Skip to Content

10 Tips for Helping Struggling Readers

Share with your friends!

Reading is vital to success. How can you help a reader who struggles with this skill? Try these ten ways to help struggling readers.

10 Tips for Helping Struggling Readers

How to Help Students Who Struggle to Read

Just because students struggle in reading does not mean they will never be proficient readers.

With specific help, a student can become a confident and able reader.

Early intervention is critical! Don’t wait to put these ten tips into action!

10 Tips for Helping Struggling Readers

This article contains affiliate links to things that you might like.

10 Tips to Help Struggling Readers

Check out these ten ways to help students who struggle with reading.

Individualized Assessment

If a student struggles in reading, there could be one or more causes. It is essential to identify the cause so you can provide an effective solution.

A student may have had insufficient reading instruction or preparation.

This could manifest in low phonemic awareness, limited vocabulary, and weak phonics skills.

The student may have little to no access to reading materials or an unsupportive environment at home.

English language learners face barriers to reading in English.

Students with learning disabilities (such as dyslexia), ADHD, and undiagnosed vision or hearing issues may also struggle with reading.

If you know the cause (or multiple causes), you can design a plan to help the student.

Begin with guided reading and follow up with formal assessment if needed.

10 Tips for Helping Struggling Readers

Teach Phonics

While many children can learn to read from various methods, struggling readers need explicit phonics instruction.

The Science of Reading is clear. Students who receive consistent instruction in phonics have a better chance of overcoming reading struggles.

If you are teaching reading through whole words or an abundance of sight words, switch to a pure phonics program.

Build Vocabulary

A student will struggle with reading comprehension if he has a limited vocabulary.

Increase vocabulary by teaching new words with weekly word lists.

Have him apply his knowledge by incorporating his newfound vocabulary words in sentences.

If a student encounters an unfamiliar word in a reading passage, train him to use context clues to determine the meaning.

Move at the Student’s Pace

Reading is a skill, so differentiated instruction is essential.

You need to meet the student where she is. What is her reading ability? Start there.

What pace works for her? Set realistic goals that align with that pace.

While individualized instruction is best, it is not always possible.

If you have a class of students, break students into small groups to address specific reading challenges and offer targeted support.

10 Tips for Helping Struggling Readers

Read Aloud to the Student

Reading aloud builds vocabulary, encourages comprehension, and teaches proper expression and pacing.

A struggling reader may find reading a chore, but if you read aloud to a student, you can maintain or encourage a positive relationship with books.

Encourage Ear Reading

Ear reading is a form of reading where the student listens to the text while following along in the book.

It increases fluency, improves comprehension, and saves time for struggling readers.

It is a game changer for students with dyslexia.

Have the Student Read Aloud

When a student reads a text aloud to you, you can spot issues and provide immediate feedback.

This helps students on the road to accurate decoding, increased comprehension, and fluency.

Make sure your feedback is constructive and positive. Gently correct errors and praise effort.

10 Tips for Helping Struggling Readers

Practice Reading Consistently

Reading is a skill. If you don’t practice it regularly, you will not progress steadily.

For that reason, schedule reading practice every day.

Encourage a struggling reader to read aloud daily (even quietly to himself or a stuffed animal).

If a student is ear reading, see if he can read aloud along with the audio.

Start with twenty minutes of reading time per day.

Use Multisensory Supports

Incorporate multisensory, hands-on materials when learning to read.

Use foam or sandpaper letters, word or letter magnets, and other visual aids that snag a student’s attention.

Use hands-on activities like flashcards, finger tapping, and air, sand, or foam writing.

Play reading games.

You can also take advantage of technology. Try reading apps or interactive e-books (these are often apps of books; check out Oceanhouse Media).

10 Tips for Helping Struggling Readers

Teach Reading Strategies

If reading comprehension is a significant barrier, explicitly teach reading strategies like inferencing, summarizing, and making connections.

You can do this through post-reading activities.

Ways to Help Struggling Readers

Don’t leave struggling readers out in the cold! Give them the support and tools they need to thrive as readers.

When you teach students the skills they need to reach fluency, you open the gateway to encourage a love of reading.

You May Also Like:

Share with your friends!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.