Is Your Child a Struggling Reader?

Could Your Child be a Struggling Reader?

Walking into a classroom, you can’t always tell which child reads well and which one is a struggling reader. You can’t tell until they start reading.  A child will try to hide his lack of confidence and skill as long as possible, but when you do sit and read with that child, there is no mistaking that something is wrong.

Or if that child won’t read and asks the adult in the room to read to them instead or they act out, you definitely know that something is wrong. Most children will love to read to an adult – sometimes in my library, children will sit on both sides of me and want to read to me.

When I work with a struggling reader who is more than 1 grade level below their current grade, my first question to the child is “Do you want to be a better reader.” All students I have worked with have always answered “yes” – none of them have hesitated or given me a look or given me any kind of an argument.

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This may not always happen with a parent as they may not want to admit it so easily, but there is someone that they will admit it too. It’s hard to like something that you know you’re not that good at. It’s human nature to try to escape whatever that thing is that makes you feel unsuccessful and uncomfortable.

How to Help Your Child

Once you’re checked with your child’s school and ruled out Dyslexia, ADHD, or another learning disability, it’s time to take the matter in your own hands and reinforce the skills he’s being taught at school. And of course, talk to your child’s teachers as they will have suggestions and resources. Then find every reading material you can find and fill your home with reading materials. From anything from books, magazines, tablets to read with, videos with words highlighted, apps on phonics or reading comprehension, etc.

I read with kids to see where their exact deficits are, but I always ask what they have trouble with and they always tell me exactly what they stumble on while they read. The response I get is usually longer words. The English language is so full of rules and then exceptions to EVERY SINGLE RULE! When I try to reach them a rule, I get frustrated because I always know that there is an exception around the corner!! Whenever I explain one rule, I have to explain that there are sometimes exceptions to the rule.

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Some of the Signs of a Struggling Reader

There are tons of resources for what I have found to be the most confusing problems a child encounters as they read. The easiest way to find out what issues a child has with reading, is to listen to them read. These are the key signs that a child is a struggling reader:

  1. Your child does not read fluently and has to hesitate to figure out many of the words on a page.
  2. Guessing at an unknown word and guesses wrong.
  3. Skipping over words.
  4. Your child will appear to be frustrated when he can’t read the words.
  5. Forgetting a word that they’ve just read on a previous page.
  6. Your child avoids reading, tries to find something else to do, shows behavior problems.
  7. Sounds out words using the wrong letter sounds.
  8. Your child is more than one grade level below their grade level.
  9. Slurring words.
  10. Your child can’t recall or comprehend what was just read.


Reading Rockets also has a great tool to determine the characteristics of a struggling reader. If it turns out that your child is a struggling reader, there are advice, suggestions, and there are many ways to help your child!

The first suggestion that I always state is to fill your house with literature, reading material everything in sight and make reading fun!

Also, if your child is a fan of video games, make limits, and make limits after all of their homework and reading is finished.  I cringe when the kids at school tell me how much they are use video games.

For some more suggestions on how to help your struggling reader at home, check out my other posts on 25 Ideas for Reading Skills Practice at Home! and 10 Quick Reading Skills Practice Ideas!

If a child is interested in a book, they’ll be more motivated to be able to read it. Keep trying different books, fiction or nonfiction.

Let them pick the book that they want to read. For more book suggestions and a reading, challenge go to Motivate your Child to Read More – a Reading Challenge! 

Make an easy ebook – if it’s your child’s creation, they might be excited about creating it. As they create it they are saying and writing and typing words! And sentences, etc.

Some strategies for reluctant readers who just don’t like to read may help, I have three additional posts, Books for Boys Who Hate to Read and Tips to Get Them Reading Today,  Is Your Child A Reluctant Reader and How to Get a Reluctant Reader to Read!

Some Fun Ways to Practice Reading Skills

These are just a few suggestions to practice reading and make it fun from 5 Ideas for Reading Skills Practice at Home!

Make an easy ebook.
Read a few recipes and then make something yummy!
Make a word collage on paper with words from cut out magazines, words you wrote, stickers, etc.
Have a Scavenger Hunt! Your child has to read the items to find them!
Sing words to songs!  Here’s a great website with words to some songs.

Previous Blogs

Some of my previous blogs were listed already, but this is a list of those blogs:

  • As always, please leave a comment or question below or email me at or I’d love to hear from you!



  1. I love this post! I have a 16 month old so I’ll keep this all in mind when he gets old enough to read! Thank you for this post

    1. Thank you! I’m so glad you like it! I have other posts on child and language development that I hope you’ll check out.

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