Does anyone have any tips to help an anxious reader

(9 Posts)
lionsonplanes Fri 25-Oct-19 16:45:05

DS 2 is a summer born year 2. He is doing well with his reading, but recently he has started to get very upset if he ever needs to have another go with a word. He will scream, shout, throw the book and refuse to read if I ask him to try again.

I have tried pointing at the word he needs to re-do, asking him verbally, and saving the words up until he has finished reading, but his reaction is always the same. I think this is holding back his progress as I do not want to correct him because that will end the reading session. This means that he is not learning new words and he is continuing to get the same words wrong over and over.

I had thought that some reading is better than every bit of reading ending after the first couple of pages because I have asked him to try a word again.

Does anyone have any tips or strategies to try so that I can help him with his reading without him becoming too upset to continue?

Thank you

OP’s posts: |
thehorseandhisboy Fri 25-Oct-19 16:49:33

How did he do with the phonics screening in Y1? The reason I ask is because children can often learn to sight read a finite number of words without good phonics skills, although their memory runs out Y2/Y3 stage.

If it's not that, is this in keeping with his temperament usually if he can't do something immediately?

lionsonplanes Fri 25-Oct-19 17:33:13

Thank you very much for your reply.

He got full marks on the phonics screening. His school are ace and their phonics and reading teaching is especially good.

Strangely he is usually great at taking things in his stride and just trying until he can do it. However, my mum has always said that she is sure that he has been here before, because he quite often just gets things without much effort. I wonder if he is discovering that he will sometimes get things wrong and not everything comes easily.

OP’s posts: |
gran75 Fri 25-Oct-19 19:02:02

The words that children who are good at phonics stumble over tend to be ones that contain spellings which diverge from the main phonics patterns, like 'o' in 'once, woman, women'. It may help your son to bring this to his attention by saying something like, 'That's another word with a stupid spelling that you just have to learn'. Boys with very logical minds can get very cross with such spellings and it can help to blame their difficulties on the spellings when true.

twoyears Sat 26-Oct-19 11:08:41

How about finding some books that you think your son would be interested in reading, books that he would understand , and read relatively easily, though with the odd word that he might not know. Say you’re going to have some fun reading them together and let him choose which book to start with.

Your son starts reading and if he hesitates you immediately take over reading making no comment about what he doesn’t know. He then jumps in (without saying anything to you) when he thinks the text is easy again. You really are reading the books together – no stopping for discussion/asking questions.

The reading that you both do should be fluent and if you’ve got the right books your son might want to read them repeatedly: he’ll be teaching himself to read.

We’ve used this technique with pupils of all ages in school, including with one secondary pupil who couldn’t read, but who was desperate to read the ‘Day of the Triffids’. We used an abridged version and did some re-reading. At the end of the book he was well on the way to being an independent reader.

If you feel you need to use school books, then doing the above should still work.

Maybe you could do the reading at bedtime? That would put the reading into a very different context and should stop the difficulties you’ve been having.

UnaOfStormhold Sat 26-Oct-19 17:28:37

How does he react if you calmly sound out and say the word he got wrong without making him redo it? That way he at least hears the corrected version.

lionsonplanes Sat 26-Oct-19 18:00:49

Thank you very much for your replies. There are some very useful suggestions here.

I am not allowed to say the word for him at all. He gets very upset and shouts that he can do it if I read a word for him.

He can pretty much read now. He just needs help with a couple of words per chapter. I think the fact that he can read most things fluently means that coming across a word that he can't manage is quite difficult for him.

I will try some proper shared reading to see if he will allow that, then he can hear me reading trickier words.

Thank you so much for all of your help.

OP’s posts: |


MellyNotSmelly Sun 27-Oct-19 16:15:22

How would he react if you tried to engage him with the problem? There's a method in "How to Talk..." where you sit down with the child, state the problem and brainstorm a load of solutions, including really daft ones. You supply some but also encourage him to think them up. Then you go through the long list together, dismiss the ridiculous ones and find a way forward.

If he would be able to acknowledge the problem, he sounds like the sort of child who would do really well with implementing his own solution. Maybe something that would help him take the pressure off himself, Eg he has license to tap your left knee for any word he doesn't want to try and you'll just say it, or you engineer a way to deliberately get the pronunciation wrong. I know you said he won't let you help but he might be ok with it when he has complete control of it. I'm also a big believer in the child pointing at the text while the adult does the reading. The child feels in control and like they are getting away with doing very little work, but actually they have to process the reading a lot to keep the pace right. It's not that helpful for all children, but with my autistic son who was good at the "mechanics" of phonics but very anxious, it worked very well.

MrssusT Wed 13-Nov-19 09:13:59

Perhaps don't correct, or prompt corrections; but use shorter books and allow him to read all the way through, and then revisit the books periodically to check if there's improvement. This might also flag up specific words, patterns or spellings that he's struggling with.

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