Everyone agrees that people who can read and write have substantial advantages in school and society. Good readers and writers also have advantages where their self-esteem is concerned. It is easy for anyone who hasn’t mastered reading and writing to feel inadequate.

There are also many social situations where struggling to read and write will contribute to a feeling of being left out. In short, there are many weighty reasons why children should learn to read and write as soon as possible. Prevention of difficulties is therefore an important part of work on reading and writing.

Language stimulation
There are many factors which influence positive learning and development. Reading and writing are language skills, and children with language difficulties are particularly vulnerable to Reading and writing problems. Particular attention is paid to phonological difficulties as an obstacle to positive development. Recent research emphasises, however, that all linguistic competence affects the learning of a written language. In relation to linguistic factors, it is therefore important to not just focus on phonological stimulation and training to prevent difficulties.

Motivation and effort
We know that general factors such as concentration and attentiveness, motivation and putting in an effort are all important to learning. Children who, for whatever reason, have problems with concentration, motivation and own effort, may therefore also find that it is hard and time consuming to learn to read and write. If someone for any reason is upset and/or depressed, this too can have a negative impact on learning. At the same time, it is important to be aware that these factors can be a consequence of for varying reasons having problems reading and writing. A number of measures can remedy the situation in these areas. Otherwise, these factors will have a negative impact on learning and development, something which pupils, parents and teachers will have to consider where learning a written language is concerned.

Follow up
Generally speaking; an important preventative measure is to keep a close eye on each pupil’s learning and developmental process through observation and by mapping it systematically. Then, each pupil’s achievement and test results must be evaluated based on the individual’s qualifications and needs in many areas (adjusted assessment). Likewise, it should be considered whether the pupil needs special education to further his or her development.

Some find that reading and writing is particularly difficult in comparison to other learning, so that in learning the written language, the ability and effort becomes disproportionate to the learning. This could indicate specific difficulties (for instance, lasting and severe phonological difficulties). In addition, these difficulties run in families, it’s important to be aware that it could be dyslexia. In such cases, it may be extra important to start suitable preventative measures before and during teaching of reading and writing. This could prevent difficulties from getting worse and/or development from stagnating.

Early help is usually beneficial if anything suggests that difficulties may arise or are arising. In this connection, we would like to emphasise that to”wait and see” has no effect. We can also say that intensive stimulation and training with a content which is adapted to the need of the individual pupil, and which gives the child / pupil a feeling of mastering, is the measure which appears to have the quickest and most reliable effect. This applies whether we’re talking of preventing, addressing or compensating for any difficulties.

In some cases, a more thorough evaluation of the pupil’s strengths, difficulties and situation is required, before an adapted teaching scheme can be worked out. In some schools, there is a special educator with the required competence to carry out such an evaluation or assessment. Both school (with permission from parents) and parents can also seek help with the council’s Educational Psychological service (pedagogisk-psykologisk tjeneste, PPT). Seeking help and working together where required, for a thorough and overall evaluation, is also considered a preventative measure, with regards to further development.

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