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Every child needs to learn how to read well. When reading does not come easily, it affects every part of life. Thanks to research conducted by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), we know the best way to teach children to read! The NICHD and the National Reading Panel published an excellent summary of their research which included thousands of children.
Teaching reading is complex. Many teachers were trained before this research came out and they continue to use old methods that do not work for struggling readers. If your child needs extra help with reading, I recommend that you make sure they are participating in a program based on the research of the Panel. You should also read some of the parent and teacher resources available free online.
Find out whether the program your child is in is research-based and whether it is has been successfully tested. It should include instruction in the following key areas from Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks of Reading Instruction.
If you have concerns about the reading program at your child’s school, ask about each of the above components. Ask whether the program is supported by research. For a host of articles on reading and helping your child learn to read, check out this archive of articles.