Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Reading is akin to the mythological Hydra, which sprouted two new menacing heads for every one that was cut off. Only in this more benevolent take, books lead to more books, and knowledge and understanding beget more knowledge and understanding. Lifelong readers scarcely stop to question this, for they realize it intuitively and already seek out fresh words and ideas with a voraciousness that all parents should want for their children.

The problem comes when children, for one reason or another (poor teachers, failing school systems), are able to slip through the system and progress to its higher levels without rousing suspicions. When parents fail to take an active role in their children's education and teachers are swamped with 50 or 60 kids per class, it's perfectly feasible for a child to coast by until it's too late. Once a child reaches junior high and is fundamentally illiterate, it often takes a miracle (in addition to conscientious effort) to get him or her back on track.

Why Do So Many Children Have Trouble Reading?

Aside from the aforementioned culprits, there are several reasons why children fail when it comes to reading. In truth, it's not the child's fault that he or she has failed, but that of the parents who never acted on the earliest warning signs that something was wrong. A lot of parents are poor readers themselves, so it's not surprising that their children never develop an acceptable level of comprehension, which is the first step in cultivating a love for learning.

Children whose parents read to them from an early age have been shown time and again in clinical studies to demonstrate not only a better facility for reading, but, predictably, a greater love of literature. Parents who don't read to their kids from day one but do enroll them in home-based learning courses are often able to forestall learning difficulties. If a parent does neither of the two, the very least that he or she can do is get involved with the child's reading teachers and make an effort to understand any burgeoning problems.

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