Help them to learn to READ.Whether they are the oldest, only, middle, youngest of 8 kids...take the time. There is absolutely NOTHING more important than this skill to serve them throughout their entire lives.
It will affect them in all subjects, even math. Math is important as well, of course, but the kid who struggles in math, only may struggle in math. The kid who struggles in reading struggles in every.single.subject.period. By the 3rd, and especially the 4th grade, if they are not reading on level, DO SOMETHING. They will continue to struggle until you do.
Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. No one said kids were easy. Look at it this way, if your precious child were playing in a basketball game or dancing in a dance competition, would you dedicate the 2 hours per week plus the hours of practice to attend the event? This is their event now...where they need you. The quality time spent while reading together is also a great bonding time. Schedule it, dedicate the time, and attend. If it is within your budget, find a tutor who knows what they're doing. Schedule a couple of sessions per week. If you can only afford once per week, you'll have to step up to the plate to fill in for the extra time required.
If you are paying $60/hr for sports lessons per week, ditch it. Focus on what's more important.
Sports vs. Academics. You can help your child do both responsibly and teach loads of responsibility and confidence. If your child cannot do both responsibly, choose academics. Make all decisions based on what kind of 30-year-old you want your child to be. Sports will leave your child with memories, academics will leave your child with a college degree and a future. Sounds simple? You'd think.
How to succeed: A good starting place is to meet with your child's teacher. Really get to know exactly what skills are troubling for him/her. Commit yourself to the time needed to build your child's reading skills either yourself or with a tutor. Research. Research. Research.
If I didn't convince you, consider your child. They spend many hours of their day hoping that no one will notice how much they struggle. They have less confidence in the classroom, and at times they feel stupid. They won't tell you this. This is the side of your kid that their teacher knows. This is the side that your teacher tries to protect throughout their day by telling them ahead of time what they may have to read, inconspicuously pointing to the right answer in the chapter when a question is asked, so no one will notice that they couldn't find it in the book by themselves. This is the kid that spends a few extra minutes after school, when no one is around, for help. This is the kid that gets crabby for different reasons when they are doing homework. They are not mad at anyone. They are trying to distract from the fact that they don't really know how to get the work done alone. In class, they have partners, a trusted friend, clues and cues. At home they don't have this. It's just them and a book. LOST!
Wake up. Pay attention. There is nothing more important than what your child will be at 30-years-old. Plan for their future. You won't get a do over.