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What Can a Parent Do if Their Child is Reading Below Grade Level?

What Can a Parent Do if Their Child is Reading Below Grade Level?

Here's some expert advice on what parents can do if your child is reading below their grade level.

The first thing a parent should do is decipher how low below grade level their child is reading. If your child is only a year behind or less, then perhaps all that's needed is some tutoring.

However, if the child has an IEP (Individualized Education Program) you may ask the school to provide resources for your child to focus more on reading. Furthermore, the parent can ask the school to provide SETSS (Special Education Teacher Support Services) for their child directly in a small group focusing on reading.

If the problem persists or exacerbates it is crucial to have your child tested for learning disabilities, especially if reading difficulties are in your family history, and have their ears and eyes evaluated. The child's school legally has an obligation to test your child for any disabilities that they might have.

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The parents have the right to disagree with the school's evaluation and ask the school to provide you with an Independent Education Evaluation. Once a diagnosis is given you can consult with a professional regarding how to approach the Committee on Special Education regarding supplemental instruction needed for your child.

A parent can also request the school do an Assisstive Technology evaluation to decide if specific electronics such as iPads and literacy applications can help supplement your child's education.

Aside from school services the parents can ask the school to provide an intensive reading 1:1 program such as Lindamood Bell. Intensive individual reading programs are very expensive costing well over a $100 per hour and require a student participate in at least 200 hours. Therefore at that stage, you will be forced to request an impartial hearing against the Department of Education or the school district for these imperative but costly services.

Parents should remember that many kids learn to read by 1st grade and often the knowledge they attain before entering school, either at home or in the community can affect a child's ability to learn. 88% of children who have a problem reading in first grade will continue to have that problem in 4th grade. The National Assessment of Educational Progress reading test illustrates that 33% of American fourth graders read below basic levels.

Teachers with reading training should balance the various components of reading, including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. The kids who are struggling with reading usually have problems sounding out words. These difficulties are known as decoding and word recognition problems.

Parents can assist their child by reading aloud together so they can gain confidence, the ability to recognize letters of the alphabet, knowledge of print books, and awareness of phonemes (the sounds of words).

Reading is a very complex skill, however it is also the building block of all learning. If your child is showing any signs of reading difficulty that is resulting in the child preforming below his/her aptitude- get your child evaluated and consult with professionals as to the best by to assist your child in achieving grade level or above reading.

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Author: Ms. Bakshi went to law school at The George Washington University Law Center and also received a Master's in Mental Disability Law from New York Law School while opening her practice that specializes in Education law with a focus on Special Education. Ms. Bakshi consults with parents on issues relating to IEPs, 504 plans, suspensions and expulsions. Bakshi Law is located in downtown Manhattan and West Islip Long Island serving all parents. See More

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