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Homeschooling Your Struggling Reader

In a perfect world, every child would discover the joy of reading early on. Children would learn to read as easily as they learned to walk. Some children do seem to have an innate ability to decode language and words, but other kids struggle to decipher those complicated symbols. In fact, almost 40 percent of children struggle to learn to read. With early intervention, almost all children can overcome these challenges. Unfortunately, the window for intervention is small. Kids who aren’t reading by age eight may never catch up. The good news is that struggling readers benefit most from one-on-one help. As a homeschooling parent, the odds of success are in your favor.

Children struggle with reading for a variety of issues. Sometimes, poor eyesight is the problem and getting corrective lenses makes all the difference. Occasionally, loss of hearing caused by allergies or fluid in the ears impacts the ability to read. Read on to learn the skills [1] kids need to learn to read. Difficulties in any of these areas can slow down reading progress.

How Can I Help My Struggling Reader?

Pinpoint the cause of the delay. As you read with your child, think about the list above. Can your child hear rhymes or alliteration in spoken words? Does she recognize the alphabet letters and know their sounds? If not, her problem is probably mechanical, meaning that she needs some help with phonics and phonological awareness.

Perhaps your child can sound out words, but a limited vocabulary hampers her ability to comprehend what she reads. Maybe her reading is so stilted and choppy that she doesn’t remember what she read. These problems are related to comprehension and fluency.

If you suspect your child has a learning disability, ADHD or a visual or auditory processing disorder, talk with your pediatrician. Your public school is required to provide a free assessment at your request even if you are homeschooling your child. Assessments offer useful information that can guide you in finding solutions.

Develop a strategy. Once you determine the cause of your child’s struggles, you can develop a plan. Of course, many children struggle in multiple areas, so your plan may include a variety of activities. Below are a few ideas for each area of reading difficulty:

Phonological Awareness:

Decoding Words And Phonics:




Learning Difficulties:

Teaching your struggling reader to read is one of the most challenging, yet satisfying things you’ll ever do. Fill your home with a variety of reading materials—fiction and non-fiction books, magazines, scriptures, and newspapers. Let your child see you reading everyday and share your love of books. Every child learns at her own pace, but with patient, supportive persistence, your child will learn the joy of reading.

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