5yr old trouble with reading. Any tips?


Ariana - posted on 01/18/2013




I just want to say that developmentally children aren't actually meant to start reading until they're almost 7. Of course they should know their alphabet etc. but actually reading isn't meant until then.

It's sort of like, you can teach a 4/5 year old to ride a bike, but developmentally they would be able to do it a lot faster and easier if they waited until they were 7 and tried it. That's how it is with reading, you CAN teach a 4/5 year old to read (and some will do it more naturally than others) but in general they aren't actually ready. Our school system keeps pushing young children to do things that they aren't even developmentally ready to do and it's very sad.

The main reason I say this is to let you know that this most likely isn't an issue with your son (of course there MAY be some sort of learning disability or issue if it continues on) but just him not being developmentally ready to do this yet.

I would start trying to read to him every day (you may already be doing so). The best way to do this is to put it into your routine (usually bedtime routine) so that no matter what you read him three or four stories every day. Try to find him books he can be interested in. The best way to get a child interested in reading is to read to them consistantly.

Then I would say try to set up a time to work on reading with him for a short period of time each day, so even put a timer on for 10 minutes and get him to work on the reading (whatever level he is at). I find phonetics is the best way so to make sure he knows his alphabet and the sounds each letter makes and have him learn to sound the words out. If you put a timer on it lets him know he's only going to have to work on it for 10 minutes. Sometimes pairing it with something good afterwards, so you do your 10 minute reading, and then you can watch a show/go to the park etc. Try to make it as fun as possible (if you can).

There are also lots of learning things, sometimes they have very simple books, things with stories like Mat Sat, Sam Sat, Sam sat on Mat. Just simple repetitive stories he can work on.


This type of book is very simple and repetitive. I know sometimes I would try to find a book for my son to read at level 1 or prelevel 1 and it was still WAAY to much.

If he has trouble with even that much just work on really simple words, like CAT DOG etc. get him sounding the word out. Try to use the same words each day, don't mix it up to much until he's used to doing it, slowly add new or different words but make sure he's able to sound out the other ones before you throw more at him. If you can find words of things he likes that's better. My son used to love diggers and if you wrote the word 'dig' for him he'd find it hilarious (no idea why...). Obviously not with everything but still. Try to make it fun by having the word CAT and then you draw cats together. Or if he's done some words and is used to it make a matching game where you have a picture of a cat and dog and bug and the words and you have to match them up and then draw them, or when he finds the match you have to act like the animal (or w/e) anything to make it more engaging and worth doing.

There are also online programs like www.readingeggs.com where he can work at his own pace with a computerized aspect. Some kids find this more fun and engaging and will take to it easier than having to sit down and do it.

You might also consider getting a tutor, since some kids tend to work better with another adult rather than all the pressure being on the parent. If he's the type of child who will fight your attempts to get him better at reading and it will start to become a battle you may be better finding a tutor to assist you. Even a highschool student to come work with him once a week can do great things.

I know I had a tutor when I was 7 for reading and the changes happened very quickly. My Dad tells me all I needed was a little extra attention and then I was off and flying, and I love reading now.

It's great that you're trying to find ways for him to read better, but like I said developmentally he may just not be up there yet and it's quite possible a year from now everything will just click and he'll have it. Try to stay positive about it so he doesn't feel like he's dumb because he's having trouble. Make sure to read to him a lot and try to work with him on it but don't put a lot of pressure on him and try to make it fun. If it starts to become a negative thing to get him to read get him a tutor or outside way to work on it. You don't want him to relate to reading in a really negative way now or else he may hold onto that into his later years.

Good luck!

Cecilia - posted on 01/18/2013




Could be a few things, the first thing that pops into my mind is have you had him/her tested for Dyslexia? One clear sign of it is s/he had a hard time learning the alphabet, specially recognizing letter. They also can mess up letters and write them backwards, for example b &d, p & q.

Call your pediatrician and explain s/he is having trouble and you would like to have it looked into. they would know who to send you to so you can have learning disabilities ruled out.


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Amanda - posted on 06/15/2014




Apps!!! I love using apps to keep my daughter engaged and entertained on educational apps. She is 5 as of a couple months ago and she loves them! My favourite is Best Kids Songs and Stories, give that a try and see what you think! Hope this helps!

Allison - posted on 01/18/2013




I got a computer in two rooms. I showed my son Instant Messenger. I said you can message me, but it has to be full words (later sentences). He fell in love with reading my messages back.

Jodi - posted on 01/18/2013




The best way for a child to gain confidence in reading is to ensure he is reading books that are very simple and not TOO challenging. There is time for them to read more challenging texts once they can gain their confidence. So choose books that are relatively simple for him, give him lots of encouragement.

Cecilia - posted on 01/18/2013




Well then i would said just be patient and tell him it's a hard task to read and you're proud of him for trying. I think he'll get it. Some kids really do have a hard time reading. If you push too hard they end up hating it forever. When he gets words tell him good job and give him a hug. Really, it just does take time sometimes.

Beatrice - posted on 01/18/2013




Thank you ladies!
He knows his sight words and his alphabet and can read simple books but he struggles at times.(we read everyday) Its like he doesnt want to dissappoint me, so he gets upset if he says a word wrong.
His teacher told me today, it seems as if my son doesnt have confidence when reading. Am I doing something wrong?

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