How to Help Struggling Readers

September 16, 2020

How to Help Struggling Readers

It’s estimated that approximately 40% of children struggle to learn how to read. Sadly, many parents who notice that their child is struggling to read wait a year or more to get them the help they need. The longer you wait to help your struggling reader, the harder it will be for them to catch up with their peers. For this reason, it’s important for parents to step in and ensure their child gets the extra reading help they need. Here’s how to help struggling readers outside of the classroom:

Identify the Gaps in Knowledge

You can’t help your child become a better reader if you aren’t sure which skills they need to improve upon. Before you go any further, it’s important to identify the gaps in your child’s reading knowledge.

Some children may struggle with decoding, which is a skill that involves sounding out unfamiliar words. But others may struggle with fluency, which is reading with speed, accuracy, and expression, or comprehension, which is extracting meaning from the text. Pinpoint your child’s gaps in knowledge so you know what you should focus on when teaching your child how to read.

Play Sight Word Games

Start by expanding your child’s sight word vocabulary by playing fun games together. For example, create a game where your child has to match a written word to a picture that depicts the word.

Another way to build their sight word vocabulary is to go on a sight word scavenger hunt. Prepare a list of sight words that you want your child to learn. Then, instruct your child to look for these words as you read a story together. This is a fun way for your child to commit the words on the list to their memory.

Pair Reading With Fun Activities

Parents can combine reading with other fun activities in order to keep their child motivated and engaged. For example, choose a book that has been adapted into a movie. After your child finishes reading the book, watch the movie together. Then, discuss the similarities and differences between the two versions.

Help your child gain a deeper understanding of the plot by encouraging them to act out the story. Putting on a play will help your child get into the minds of the characters, which will improve their reading comprehension skills.

These are two examples of fun activities you can use to supplement your reading instruction. Be creative and think of an activity that can tie your child’s interests into reading.

Take Turns Reading Aloud

Lead the way by reading a passage aloud to your child. Be sure to read at a normal pace and use appropriate expression. Then, ask your child to reread the same passage aloud to you.

This exercise is referred to as “modeling.” Reading aloud to your child shows them what a fluent reader sounds like. Asking them to reread the same passage aloud to you gives them the opportunity to try to match your speed, accuracy, and expression. With regular practice, this exercise can drastically improve your child’s fluency skills.

How to Help Struggling Readers

Attach Meaning to New Words

If your child comes across a new word, it’s important to take the time to help them attach meaning to it. Don’t simply tell them how to pronounce the word and what it means. Instead, help your child break down the word into smaller parts and sound it out. Then, grab a dictionary and look up the word together.

Now that your child knows what the word means, ask them to use it in a sentence. See if they can remember how to spell it. This may seem excessive, but taking these steps will ensure that your child actually remembers this word the next time they see it in the text.

Download the Readability App

Many parents don’t have a lot of time to devote to working one-on-one with their child to improve their reading skills. If your schedule is packed, make sure your child still gets the reading help they need by downloading the Readability app on your smartphone or tablet.

Readability is a smart learning app that helps kids improve their phonics, fluency, and comprehension skills. The app is designed with advanced speech recognition and artificial intelligence technologies, which allow your child to communicate with it just like they would with a reading tutor.

Let your child work independently on their reading skills using the Readability app. You can track their progress by visiting the app’s parent dashboard, which will track key metrics such as accuracy, speed, and comprehension. Download this reading app to start your free 7-day trial today!