Parent as Advocate

Rick Lavoie has worked with kids with reading problems for more than 30 years. His advice to parents is to toughen up and recognize that your child needs you.

"Parents sometimes worry that they're overreacting when their child isn't reading in first or second grade," says Lavoie. "It's really not possible to overreact to that. The reality is you need to stand up for your child. He's not old enough or capable at this point to advocate for himself. It's uncomfortable sometimes, but you've got a right to ask questions. You've got a right to receive answers."

If you have concerns about your child's progress or school experience, speak up! You know your child better than anyone else. Here are some simple things you can do to be involved.

Develop a close working relationship with your child's teachers and principal. Stay in touch between report card periods.

Save important test results. Keep class work samples, homework examples, and other school communications that show how your child usually performs.

Ask for help! If you suspect a problem, talk with your child's teacher. If you still have concerns, talk with the principal, reading specialist, or special education teacher. You have the right to ask questions and to receive answers to the questions you ask. Also, do not hesitate to seek advice outside of the school system.

Screening. Many schools provide early screening for all children, to help identify kids at risk for reading difficulties. Screening is a key part of a process used by many schools called Response to Intervention.

Evaluations and diagnostic assessments. After a child is identified as being at risk for reading difficulties, the next step is an in-depth evaluation to determine what the underlying issues are. Evaluations can be conducted at the school or by an outside professional. Learn more in this article: Preparing for an Evaluation.

Questions to ask your child's school

  • What literacy screening tools does the school use?
  • When is the screening given?
  • How are children with reading difficulties identified?
  • What information does the school collect on a child's literacy progress?
  • How is the information used to make decisions about each child's literacy needs?

I'm worried about my child's reading — what do I do?

This video is provided by Read Charlotte.

Featured Video: Parent as Advocate

Reading intervention specialist working one-on-one with an elementary student struggling readers

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"Wear the old coat and buy the new book." — Austin Phelps