How You Can Help A Struggling Reader?

You can help a struggling reader to explore new opportunities to become a better human being! Reading skills empowers people to move to the next level.

If you are a parent, you are familiar with the different emotions that come from your children reaching a milestone, such as learning to read or mastering a new skill. You feel proud of your child's accomplishments and excited for the new opportunities that come with reaching each milestone.

But what if you have a struggling reader? Some children may struggle with reading, and this could lead to frustrations and difficulties at school. As a parent, there are several things you can do to help your child improve their reading skills and develop a love for reading. But first, why do some children struggle to read.

Why Do Some Children Struggle With Reading?

There are many reasons a child may struggle with reading. And if we identify the root cause of the problem it will help us deal with it. Here are six reasons a child may struggle with reading:

  1. Learning disabilities: Learning disabilities such as dyslexia can affect a child's ability to process written language, recognize letters and sounds, and decode words. 
  2. Lack of exposure to language and literacy: Children who grow up in homes with limited exposure to language and literacy may struggle with reading. They may not have access to books, limited opportunities for conversations at home, or a lack of emphasis on reading in the home environment.
  3. Victim of Poor Instruction: Children who receive poor reading instruction may struggle to develop strong reading skills. This can be due to ineffective teaching methods, a lack of individualized attention, or a curriculum that does not cater for the needs of the child. Many times one size does not fit everyone, and many school curriculum are one-size fits all systems. 
  4. Vision problems: Poor eyesight can affect reading. Vision problems, such as nearsightedness or astigmatism, can make reading difficult. If a child is struggling with reading, please have their eyes checked.
  5. Lack of motivation: Some children may struggle with reading because they cannot see any benefit. They may find it boring or uninteresting. So, parents will need to find creative ways of helping them love and enjoy reading.
  6. Attention and behavior issues: Children with attention and behavior issues, such as ADHD, may struggle to focus on reading and may have difficulty interacting with the material.

At this point, please note that this is not a health article. Some problems may involve working with a reading specialist. Others may require addressing underlying medical or behavioral issues. With support, children can develop strong reading skills and unlock the many benefits that come with being able to read.

10 Ways To Help A Struggling Reader

  1. Identify the problem: The first step in helping a struggling reader is to identify the problem. In the words of Gerhard Gschwandtner, "Problems are nothing but wake-up calls for creativity." When you know a problem exists, you can explore various options for solving it. Talk to your child's teacher or school counsellor to understand what areas your child is struggling with. You can also review your child's reading assignments and test results to identify consistent patterns or areas of weakness. It's essential to understand the root cause of the problem to develop an effective solution.
  2. Read Aloud Together: Reading aloud to your child is one of the most effective ways to help them develop reading skills. It exposes them to new vocabulary, improves their comprehension, and helps them develop a love for reading. Read aloud to your child regularly, and encourage them to read along with you. Ask questions about the story, and help your child make connections between the text and their own experiences. The paperback copy of my new book, Freddy's New Friend, comes with worksheets with a bunch of questions to help create such connections.
  3. Encourage Independent Reading: Please encourage your child(ren) to read on their own. You can schedule reading time in a distraction-free area. Help them with various books in line with their reading level and interests. Independent reading helps promote reading skills.
  4. Use Reading Apps and Games: We live in a world of technology. Children love technology. So, use what they enjoy doing to help them. Reading apps and games can be a fun and interactive option to help your child improve their reading skills. There are apps and games available that help children with phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension. Since most children already play games on their devices, using them for reading may not seem like a chore. Look for age-appropriate apps and games. Especially anyone that matches your child's reading level. Play these games with your child and offer praise and encouragement as they do.
  5. Make Reading a Habit: Making reading a habit can help your child develop a love of reading and improve their reading skills. Set aside time each day for reading, and make it a part of your daily routine. Fifteen minutes of reading will go a long way in making reading a habit for life.
    Make it pleasurable, and provide them a variety of reading materials, such as books, magazines, and comics. You could set reading goals and offer praise and rewards for each achievement.
  6. Provide Support: As a parent, you are the main source of emotional support for your child. Provide the help they need to overcome their reading struggles. Reassure your child that you are a team. Help them identify the challenging part by ecouraging them to tell you what it is. If they feel understood that might be the key to their sucessfully overcoming this problem.
  7. Be Patient: We all learn at different rates. Improving reading skills takes time and patience. As a parent, be patient with your child and avoid putting too much pressure on them.
    Allow your child to read at their own pace and offer praise and encouragement for their progress. Avoid criticizing, unfair comparison with others or punishing your child for their reading struggles, as this can lead to feelings of discouragement and defeat.
  8. Seek Professional Help:  If your child's reading struggles are significant or persistent, it may be necessary to seek professional help. Talk to your child's teacher or school counsellor about potential resources or programs that may be available to help your child. You can also consider working with a reading specialist or tutor to provide your child with additional support. It's essential to prioritize your child's academic and emotional well-being and seek the help they need to succeed. My youngest daughter read slightly later than her older siblings. I panicked she had a problem because I was comparing her pace with the others. Please avoid doing this. Then, someone suggested we get a tutor. What a difference that made! She started reading within months. Always get professional help when needed.
  9. Use Picture Books: Picture books are essential for struggling readers. Picture books contain illustrations that help children understand the story and can also help develop their comprehension skills. Picture books help children to become engaged and interested in reading.
  10. Use Rhyming Books: Rhyming books are great for developing phonological awareness. My son enjoyed reading "We are going on a bear hunt" by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. He found the repetition interesting and mastered the wordings before he could read. Rhyming books help children recognize patterns in language and develop their phonics skills. Encouraging your child to read and recite rhyming books can help improve their phonological awareness and overall reading skills.

Reading is more than just a hobby, it's a superpower! It boosts vocabulary, sparks imagination, and opens up new worlds. Encourage your child to read and watch as their minds grow and their love for learning flourishes. Start today and give them the gift of reading. And if you found this helpful, please remember to share with a friend or family.

You will find the best stuff on the blog! Check out the following:

Like this post? Share it!

Fresh-squeezed how-to tips on book writing and busy mom life delivered to your inbox weekly.

My mama taught me never to brag. But permit me just this once to brag. Our emails kind of rock. This is where all the magic happens. Sign up for regular pep talks, inspiration, and all kinds of substance-packed goodness. Let's connect before you say goodbye.