Why Children Struggle With Reading and What to Do About It

Reading is more complicated than you think. 584 million children struggle with reading throughout the world. 

Many parents and educators provide resources to help children read. Yet some common reading challenges remain persistent. 

What are the skills that children need in order to read? What are some challenges that many children face? How can parents and educators work together to help overcome difficulties? 

Answer these questions and you can help your child get on the right path for reading. Here is your quick guide. 

Reading Skills 

A person uses many different skills while they are reading. A person performs decoding when they read words out loud. They understand what sound each letter makes, then they blend the sounds together to read the word. 

Fluency is the rate at which someone reads. A fluent reader moves through words quickly without making significant errors. When they encounter a word they don’t know, they pronounce it and move on without hesitation. 

A reader also breaks down the meaning of each word. When they encounter a new word, they incorporate it into their vocabulary. Through time, their vocabulary should become richer. 

Sentence comprehension is similar to word comprehension. A reader understands how the writer constructs the sentence they are reading. They infer off of punctuation and syntax what the most important details of the sentence are. 

Reasoning lets someone relate what they have read to their knowledge. They can use reasoning to understand why a character is acting in a certain manner. They can draw on their past knowledge of events to make inferences about the story. 

Reading Comprehension Problems 

A child who struggles with reading may struggle with any particular skill. A child may do very well with certain skills while performing poorly on others. There are several reasons why common reading challenges occur. 

Lack of Resources

All children need some sort of support in order to learn. Reading materials need to be available to them. Most materials should be at their reading level, but more challenging texts should be accessible. 

Teachers should offer one-on-one guidance. They should be able after school to talk with parents and students. 

Yet many students do not receive all of the support they need. The ones that need additional help fall behind while the curriculum moves forward. Their teachers may assume that they have skills they did not develop previously. 

Different Learning Styles 

Children learn new material in several different ways. There are children who like to learn best by reading and writing. These children tend to start learning how to read from an early age and develop fast abilities. 

But other children learn through visuals. This may help them recognize the meanings of certain words, yet they may struggle to pronounce them. 

Some children learn through listening or touching. These students may have significant difficulty with reading. They need special resources in order to develop skills. 

Learning Disabilities 

Many different learning disabilities can affect reading skills. Dyslexia impacts the ability to process letters and sounds. 

The signs of dyslexia vary significantly from person to person. Some people have difficulty breaking down words into individual sounds. Other people have difficulty spelling the words they hear. 

Autism spectrum disorder can also impact reading skills in several ways. A child may be able to pronounce a word fluently, but they don’t understand its meaning. They may understand what a character is doing, yet they may not understand why they are doing it. 

A child with ADHD may be able to understand and pronounce the text. But they may struggle to remember what they are reading or follow the progression of a story. They may skip over words as they read them aloud, affecting their sentence comprehension.

Helping Children Read

Anyone who wants to help a child read must understand what they need to work on. Improving reading skills should be individualized, helping a child overcome their particular problems. 

You can start by offering your child different kinds of texts. They may not like picture books, but they may like poetry. A change in the subject matter may be enough to capture your child’s attention. 

Read the work aloud to your child. You can point out difficult words as you pronounce them and ask your child to read them back to you. 

Motivate your child. Give them encouragement when they struggle with certain words and celebrate their successes. 

Follow some tips to enhance reading comprehension like asking questions about what they are reading. Questions that cover basic things like what is happening in the story can develop their skills with minimal exertion.

Talk to your teacher about what your child is going through. You can help develop an Individualized Education Plan, especially if they have a diagnosed learning disability. 

Continue to support your child as they get older. You can encourage your teenager to read by putting limits on their smartphone usage. You can also send them documents that they can read on their computer. 

Help Your Child Overcome Their Struggle With Reading

Children struggle with reading because reading requires many skills at once. A child has to parse out the sounds within each word. They have to know the meanings of the word, sentence, and text as a whole. 

A child may have skills in some areas yet struggling in another. This is often due to different learning styles and learning disabilities.

An individualized approach is needed for every child. Parents should offer a supportive space for reading. 

They should also find good tutoring resources. The Dicker Reading Method Center offers individualized reading classes for all people. Contact us today. 

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