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Reading Tips for Your ADHD Child

The medical community often considers ADHD and learning disabilities as separate disorders, but it's very common for kids with ADHD to have difficulty reading. In some cases, treating the learning disorder is enough to get rid of the ADHD symptoms.  Regardless of whether or not your child has an undiagnosed learning disorder, it's often a challenge to get a child with ADHD to accomplish reading assignments.  Your child's distractible or hyperactive nature might make it nearly impossible to sit down long enough to go through a few pages.  Following a plot can also be difficult if his or her working memory (the ability to hold onto information in the short term) is faulty, as is the case of many children with the disorder.  The good news is that using a few offbeat ideas can help your child discover the joy of reading. Here are a couple of things you can do.

Choose books that match the reading level of your child.

It's not uncommon for eight-year-old children with ADHD to have the reading level of a six or seven year old.  Any books that are higher than this reading level may not interest your child.  Most children's books indicate what age group they're for, but another way to find out is to ask your child to read the first few pages of a book out loud. If your child makes too many mistakes, it might be too hard for him or her to read.

Try children's magazines

It might be too much to expect your child to read a whole book; all those pages might intimidate your child.  Children's magazines, on the other hand, might make a less daunting alternative.  There are many niche children's magazines that cater to various interests, such as science or story-telling. Find one what your child likes most; his or her attention span is less likely to wander off if the topic is relevant to your child's interest.

Read with your child

Keep your child's attention span in check by reading with him or her.  Take turns reading paragraphs or pages, depending on the length of the material or your child's attention span.  If your child's eyes keep wandering off, read using the help of a bookmark, or trace the words with a pointer to help your child focus. 

Read every day

Most parents save reading for bedtime, but your child might be too comfortable and sleepy to give reading her best effort at the end of the day.  Instead, save the reading for after dinner and read at the same time every day, especially if you're finishing a book.  Children with ADHD are forgetful and might have trouble remembering where you last left off.  To help your child retain information, have him or her explain what just happened, and write review notes together.

Use audio books

Your child might stay more focused if he or she hears the words while reading. Try finding an audio tape for the book you have, or record the reading material during your spare time so you can play it during the next reading session. You can also play the recording in the car on the way to school; this can help your child ace a test on the reading material in question.