By Jan Harmsworth   June 2020




(If there were, every teacher would be all over them!)

A typical statement I hear from parents who email me about their child’s reading problems is – “I get bored with doing my son’s (or daughter’s) reading homework. It’s the same books over and over again!”

That statement was made to me in an email yet again recently, and it echoed what I’ve been told many times by parents who despair of their child ever making any progress in reading. The other regular one is – “I know he’s not reading these books he brings home; he’s seen them so many times now and he just knows them and says the words without even looking at the print.”


The problem actually isn’t about the parent’s boredom or frustration – they’re only feeling the same way their child does! The problem is – what is preventing their son or daughter making reading progress? Has this been discussed with the teacher? And why isn’t the child getting new reading books – repeating the same ones over and over has no value.


Your first step here is to request a parent/teacher interview/consult. Here you can ask lots of questions about your child’s reading –

– how far behind the average child is s/he?

– what remedial programs has the school tried?

– has there been any improvement in his reading ability since this

  remedial program?

– what else can the teacher suggest that might help?

– are there any other readers at his ability level that he could bring home

  to read as he knows these ones without looking?

– what else is the teacher going to do this year/term/semester/month to

  try and improve things?


Depending on the results of this appointment, you may decide to take control of the situation yourself. The reality is that teachers only have a limited time to give to one child who’s struggling, and unless your child’s teacher is able to do this then you’re on your own.

Be warned – the same old teaching methods may be tried unsuccessfully yet again, but the platitudes and re-assurances that you’ve received when your child was 6,7 and even 8 years old, that she or he’ll catch up sooner or later, simply haven’t worked, and won’t.


If s/he’s 7+ years old and has been in the school system for 2-3 years or more without ‘catching on’ to reading, then the methods used in school haven’t worked. A different method is needed and it’s time for you to get proactive. Don’t waste any more of your child’s optimum learning years by waiting and hoping. Do something today!


If the parent-teacher interview wasn’t much help, then run a few tests yourself to see if you can work out what the roadblocks are.

Use one of the Home readers s/he brings home, and point to the high-usage words in the story eg. said, the, can, I, to, look, at etc. (You’ll find lists of these ‘100 most used words in children’s reading’ on the internet.) See if s/he knows them, or has s/he learned the story by rote and isn’t reading it at all.

If you find that very few words are known, teach them one by one by writing simple sentences with them in, and asking your child to read them every day for a week. eg if you’re teaching ‘said’ then write sentences like – “Look at the car”, said (your child’s name).

Check if s/he knows how books work – front, back, left to right flow of words, top to bottom of print. If not, keep reminding him or her every time you read a story.

Check if s/he knows what punctuation marks are for. If these are a problem, ask your child what you need to do when you point to a full stop, and check that s/he actually does it when reading.

At the end of this check you’ll know more about what s/he does and doesn’t know. Sometimes these simple problems can be getting in the way of your child making progress. For many children however, there’s more to it than that.


If your child struggles with sounding out words and doesn’t recognise a reasonable number of Essential Sight Words, the problem will take longer to fix. These are the real basics of learning to read, and if your child doesn’t learn well with the current method of teaching reading, which is Phonics, then you need to take control. This is where I would recommend getting a reading program.

Research what’s available on the internet and check to see if the program is fully Phonics based (ie sounding out words), or is it balanced with other methods? 70% of children learn to read well using Phonics, the other 30% may struggle.

Bearing in mind that your child has been trying to learn to read using the Phonics-only method for several years now without success, then choosing yet another Phonics-only program probably won’t help. And the quick fixes offered online definitely won’t work!


If you don’t find anything suitable, have a look at my ‘Easy Reading Formula Program’. It’s fully comprehensive, uses FOUR different methods of reading teaching and covers everything you need to get your child reading successfully.

It shows you HOW to do it!

Part One of the Program has 17 videos that teach you HOW to teach your child to read a different way.

Part Two supplies 90 exclusive, graded readers to use with your child, plus a Teaching Activities page with each reader so you always know what to teach.

No worrying about if you’re doing it right, the Program makes sure you are! You don’t need any teaching experience and you won’t find any trendy buzz-words or ‘teacher speak’ in there. Simply down to earth, basic HOW to do each activity to get your child moving forward.

Have a good look through my website to see if it’s what you’re looking for. See you there!