MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Parents, if your child struggles with reading or learns better digitally, there's help. Tutors recommend strategies for families to begin early on to encourage reading and thousands of computer tablet and phone applications are available, for free.
When it comes to reading, every child learns differently, but many do suffer from reading disorders. WMBF News reporter Meredith Helline spoke with Tutor Doctor's Chuck Hawkins. He tutors in all subjects, with a focus on math and reading. He said the most important thing to do at home is when your child is doing their homework, especially if they have a learning difference, he said to keep stress levels down. Kids don't need stress on top of an already heavy school workload, he said.
Besides stress, Hawkins said parents shouldn't force or constantly correct their child on their reading. Keep it light and fun, find books in line with their interests, and read to your child at least 20 minutes a day.
If your child has learning differences, Hawkins said books on tape are good and easy to find. Once a learning difference is identified, parents need to educate themselves on what specifically they can do for that disability.
Hawkins said learning differences aren't curable, so you have to work around it to keep their interest and their reading confidence.
"The thing to avoid if at all possible, is the cycle of the student perceives that they don't read well, therefore they don't like it, therefore they don't do it, and if they don't do it, they don't practice," Hawkins said.
If your child does have learning disabilities or you think they might, you can get them tested. If they qualify, the school and family will come up with a 504 plan. The 504 plans are for kids with learning differences. In-school accommodations are made based on that individual child's needs.
Websites are helpful for kids of all ages and grades. Technology is changing the way the youngest generation learns and tech companies are capitalizing on it.
There are thousands of apps and websites to help your child get a little extra help outside of school, and tutors in Horry County say they're worth checking out. Tutors working with local kids recommend the website Kahn Academy for all ages and grades. It's free, and Hawkins said it uses effective teaching procedures, all at the child's pace.
"Every student learns differently. Students these days are obviously tuned in to technology. But, that doesn't mean it's going to be automatic. Some student still need to have that one on one human touch…the ability to ask a lot of questions and get answers," Hawkins said.
When it comes to using those phones and tablets, apps are more grade-level and age based, so there's too many to name. Hawkins suggested typing in what your child struggles with. You can even type in specifics like phonics or multiplication to find a specific app for your child's needs.