often stems from difficulties in reading comprehension. Basic Christian Education (BCE) understands these struggles, and our thoughtful approach to reading comprehension aims to help children succeed in K-12 education.

Understanding the Challenge - Downfalls of the “Look-Say” Approach

The first step in addressing reading comprehension issues is to identify the root of the problem. One key thing to consider is whether a child has been trained in phonics or the "look-say" approach. The latter, which has gained popularity over the past couple of decades, relies on memorizing whole words as symbols, rather than decoding words through phonetic sounds. This approach, while effective in the early years, often leaves students struggling to read more complex texts as they encounter unfamiliar words.

The Challenge of "Hieroglyphs"

The "look-say" approach can be compared to deciphering hieroglyphs. Children may be able to recognize individual words, but stringing them together to understand the context becomes challenging. As a result, many students start to stall out around 4th or 5th grade, which impacts their overall comprehension. Searching for word meanings within a text disrupts the flow and leads to frustration, ultimately causing children to declare, "I don't like to read."

The Power of Phonics

In contrast, we advocate for the use of the phonics approach, which provides a comprehensive solution to reading comprehension challenges. Phonics teaches children to decode sounds into words, helping them bridge the gap between spoken and written language. This process allows young readers to progress from recognizing words to truly understanding them.

Beyond Phonics: The Role of Etymology

In the journey to improve reading comprehension, we then introduce etymology, which involves understanding the roots, prefixes, and suffixes of words. This knowledge enables students to decode complex words by breaking them down into their constituent parts. Typically beginning in 7th or 8th grade and continuing through high school, this method ensures a strong foundation for advanced reading.

Many times, we’ll start to see “light bulbs” going off at this phase, as students start to grasp the deeper meanings and contextual clues behind what they’re reading.

How Hearing and Vision Play A Part

Before addressing reading comprehension, it is essential to ensure that a child's hearing and vision are functioning correctly. If a child cannot hear or see correctly, reading will always be a challenge. Assessing these factors is the first step in helping academically struggling children.

Your child may simply be “tuning out” to reading because he or she has a physical barrier getting in the way! It’s important to discover this quickly so that you can get it resolved easily.

To learn more about vision and hearing, check out this article where we break it all down in a homeschooling environment.

Determining Reading Comprehension and Grade Level

Once hearing and vision issues are addressed, it’s time to determine a child's comprehension and grade level. To improve reading comprehension, it's crucial to give children reading material that matches their abilities. Sometimes, placing a student below their grade level can help them practice what they know and gain confidence, ensuring they can enjoy their reading journey.

In addition, don’t forget that your children aren’t just students - they’re kids, first! Every child is unique and has their own interests. Often, a simple trick is to simply give them materials that makes them excited to read in the first place! This was the case with my own son - we initially struggled to get him interested in reading. When we introduced a few simple books that aligned with his interests it was like he became a new kid! He was reading with fervor because his imagination was engaged. It unlocked an entirely new world for him, and from that point on, we actually had difficulty getting him to put books down!

Building Vocabulary and Comprehension

A strong vocabulary is the key to reading comprehension. By mastering a set of vocabulary words within the context of their subjects, students are better prepared for tests and quizzes. Our curriculum introduces words in a way that children can pronounce, understand, and use in context, creating a foundation that continually expands as students progress through their education.

Let’s Get Your Child Reading

Hopefully, we’ve helped you see a quality approach to reading comprehension designed to address the struggles that children face when learning to read. By focusing on phonics, etymology, and vocabulary development, you can ensure your students not only read but also comprehend what they read. In doing so, you pave the way for success in any school subject, and life as a whole! So, if your child is struggling with reading comprehension, consider the BCE approach to unlock their full potential and ignite a love for reading.

Keywords: reading
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