How To Help a Child Struggling with Reading

How To Help a Child Struggling  with Reading

Reading opens doors to a world of knowledge, imagination, and adventure. But for some children, this journey can be filled with frustration. If you suspect your child might be struggling with reading, you're not alone. Here, we'll explore the signs of reading difficulties, effective strategies to support your child, and valuable resources to guide you on this important path. 

Why Do Some Kids Find Reading Tough? 

Kids can have trouble with reading for many reasons. It could be because of the way their brains work, how they feel about reading, or even because they haven't found the right strategies to learn.  

In this article, we'll focus on kids who have a really hard time learning to read, even with good teaching. Maybe they have trouble sounding out words, understanding what they read, or both. No matter the reason, it's important to help these kids early on. 

Signs Your Child Might Need Help 

Early identification is the key! Here are some common signs to watch out for: 

  • Difficulty Decoding Words: Your child may stumble over simple words, have trouble blending sounds, or guess words based on pictures rather than sounding them out. 
  • Slow Reading Pace: Reading may be painfully slow, with frequent pauses and hesitations. 
  • Poor Comprehension: After reading, your child may struggle to answer questions about the text or retell the story in their own words. 
  • Avoidance of Reading Activities: Your child may show a dislike for reading, resist reading aloud, or become easily discouraged. 
Reading Intervention

Strategies to Help Struggling Readers 

The good news for children who face challenges with reading is that there are more resources available now than ever before! Many regions worldwide offer Reading interventions (special programs designed to target specific reading difficulties) and classroom accommodations that adjust the learning environment to better suit each child's needs. 

These combined approaches are key to unlocking success in school for struggling readers. The most effective strategies are grounded in the science of reading. This means they're based on research about how our brains learn to read. These evidence-based practices typically involve explicit and systematic instruction that builds a strong foundation of reading skills, step by step.  

1)Reading Interventions 

For students who face challenges with reading, a targeted approach can make a big difference. Reading interventions are specialized instruction programs, delivered one-on-one or in small groups, by a teacher or a reading specialist. Tailored to each student's needs, interventions utilize a variety of methods to build strong reading skills. The following table summarizes the four broad categories of readers: 


Reading Type 

Language Comprehension 

Decoding Skills 










Mixed Type 




Not every child needs the same approach to reading success. To best support their literacy development, we can choose from a variety of interventions that target their specific strengths and areas for improvement. Many students struggle with reading comprehension because they haven't mastered the building blocks of language. Here's where a systematic approach to foundational literacy skills comes in. Imagine each skill as a brick, carefully laid one by one to create a strong foundation for reading fluency. 

Here are the key areas to focus on: 

  • Phonemic Awareness: This is the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds within words. Before diving into reading written words, students practice activities like breaking down words into individual sounds (segmenting), blending sounds together (blending), and even playing with sounds (manipulating). 
  • Decoding: This is the process of sounding out words using letter-sound relationships (phonics) and common word patterns. Students learn the sounds associated with each letter and practice applying this knowledge to decode new words. 
  • High-Frequency Words: Some words, despite not following regular phonics rules, appear frequently in reading. Students benefit from dedicated practice recognizing and memorizing these "sight words" to improve reading fluency. 
  • Syllabication: Breaking down larger words into manageable chunks is crucial for reading fluency. This involves teaching students the different syllable types and how to identify them in words. 
  • Spelling: Explicit instruction in spelling patterns helps solidify the connection between sounds and letters. Regularly incorporating spelling practice alongside reading activities reinforces these foundational skills. 

By systematically building these foundational skills, students develop a strong base for reading comprehension and overall reading success. Apart from focusing on these key areas other strategies include: 

  • Comprehension: Active strategies like vocabulary building, summarizing, and question-answering help them understand what they read. 
  • Multisensory Learning: Physical activities combined with sight and sound engage different senses, strengthening reading skills. 
  • Individualized Support: One-on-one instruction with a specialist tackles specific needs and empowers parents to help at home. 

2) Reading Accommodations for Learning Differences 

Learning disabilities (LD) can sometimes create hurdles when it comes to reading. Reading accommodations bridge that gap, ensuring students with LD have equal access to learning. Just like providing ramps for wheelchairs, accommodations "level the playing field" and allow students to showcase their abilities. 

Working Together for Success 

Parents and educators collaborate to identify appropriate accommodations for a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP). These accommodations fall into different categories: 

  • Presentation: Information is presented in a more accessible way, like audiobooks instead of written text. 
  • Response: Adjustments are made to how students show their understanding, such as allowing verbal answers instead of written ones. 
  • Time/Scheduling: Extra time or frequent breaks are provided to complete tasks. 
  • Setting: A less distracting environment is offered, like a separate room for tests. 
  • Additional Support: Help with managing tasks or extended test preparation may be provided. 

It's important to remember that accommodation is not about giving an unfair advantage. They empower students with LD to overcome obstacles and achieve academic success. 

Finding the Right Reading Support 

The Reading Game

The journey to becoming a strong reader starts with understanding your child's needs. A reliable reading assessment shines a light on their strengths and weaknesses, guiding you towards the most effective support. Consider consulting a psychologist or reading specialist if you suspect a learning disability. 

Whether your child is just starting out or needs a boost, offers a treasure trove of resources for families. Check out our reading game to help your child strengthen their reading abilities today! 

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