To get a better understanding of reading difficulties, I am a firm believer in cutting through the noise and getting to the root of the problem. To do that, I find it helpful to take away any unnecessary distractions that may divert my attention elsewhere.
For a moment, let’s just ‘unknow’ what we know about reading difficulties. Let’s strip away all the elements of instruction, close the lesson books, put away the learning screens and look beyond your child’s difficulties. Beyond what the eyes can see, and the ears can hear, lies a widely known but somewhat hidden element that is critical for learning and perhaps slightly overlooked when parents think about their child’s reading difficulties.
And no matter what else you think may be going on – common sense tells us if this one vital element is missing then reading difficulties are likely to ensue.
When we take away the surface noise, the one thing that effective learning hinges on comes down to how effectively the information that’s been taught can be processed and transferred to the long-term memory.
When you question why reading is hard for your child and consider the difficulties your child may be having, it makes a lot of sense when you look at it through this lens.
Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg and there’s a lot more to it than just that.
What it does though, is provide a base from which to work back from and the question of ‘but why’ beckons for a closer look.
In a perfect world, where all brains are structured equally, this would not be a problem. However, the reality is that brains have structural differences and for some children this affects the way they learn and process information.
If the information learned cannot be held in mind long enough to be effectively processed and transferred to the long-term memory, a child may appear confused, or it may even seem as if they’ve never learned the information in the first place.
Interestingly this was something I noticed consistently with both of my children. It used to baffle me how they could be taught very simple words during the school day and then a few hours later come home with their sight words and have little to no recall of the words or how to sound them out.
This had everything to do with the way their minds processed information.
No matter whether your child is dealing with dyslexia, attention difficulties, or is simply a struggling reader, if the information cannot be held in mind long enough to be effectively processed to the long-term memory, they will likely have difficulty recalling that information accurately when needed.
In my next post, I will share my thoughts on working memory and the way I was able to overcome the gap in the learn to read process.