Why can’t my child read?

By January 20, 2020 May 14th, 2023 Literacy
My child can't read, literacy, reading, spelling, SOunds Write, speech pathology, mascot, bondi junction,

Children who do not learn to read in the first few years of schooling will often struggle at school. This is because reading underpins most academic learning. When children have trouble learning to read, parents often ask “why can’t my child read?”.

Reading involves a lot of different things. Students need a strong foundation to learn to read. There are 5 steps that are an important part of reading. When children develop their skills across all these areas, then reading success is more likely.

Phonemic Awareness

This is knowing that words are made up of sounds, that some words sound similar, that if you change a sound then it becomes a different word. You will often hear children making funny rhyming words about the time they start school. They may begin to notice that one word is similar to another word. This is all part of phonemic awareness. It is the foundation block to reading, the first step in leaning to read. We expect that most children will have developed some of these skills before they start school.


This is the understanding that letters make sounds. Each individual letter can make a sound (or a number of sounds in some cases). and 2 or more letters grouped together can also make a sound. When you see the letter ‘t’, you know what sound it makes. When you see the letters ‘ou’, you know that it can make a number of sounds.


This is the ability to read without having to stop and sound out words. For young children starting school, this means that they learn what we call ‘sight words’. Sight words are words that occur frequently in books, but they are words that young children can’t sound out. They can be words such as ‘you, like and said’. Young children aren’t expected to read these words because they haven’t learned the phonics for them yet. They are taught to ‘rote’ learn them and this helps them read more fluently in the beginning.


This is understanding the meaning of words, develops from a very young age. Children learn the meaning of words through their everyday exposure to language. As young children learn to read, working out what a word says and matching it to the meaning becomes another step in learning to read.


This is the ultimate goal in reading. This is what it is all about. When all the other skills come together in a cohesive manner, your child can understand words and the overall meaning of what they are reading.

What do I do if my child can’t read?

Sounds Write is a quality phonics approach that has a strong evidence base and is used widely around the world, especially in the United Kingdom and Western Australia. For more information on Sounds Write and the research behind the approach, go to http://www.sounds-write.co.uk.

If your child can’t read or starts to fall behind in their reading then they will probably require an assessment and intervention. OneOnOne Children’s Therapy offers the Sounds Write approach as our primary intervention for children who have trouble reading and/or spelling. We use the Sounds Write approach to get children back on track with reading and spelling.

OneOnOne Children’s Therapy is an early intervention clinic in Bondi Junction and  Mascot. Our Speech Pathologists work with young children in the early years of school. Our aim is to identify children who have trouble reading as early as possible. We work with children at risk of reading issues before they start school. We work with children as soon as they start school id reading or spelling could be an issue. If you have concerns about your child’s progress in reading and spelling then call us on (02) 8065 7837 or email us.