Reading is an essential skill for success in school and life. Unfortunately, many children struggle with reading, and some even develop reading anxiety. Reading anxiety is an excessive fear of reading that interferes with everyday life. Children with reading anxiety may refuse to go to school, avoid reading aloud, or have difficulty concentrating in reading class.

There is growing evidence that reading anxiety and reading difficulties are related. In fact, one recent study found that up to 50% of children with reading difficulties also have reading anxiety.

There are several reasons why a child may develop reading anxiety. One possibility is that the child has experienced negative feedback about their reading from others, such as their teachers, parents, or classmates. This can lead the child to develop a weak self-concept about their reading ability.

Another possibility is that the child simply had difficulty learning to read. This can lead to feelings of frustration and anxiety. Over time, these feelings can become so intense that the child develops a full-blown phobia of reading.

Whatever the cause, reading anxiety can have a significant impact on a child's life. It can make it difficult for them to succeed in school, and it can also lead to social isolation and other mental health problems.

The good news is that there are effective treatments for reading anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a type of therapy that can help children identify and challenge the negative thoughts and beliefs that contribute to their stress. CBT can also teach children coping skills to manage their anxiety and improve their reading performance.

If you suspect your child has reading anxiety, here are some tips that may help:

  • Talk to your child's teacher. Your child's teacher can help you identify if your child struggles with reading and has reading anxiety. They can also provide you with support and resources.
  • Seek professional help. A therapist can assess your child's anxiety and develop the right treatment plan for them.
  • Create a positive reading environment at home. Make sure your child has access to books they are interested in. Also, read to your child regularly and let them see you enjoy reading.
  • Be patient and supportive. It takes time and effort to overcome reading anxiety. Encourage your child to keep trying and celebrate their successes. With the right support, your child can overcome reading anxiety and achieve their full potential.

Picture: Children reading, by Pekka Halonen (Google Art Project - Wikimedia Commons)