The Help-Your-Child Quiz

by Dee Falk
K-12 Resource Teacher
Stromsburg Public Schools, Stromsburg, Nebraska

If you are the parent of a 6- to 9-year-old (first to second grade) child who is struggling to “crack the code” of reading, you are not alone. Don’t panic! Do some observing. What skills does your child have? What does he or she need more help with? Answering the questions below will give you a better idea of what to do next.
Does your child:
1. Have an understanding of rhyming words?
Yes No
2. Recognize different words that begin with the same sound?
Yes No
3. Easily clap hands to the rhythm of a song, poem, or nursery rhyme?
Yes No
4. Name the beginning letter(s) of different words?
Yes No
5. Name the beginning sound(s) of different words?
Yes No
6. Have an interest in books and/or stories?
Yes No
7. Use specific words to name objects instead of “stuff” and “that thing”?
Yes No
8. Easily remember sequences (counting to 20, days of the week, the alphabet)?
Yes No
9. Easily remember spoken directions?
Yes No
10. Easily remember words to songs or poems?
Yes No
11. Easily remember names of places and people?
Yes No
12. Easily understand questions?
Yes No
13. Speak with a lot of detail?
Yes No
14. Show understanding of right-left, up-down, front-back?
Yes No

To score, count the number of “No” answers. If you have 7 No’s or more, you may want to seek a professional evaluation through your local school district. You should also consider scheduling a hearing screening for your child. It’s always wise to rule out a hearing loss. If you have less than 7 No’s, fill your “parenting toolbox” with appropriate tools to help your child. For example:

•Go to the library and check out colorful picture and story books. Spend 20 minutes every day reading to your child.
•Check out audio books, too. They are a valuable resource. Let professional actors do the reading!
•Find other parents whose children are going through the same struggle. It’s important to have support. Other parents are a rich source of information and ideas!
•Alphagram’s Is It a Word–Or Not? and Word Maker along with the Ready, Set, Read! teaching guide will provide you with a structured, creative way to help your child crack the code!
•In the natural setting of your home — while you’re cooking, setting the table, or riding in the car — play language-enriching and reading games with your child. Many of them are described in Ready, Set, Read! And, again, don’t panic. Remember that some children are ready to read a little later than others. Please see Edith Grotberg’s article on reading and brain development.