Does your child struggle with reading comprehension?
As a parent, you want your child to thrive. Their education is important, and you’ll do anything that it takes to help make them successful. But what happens when your child is struggling to read at an appropriate grade level?
There are several things that you can do to help your child develop better reading skills. If you’re not sure how to get started, we’re here to help.
Keep reading for a few of the most effective reading strategies for struggling readers.
1. Focus On Vocabulary
When your child is struggling to read, you may need to take a step back and look at their vocabulary comprehension. While you may have spent a lot of time teaching them words before they started reading, some children need a refresher course.
Part of reading is comprehension. Comprehension starts from the ground up. Your child will have a more difficult time understanding a whole sentence if they can’t understand a word within it.
Focusing on vocabulary also helps your child break a sentence apart. When they’re confident in one word, teach the next one. When they understand the words that they’re reading, they learn to use context clues to fill in the gaps.
2. Let Your Child Choose Their Books
When you and your child are reading at home, consider allowing them to choose their own reading material.
Even if the book is at a higher level than they’re able to read at, as long as you’re reading with them, they’ll have more interest in reading and understanding it. Your child won’t be motivated to improve their reading skills if they aren’t interested in the content.
Many children will gravitate towards books that challenge them on some level. While you may want to make suggestions, the choice should be theirs in the end.
3. Sound It Out
One of the most popular ways to help your child develop better reading skills is by modelling and requesting “sounding it out.”
When your child is stuck on a difficult word, have them break the word down into letter sounds and syllables. They may even know part of the word already; they just don’t know how to put it together yet.
For example, if your child is struggling with the word “catching,” break it down into “cat-ch-ing” to make it simple. Most children are able to understand “cat” as a starting point. This helps them make connections and learn new sounds to apply to more words.
Once your child has a sentence, paragraph, or page down, encourage them to re-read it right after. You should also come back to this reading after some time has passed to make sure that it “sticks.”
Your child doesn’t have to memorize the page, but reading it over and over again will improve their fluency and overall understanding of what they’re reading. It will also boost their confidence as they get better at moving through the text quickly. This encourages them to read even more!
5. Have Them Follow Along
Whether you’re reading to your child or they’re reading on their own, following along is a great way to improve reading skills and comprehension.
Children can follow along with each word with their finger or a pointer of some sort. They’ll stop at words that they have trouble with, which will help them break it down and help you identify their problem areas.
If they do it while you read to them, they’ll have a better idea of how each word is supposed to sound.
6. Create a Relaxing Environment
Many children struggle more in school than at home due to the stressful environment. They don’t want other children to hear them struggle when they read out loud, and they may not be comfortable calling themselves out by asking a teacher for one-on-one assistance.
The environment that you make for them at home should be comfortable and relaxing so they don’t have any additional stressors holding them back.
Make sure that the area is quiet and don’t include any distracting
7. Try Online Typing and Reading Games
Games aren’t just for entertainment. There are plenty of reading and typing games for all age levels on computers and tablets. Make your child’s screentime worthwhile.
These games let your child have fun when they’re developing new skills. They often break down words for them and associate images with words so your child is better able to understand.
This isn’t a replacement for one-on-one teaching time with your child, but it’s a great supplement.
8. Set (and Reward) Small Goals
Reading is an overwhelming task for children who struggle with it. It can be hard for an adult to understand how much new information the child is taking in.
Because of this, it’s important to make smaller goals to help break down the process. When a child completes the goal, give them a small reward.
You can break it down into learning new words, reading entire pages or books without stopping, or even improving their grades in school. It all depends on the child and how they respond to rewards.
9. Consider Professional Help
Some children have trouble reading due to some form of learning disorder or disability. While these strategies are still helpful, you may benefit from a screening to see if they need extra help.
There are plenty of extra reading strategies that professionals can suggest depending on what limitations that your child is working with.
Try These Reading Strategies for Struggling Readers
Many children need help in developing their reading skills. These reading strategies for struggling readers can get them on track. Read with your child and walk through the process with them.
Does your child struggle with their reading ability? Consider getting a dyslexia screening to see if there may be an underlying cause. We have affordable virtual screenings so you can identify dyslexia easily. Visit us to get started.