Dreading Back to School: Hi, I joined... - CHADD's ADHD Pare...

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Dreading Back to School

RockMama profile image

Hi, I joined the group because my 7 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with ADHD. After last year we all needed a break this summer. However, now I'm feeling crazy anxious about school starting next week.

My daughter's teacher gave her some books to read over the summer. We tried, but she was so resistant! I also noticed the books seem to be too hard for her. I found some other books for her to read, but didn't have a consistent schedule. I am worried she is going to be really behind, and not only that, I don't have a strategy to get her back on track/caught up.

It is really hard to motivate because she just doesn't want to do it, and I am always so tired (working 50+ hours/week). My husband tries to help, but is less patient than I am, gets too frustrated, and it frequently ends in tears.

I am looking for easy-to-integrate strategies to help her find things she actually wants to read and to help me stay on a consistent schedule with her reading. All ideas welcome!

8 Replies

I hear you. My child has add and he hates reading. Have you talked to your child's teacher about the appropriate reading level your daughter is on. Every child is different, even without diagnosis. Have you also talked to the counselor or teacher about an Individualizing Education Plan or 504 Plan? If not, ask about it? It will help your daughter and hopefully keep you posted. Ask questions and keep asking until you get the answers you need. My son said trying to read was just looking at stupid words on a page. I think the stimulation came from the audio he would hear and he would take it in more. Anyways, that is how my child learned. Have you considered having her read in brief spurts like when eating cereal. She could read the box. If she gets a new toy have her read the info on the package. Have her read what she is interested in. I got my son car magazines. I thought they would just lie around. He read them the best he could and then youtubed the topic to fill in what he didn't understand. Relax, it will be a new year. The teachers should create a specific plan to help your daughter and things will get better. God Bless.

Aloysia profile image
Aloysia in reply to HoldingonLou

Those are all good suggestions!

Another idea is to hire an older child for her to read out loud to. Or read to herself and then answer questions. Since she is 7, hiring someone who is age 10 or up would work. The reason this often works is because it's not a parent, so it takes away that whole dynamic. Kids like when an older kid show interest in them. The older kid could reward her reading with things like tag, board games, hide and go seek, etc.

Another idea is to have her read out loud to a pet. Unfortunately with covid, the libraries are no longer doing the Paws To Read program where the kid reads to a therapy dog and the handler gently prompts or helps with unknown words. But if you have a pet who will sit still for this or a neighbor does, that could work well.

A third idea is to have her read out loud to a stuffie.

With any if these, the key is to give her rewards. Negotiate with her to find out what she wants and what you think is fair. Think about whether you'd want to do an extra project on top of your existing workload if you weren't compensated for the extra hours - you'd resent it. This is difficult for her so she's naturally resistant. Make it worth her while. Ideas for rewards: alone time with you to do x, scoop of ice cream, handful of M&Ms, watch a movie/TV show; play a computer game for x time (if you read for 15 min then you get 15 min if computer time), etc. You need short term rewards for putting in the reading time each day and long term rewards for completing a book or reading every day for a week.

I'm good with coming up with books for that age. Let me know a few books you feel are at her level and then also what she's interested in and I'll send some suggestions.

Another idea is to alternate reading a page or chapter with you. You read the first page out loud, she reads the 2nd page out loud.

If by the end of the school year she continues to struggle more than you think she should, you may want to have the school test her for learning disabilities. Dyslexia is a common one (my daughter has it, plus other things).

Last idea is to hire a retired school teacher as a reading tutor. I found some via the NextDoor Neighborhood app, but there are other apps out there to post locally for something like this.

Best of luck!

HoldingonLou profile image
HoldingonLou in reply to Aloysia

Awesome ideas

Thank you so much. I needed to see the word 'relax' to actually do it. These are great suggestions. We were able to get the 504 plan in the works just before school ended last year. I guess I am a little anxious because we just haven't had a chance to see it in action. I also realized that trying to make her get all the way through a whole book was unrealistic, so now I just told her to reading for a certain amount of time. Thanks again.

RockMama profile image
RockMama in reply to RockMama

To Aloysia - Thank you. These are all great suggestions. I thought about hiring a tutor, but am concerned about the cost. My therapist suggested asking at the school to see if any of the teachers might be willing to spend a little extra time with her after school. I noticed a few times that she tends to guess at words and/or when she is sounding them out, sometimes she will start with a letter that is in the middle of the word. For example, on the word dark she started with an 'r' sound. I plan to discuss it with her Title I teacher, to see if it merits further testing.

Again, thank you both for your suggestions and support.

Sounds stressful! I find the most calming thing is to develop a plan and then carry it out. Take suggestions from this board that you think might work and write them down. Work through the list until you find the thing that works. Give each idea a few days to see if it takes root.


My two cents for reading fluency is the get the book series. “You Read to Me and I’ll Read to You.” They are simple stories and poems that have more difficult reading on the left side of the page and easy, less reading on the opposite page. My kids loved these books and were always eager to read them together. As time went by I started having them read the right side of the page too.

Also, get some rhyming books. My son in early elementary school was struggling with fluency so he worked with the school reading specialist. She went to a conference and came back with all these books. It was so helpful! I could see his reading flow improve and he seemed less frustrated!


Find an appropriate level book that caters to your child’s interest. Ask a librarian for help. Then, read a few pages of the book at night to her. As her interest grows, have her read a sentence here or there. Start with short paragraphs and increase to “hey want to read the last paragraph of the chapter tonight?” —- once she is interested in the content. If the book Isn’t working, drop it and move on to a new one. Give each one a trial chapter or two.

A plan of action will help you feel less overwhelmed and burdened. Remember that the goal is to get her interested in reading and beginning to read on her own. The teacher will be happier that you worked with her on reading than if she struggled with/ignored the required reading over the summer. You are the best person to help her because know her the best!

RockMama profile image
RockMama in reply to Redpanda5

This is so great! I've heard of the read to me, read to you books, but thought they were for younger children. I will definitely check those out. I also need to get to the library. We can ride our bikes there, it's that close, but I never think to go. I think I need to set a reminder, as with everything else in my life, haha.

Thanks so much!

Redpanda5 profile image
Redpanda5 in reply to RockMama

You’re welcome! And don’t always do what everyone else says. You know best where you should start with your child. 👍🏻

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