For children still learning how to read, the task of focusing on what they are reading is a compounding challenge of understanding letters, words, sentences, paragraphs. Eventually they will be forming a whole story in their head. It's a daunting task, and one adults sometimes take for granted after years of literacy.
Why Children Struggle to Focus While Reading
Even as your child builds their reading skill, a new challenge may appear. For children, whose ability to focus for long periods of time has not been fully developed, reading can be an endurance race for which they have never practiced. Particularly if the subject is uninteresting to them, you may discover that your child just can't stay engaged for longer passages of text. As a parent, what can you do to help your child stay focused when they read?
Breaking Up Passages into Smaller Sections
For children, long paragraphs can be extremely difficult to read. Long blocks of text with no spacing give the eye nowhere to focus, and for an untrained reader like a child, it's easy to get lost on the page and suffer eye strain from the effort of maintaining focus. Help your child counteract this by breaking up the text they're meant to be reading. This can be accomplished in a number of ways:
- Cutting up text in printed handouts so it's spaced out into more manageable chunks.
- Using a word processor to add line breaks to digital text.
- Using a strip of paper to cover up the information your child isn't reading yet.
Additionally, when printing out text or letting your child read online, consider using dyslexia-friendly fonts, as well as browser extensions that add a color gradient between lines of text. This can keep your child from losing their place from line to line while reading.
Selecting Topics That Interest Your Child
Not all children enjoy reading, especially if it doesn't come naturally to them. You can help foster your child's reading ability by playing to what interests them—a child who struggles to read for long periods of time may still be willing to practice if it means reading a story they like. Let your child build up their reading skill with books they love, so they feel more confident and focused when it's time to read anything they don't care about.
Learning to read can be a challenging process for children, but it is a foundational skill that enables them to access a world of information they would never get to explore otherwise. You can always find help at your local Math Genie. Our Reading Genie program has been instilling a love of reading in children as young as 3 years old for years. In our program you child will not only be able to read on concentrate on longer text but their reading comprehension skills will sky rocket. We have centers in East Brunswick, Plainsboro, North Brunswick, Marlboro and South Plainfield, New Jersey. Help your child build up their ability to focus for long periods of time while fostering in them a love of reading that will serve them for years to come. Ask about a free class today