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How to keep momentum going if your child’s confidence flags

If your child’s confidence takes a dip, don’t panic. This is perfectly normal. Think back to when you were trying to master a skill, like learning a musical instrument, learning to drive, or even learning a new dance routine.

Just when you think you have cracked it, you make a silly mistake, or suddenly forget what you thought you’d already learned, and you immediately seem to go back to square one.

The frustration you feel makes you want to avoid the new skill altogether and you feel like a fool.

Sooner or later in the reading journey, your child will ‘hit the dip’ as we call it and all her hard work will seem lost as she struggles with even the simplest words. So put yourself in your child’s shoes – what made you feel like you could persevere?

  • Reassure her. Tell her she has been doing brilliantly, and that it’s because she has been trying too hard. We learn much more easily when we are relaxed so calm her down, tell her it is a completely expected part of the reading process, and tell her how pleased you are with her.
  • Take a break. She won’t put her all into it while she is cross and fed up. Leave it a day or two and when you return to it, just do 5 minutes. At school she has two days off so why not take a short time away to return more refreshed?
  • Write the words that your child is having trouble remembering on sticky notes and paste them round the house. Just point to them at different times in the day, ask her to say them, remind her if she forgets and she’ll soon get to grips with them again.
  • Set short reading limits. Many children will become demoralised if they think they should have learned to read and know that they can’t. Although they will appreciate the new approach with Reading Revivial and be encouraged that they have, actually begun to read, they may be trying too hard and want to read faster than they can manage. So set limits for each day. If the child is put off by so many words on one page, ask him to read just one or two sentences only.  Most children will accept this until they have got past the problem stage.
  • Praise your child when she remembers words. Give hugs and encouragement when you see small steps of progress. Every child likes to think that their parent is proud of them and they will respond well if they think they are meeting or even exceeding expectations.

Momentum will return soon enough and you will be surprised when forgotten words are suddenly remembered again. Soon your child will be out of the dip, and will take reading in her stride. Relax and enjoy it.
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