Helping your child with literacy at home
We all know children are different and progress at different rates, but it can still be rattling if your child is the one who seems to be lagging behind their peers.
National Curriculum guidelines about attainment at different ages/year groups are generic, so just because your child isn't reading quite as well as a friend's child doesn't necessarily mean there's anything wrong with them.
Some babies walk at 10 months, while others can be 18 months before they show the slightest bit of interest in becoming independently mobile: it's the same with learning to read and write, there's a wide variation in the ages at which children acquire these skills.
However, that said, if you're worried about your child's lack of progress with reading or writing, the first thing you should do is to talk to his/her class teacher. They will be able to talk through any areas your child finds difficult and he/she can give you ideas about activities you can do with your child at home.
It might also be worth getting your child's eyesight and hearing checked in case they're having problems with either of these.
For example, some children suffer with glue ear which affects their ability to hear certain sounds. In very young children, this may delay speech development, and in older children it may delay reading and writing skills.
If you feel your child may have special educational needs, talk to your child's school. They may be able to allay your concerns, or will be able to talk through any assessment processes that might be needed.
Supporting your child
Any support you give to your child at home should be in a relaxed atmosphere. It's easier said than done when you're getting frustrated, but try to remain positive and praise your child for any attempts they make. If you want to vent, get on Mumsnet Talk — it's not only therapeutic but you'll get advice from other parents, too.
If literacy at home becomes a battle, you'll both be unhappy. So if your child gets upset or just isn't in the right frame of mind, then leave it until another day when they're less tired and you're less stressed.