Those who struggle with reading experience varying degrees of stress at school, doing their homework and with any activity that involves reading. It is hard for them to understand why they have such a difficult time with something that appears to come so easily for everyone else around them.
The signs of stress in children are well known nowadays: embarrassment, anxiety, withdrawal, not wanting to go to school, tiredness, irritability, headaches or stomach aches, difficulty sleeping, lying, thumb sucking, fingernail biting, or loss of appetite.
When they are feeling anxious about something like reading or taking a test they could use these strategies to help them cope:
- Teach them to slow their breathing down. Count to four slowly for breathing in and breathing out. They will find that their body begins to relax and they can release some of the anxiety.
- Have them imagine what would happen if they did fail the test—would they get kicked out of school? Would they die? Of course not. Help them put their fear in perspective by rating it from 1-10: 1 being someone bugging you, a 10 being someone you care about getting hurt or dying. Most issues fall around 2-4 in reality.
- Get them into a reading program that they can see quick gains and success so that they know they can improve and find real success in reading. The program should be researched-based and should be systematic, explicit and sequential in its approach. See how the Discover Intensive Phonics Reading Method fits these requirements.
- Read with your child so they can have a positive experience with reading to draw from.
- Praise your child often. Notice and acknowledge all of their amazing strengths.