Helping Struggling Readers: 7 Tips for Parents


Reading is an important skill, but it’s also one that can be difficult for many children to master. In fact, learning to read is one of the greatest challenges for approximately 40% of children. This is why it’s so important for parents to help their children as they learn to read. We play a vital role in supporting struggling readers to improve their skills to help them become fluent readers, expand their vocabulary, and enrich their overall knowledge. 

If you’ve noticed your little one experiencing difficulty when it comes to reading, now is the time to address it. Here are some tips so you can help your struggling reader. 

Have patience

Every child learns at a different pace. Don’t expect your child to be at the same reading level as other kids because each child follows a unique educational and developmental path. So be patient with your child and go slowly. 

If your child is struggling to read or has difficulty identifying letters, don’t rush the process. Avoid overwhelming children with too many concepts or skills at a time. Let children take their time practicing before proceeding to the next skill. It may take a while before you notice improvement, but the important thing to remember is that progress is being made. 

Find out what interests your child

When a child struggles with reading, it can be beneficial to choose a book or activity that they enjoy. Then you can slowly introduce your little one to the concept of reading as you demonstrate how it applies to their specific area of interest. If your child enjoys learning about planets, stars, and the universe, pick out some reading materials about space. If your little one likes fairytales, be sure to fill your home with these types of storybooks.

You may also consider using visual tools, like graphic organizers, word walls, and flashcards, for support. These are great ways to introduce new words and make connections between letters and sounds as you help your child learn to read more independently. 

Work on one skill at a time

If you teach your child the alphabet, don’t introduce new reading skills until this one has been mastered. Start building foundational skills. Focus on letter recognition, phonological awareness, print awareness, and motivation. But take it one step at a time. Wait until children are proficient in one area before working on the next. 

Keep practicing

Just like any other skill, reading must be practiced with frequent repetition. Children can’t master reading unless they keep practicing. 

Make time for reading practice each day. Read together as often as you can, and explore other materials besides books. Reading takes concentration, and a good deal of time and effort, so be sure not to rush it or expect too much in one sitting. 

Choose age-appropriate books at your child’s reading level.

This will ensure that your child isn’t overwhelmed by vocabulary words that are too difficult, which can make decoding extra challenging. For example, if your little one is learning how to sound out the letters of simple words like “cat,” then start with book titles such as “The Cat in The Hat.”

Look for books that hold your child’s interest but are not too challenging. An easy book will allow you to encourage reading without causing your child to struggle. Instead, it will provide opportunities to make progress.

Stay positive

It’s essential to keep things fun and upbeat when your child is learning how to read. Praise children when they do well and give encouragement if their confidence is waning. Celebrate little wins and consider using small rewards each time your child makes progress.

Letting children know that their effort is appreciated and that you are proud of them can go a long way. Recognizing how hard your child is working will increase their motivation and build confidence. 

Do not give up

Remember, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step! Try not to become frustrated or discouraged if your child has difficulty with reading. Keep going and be persistent because, with time and practice, your child can make significant progress.

Not all kids master reading right away, and that’s okay. The most important thing is that your child enjoys reading and has success with your help! 


For more tips and resources on parenting, feel free to visit Imagine Nation Learning Center.


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