Reading is a language skill that helps improve other language skills: writing, speaking, and listening. However, learning to read might not be very easy for everyone. New readers might find learning this skill to be difficult and struggle with their progress. Parents and educators concerned with a struggling reader might be concerned about helping. Thankfully, there are many ways to get a struggling reader to improve their reading skills and actually enjoy reading.
How can I help my struggling reader?
Parents concerned that their child might be falling behind with their reading skills often wonder the best ways to help them. The best way to help when a child is struggling with reading is to give them many opportunities for practice such as:
- Reading with them because this can encourage them to build good habits on their own and helps them see a good model of a good reader (you!).
- Discussing readings helps you check their reading comprehension skills and also builds your relationship with your child. Talking about what they have read also helps them to become more engaged and excited with reading.
- Letting them choose what they read gets them invested in their reading. Children learn best when they are having fun and when learning does not feel like a chore.
- Encouraging them to read a higher level can help them progress slowly without them being discouraged. In your home library include books that are at their reading level but also throw in a few that are just above their level. This can help build self-esteem to progress to more complex books.
- Utilizing online reading programs that make reading fun and engaging can help them become avid readers. There are now many reading apps and websites that are designed to turn reading into a more game-like experience. They help to scaffold reading through exercises within the texts and also measure reading comprehension with post-reading games.
What are some reading intervention strategies?
Incorporating reading practice into your home is a great way to get your child to become more confident in their reading skills at school. You can also incorporate reading strategies that educators often use in their classroom for struggling readers, including:
- Scaffolding exercises help to build confidence in reading as they move on to higher reading levels. Before reading with your child, take some time to do pre-reading exercises such as vocabulary review.
- Practicing oral reading can be scary for struggling readers, but encouraging them to read out loud will help them get better and be more confident.
- Using cloze activities helps struggling readers move from just identifying words to putting meaning into what they are reading. Remove or blank out one or two vocabulary words so that the reader has to think about the meaning of the whole sentence rather than just individual words.
- Encouraging environmental reading is a great way to get your child into the habit of reading anything and everything they come across. Encourage them to read billboards, menus, and even shampoo bottles in the shower!
- Practicing extensive reading rather than intensive reading can help them learn to actually enjoy and be enthusiastic about reading. Extensive reading is reading a lot of books simply for pleasure while intensive reading is reading for a specific purpose such as identifying parts of speech in a sentence.
How do you make reading fun for struggling readers?
Using the strategies above can help get some practice for your child at home, but the most important thing that can help them improve in reading is to make reading fun. You can encourage a struggling reader to actually enjoy reading by:
- Creating a reading space and home library to help them feel ownership in their reading process and have a comfortable space for them to read for enjoyment.
- Listening to audiobooks while driving to help them find different ways to enjoy reading if they are not feeling encouraged to read on their own.
- Using books at playtime by acting out books they have read. This gets them engaged with the reading and helps them remember what they read.
- Start reading a series to help them become invested in a story. Books series are great to get struggling readers engaged and having fun while reading.
- Visiting the Library gives them access to a large number of reading materials and other resources such as reading groups and activities.
- Downloading reading apps can help incorporate technology they are already using into their learning.
What is one of the best online reading programs to use at home?
The Readability app is a great way for struggling readers to learn to love reading and improve their skills. It uses AI technology and speech-recognition to help struggling readers make progress in learning to read. The app acts as a personal tutor for your child and reads stories with them so they have their own guide as they read. The app can identify errors as your child reads aloud and gives them feedback to help them with their learning. The app also can read the passages to your child as they follow along. It is a fun and interactive way to get your struggling reader to improve their skills and learn to have fun when reading.