Lots of parents worry about their child’s reading - some more than others! When you hear the playground chat about how well another child is doing with their reading, it’s easy to feel that your child might be getting left behind. However, it’s important to remember that reading isn’t a race. Being a good reader might be the finishing line, but children get there in many different ways and at different speeds.

Children learn to read in different ways and at different speeds. Many very clever children come late to reading or may struggle with it for a long time.

It is not cause for concern if your four- or five-year-old is not yet reading, but you can give them a boost at home where necessary, through activities that focus on fun.

If your child is not reading by the time they are six, you might want to ask advice from their class teacher. But it is important to know that there is every chance your child will catch up soon!

There are two main types of worry that parents have about their child’s reading. You may have noticed that your child doesn’t seem interested in picking up a book. When they do try, they seem to be able to read the words quite well – it’s just that they don’t want to.

We call this group of children reluctant readers, and often they are boys (Not all the time - but sorry Boys!). The trick is to switch them on to reading by using their interests: magazines about computer games, books about dinosaurs, instructions on how to build a model, comics and adventure stories – whatever works.

The second type of worry parents have is when their child just can’t seem to remember the sounds of letters or remember common words – like the word ‘the’ or ‘come’ – from one day to the next. Reading is a slow and painful struggle, distressing for your child and distressing for you to watch. We can call these children struggling readers.

Children struggle with reading for all sorts of reasons. They may find it hard to sit still and concentrate; they may have got so anxious about reading that it stops them learning; they may have speech and language difficulties or a history of hearing loss. They may be in the early stages of learning English, because they speak a different language at home. There may be a history of reading or spelling difficulties in the family; research does show that literacy difficulties can be hereditary, when linked to dyslexia. If you are worried about dyslexia, do talk to your child’s teacher.