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Helping struggling readers: 7 tips to encourage reading at home

Helping Struggling Readers Tips

Suzy is like all young children. She’s interested in everything from dinosaurs to paper dolls to building blocks. But when it comes to reading, she struggles to sound out the basic vowels or letters. Her parents were so concerned, that they seek ways to encourage her to read more.

In fact, they enrolled her in different community literacy programs and local story times. To their surprise, the more Suzy was around with other children that love to read, the more enthusiastic she was about grabbing a book.

“We want to encourage students to read but not to read just anything. We want students to read books that are on their literacy level – not so difficult that they can’t process the text and not so easy that they’re not challenging themselves.” (Barringer 2006).

Struggling readers like Suzy are common when they don’t like to read. How to help them to master the essential skills necessary to begin to build a vocabulary and achieve comprehension is not easy.

Here are some ways in helping struggling readers tips to support parents:

Find out the reading level of your child

Many picture books have either designated levels or color level. Have your child read the different books until you find the right level. Or, it may be that the child is an emergent reader and needs more challenging books.

Present different types of literature

Children poetry, lyric stories, and audiobooks are few of the options kids can select from. And many stories are now available electronically.

Reward for each book the child reads

Whether it is stickers or other incentives, rewards can encourage struggling readers to pick a book or two.

Build vocabulary with theme stories

It no surprise that children love to watch movies and then read the story. Educators can encourage reading more when they show specific words or phrases about the movie and relate it to the book.

helping struggling readers tips

Construct a wordbook

In relation to the theme book and movie, children can build wordbooks with synonyms and antonyms for a comparison to contrast list. Another great way in helping struggling readers is to use adjectives and adverbs to distinguish between actions and subject descriptions.

Use sequence stories or cooking books

To follow instructions or simple steps, it requires specific stories. Recipes or building manuals can help. Baking cookies can be an excellent way to promote step-by-step directions. Building blocks, construction kits, and science experiments are great ways to enhance sequence.

Inquiry about the curious young mind

Children are curious by nature. Encourage that learning by asking questions. When reading or building, ask about the next sequence of events or instructions. This can encourage prediction about the story or next steps.

Reading is an invaluable life lesson. It is so important that many communities implement programs like the ‘All Aboard The Reading Railroad’, to encourage parents to bring literacy home. And many local communities have seen an improvement in crime rates and school dropouts.

Many of these tips can be implemented easily at home or at school. And it should be in conjunction with other literacy tools. But most importantly, children should approach it with enthusiasm and eagerness to learn.

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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