Helping A Struggling Reader

by Melanie | September 16th, 2013

Helping A Struggling Reader memeAfter our first few children learned to read so early and easily, we thought we were some ol’ wonderful homeschoolers. Then came our next child – and humility! It was really tough, but we got through it and he’s now a very successful high school student. Here are some things that helped:

Don’t despair – and don’t let them lose hope either! God created us to read or He wouldn’t have put His Word into written form and commanded us to study it. You can encourage your struggling reader a lot by telling them the stories of successful people who also struggled with reading like Thomas Edison, General George Patton, Winston Churchill and Agatha Christie. (Who would think someone who struggled with reading and spelling would become one of the best-selling novelists of all time? Agatha Christie did!)

Keep them up to speed in their other subjects. You or their siblings might have to read their math lesson and story problems to them, but there’s no reason they can’t keep up if they have that help.  You can also ask if your child’s textbooks are available in recorded versions – many are. What a blessing to have our children at home where we can take the time and trouble to do that!

Develop their reading comprehension skills while you wait. Hearing the written word read aloud can help them learn to understand complex sentences and vocabulary. If you read great books to them and buy them audiobooks, when they do learn to read for themselves, their reading ability will just explode! Our son went from sounding out “cat” and “dog” to reading high school and college-level texts in a just a couple of years because he’d been listening to challenging books for years before that.

Get help and encouragement. There are tons of great resources out there. If yours isn’t working for you and your student, don’t be afraid to sell it and try another. Be persistent. You will both live through this!

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Dealing with learning challenges involves more than academics — there can be serious emotional and social issues, too. Melanie and our son Samuel offer an hour-long workshop on how to understand the worries and hurts of a struggling learner, and what you and your family can do to ease the pain and frustration! 

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  • Jennifer Torres

    What if you have a son who isn’t interested in learning to read? Or at least that’s what he says. Personally, I think because he has a few speech problems, he doesn’t want to read aloud. We’ve “caught” him teaching his younger siblings to read, but refuses to read to us, or acts like he can’t do very well. What do you think it is: not knowing, not interested, or embarrassment?

    • Anonymous

      You know, Jennifer, it depends on how old they are and what issues they are having with reading. If he seems to be reading alright, but struggling with reading aloud, I would try praising him a lot whenever he does it and try letting him read silently and testing his comprehension with questions. If he’s struggling more than that, I would look into Dianne Craft’s materials: http://www.diannecraft.org/ They helped us a lot! ~Melanie

  • D_Mom

    I strongly suggest the book ‘To Teach A Dyslexic’ by Don McCabe. The cover of the book says, “A dyslexic tells how Luck enabled him to learn to read & how his blissful ignorance & stubbornness enabled him to discover an easy, common sense way to teach other dyslexics to read and write.” This book is for more than dyslexics; it is for any parent who struggles to teach reading to their child.

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