3 Things to Do When Your Homschooler Is Still Not Reading

"My daughter is 8 years old and is still not reading!" - a concerned parent. That can be a scary situation when you've tried everything and nothing works. Is there something wrong? Maybe, maybe not. Don't get discouraged!

Try these few extra steps to make sure you're doing everything you can for your child.

1. Get help from a diagnostician

If your child is a delayed reader a cause to consider is dyslexia. Find a professional to diagnose them to make sure you understand the situation. There are professionals online who can diagnose the child also. Like Brenda Baker on Outschool.

You can try to figure this out at home also. Ask if your kid sees letters "sparkling" or "wiggling". That's a common symptom.

Remember, a diagnosis isn't something to be afraid of. It doesn't change anything about the person and can in fact give you so many more tools to work with.

Once you have a diagnosis find a support group of parents who have gone through the same situation, they will help you navigate the situation.

2. Get them into stories

If your child just isn't into reading, then maybe they haven't quite found their passion for it. Try reading stories to them. Get them hooked on the content - not spelling, not reading.

Different kinds to see what genre they like. From fantasy to detective novels to sci-fi. Perhaps they're not into fiction at all and would rather learn about real-world stuff from non-fiction.

I thought I didn't like books at all until I was able to go and discover on my own and found my own corner that I absolutely loved! Let them loose in the library or bookstore and just buy whatever (one or two) books they want. And prepare for a few unread books in the corner, that's how discovery works.

3. Everyone has their own pace

There are many examples of homeschooling families where the teacher is the same, but kids start reading as early as 3 or as late as 10. Sometimes their interests and capabilities develop unevenly, unconventionally. It's nothing to put yourself down with. Just make sure you've tried the above steps and other than that don't be too hard on them or yourself. Just keep going, talk to people, follow your children's interests, and one day it'll work out. You are not a failure!

When is the last time someone asked you (or anyone) at what age you started reading?

If I can suggest just one thing to do, please see a diagnostician. It takes little effort but can change the course of your child's education.

There are other medical reasons for delayed reading. If it's not a medical thing, but more about interest, here are tips to get your child to love reading, and in case you're not into reading yourself (and thus can't set an example) there are ways to read together with your child anyway.

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Jamie Larson