If you have a struggling reader and want to improve their reading, this article contains excellent tips for teaching struggling readers. But before trying to implement the solutions, first understand what the struggle looks like when the reader reads or attempts to read.

As a parent, you know that learning and reading are not easy and exciting tasks for every child. Parents and teachers usually search for particular tools, strategies, and resources to help struggling kids read and learn. It can be scary when you notice that your child is a struggling reader.

I’ve taught children who struggled a lot with spelling and reading, so I know the grind.

young child reader

What is a struggling reader?

A struggling reader works harder to read and understand text than children at the same level. The reasons can be different. They might have a diagnosed problem like dysgraphia, dyslexia, or auditory processing disorder or have physical disabilities that affect hearing, sight, or coordination.

The most common reason for a child struggling with reading is that they have not yet been taught in the most understandable way that works for them. For instance, they might need more instruction and practice with the logic and structure of a phonetic approach to read letters, words, phonics, and phrases, but he is being taught with an overall language approach.

What can I do to help my struggling reader?

If your child is struggling to read or you want to get ahead of a potential problem of having a struggling reader, here are the top 15 tips that can help them improve their reading skills. These cover young readers’ ability to decode letter sounds after identifying them, blend sounds in words, build a strong memory of spelling, and build an extensive bank of sight words.

15 Ways to Help Your Young Reader

Reading With Them

1. Watch a movie that is based on a story. Then, read the book with your child. You can also read the book first and watch the movie later. After this, discuss the similarities and differences between the movie and the book.

struggling reader can read a recipe book
Reading recipes helps stuggling readers by giving real life application.

2. Cook with your child and have him read the recipe. It can be their favorite dish or something for a family dinner.

3. Read stories/books aloud, with your kid or to your kid.

4. Make pairs and have the elder child read out aloud to their younger siblings

5. Set a routine with your child and read together for 20 minutes daily.

6. Provide your kid with reading-focused programs.

Helping Your Struggling Reader Choose Books

7. Motivate your child to read for fun by choosing entertaining stories, newspapers, books, and kids’ magazines.

8. Improve your kid’s strong decoding skills by staying involved with his reading routine and helping them to find books of his interest

9. Encourage them to choose the stories/ books they want to read with you. You can check-out books from the library or find books as neighborhood book swaps.

10. Motivate your kid by engaging all their senses in the reading process.  

11. Use the five-finger rule while choosing a book. Read books with your child, and if they can’t read five words on 1 page, that’s the challenge book to start reading together.

Play Games

bag of scrabble tiles

12. Play games like scribble that involve reading and making words.

13. Ask your child’s teacher/tutor for activity printouts or use a resource like Teachers Pay Teachers to print them at home so that your child has more context for understand as well as practice that goes beyond only the book reading in the classroom.

read together to help a struggling reader

14. Talk to your child about the whole day’s activities. Read with your child and make mistakes and let them correct you.

15. Charades is a fun game to play with the entire family. Enjoy quality time that also helps children develop use their reading skills as family members describe  characters from their favorite books or shows.

Remeber This With Your Struggling Reader

Lastly, for teaching struggling readers, have an established routine and allow time to wind down. Also, remember that they are new to reading, so take it easy and reserve criticism. Eventually, your little flower will bloom and will make you proud. Stay supportive and consistent with them.

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