10 ways to help reluctant and struggling readers

How to ignite (or reignite) a passion for reading.

By Bruce Johnson

1. Determine the reason for the reluctance and struggling. Is it because the child can’t read, can read but chooses not to, or can read but can’t find anything interesting to read?

2. Remember to offer encouragement and positive praise.

3. Talk with your child about why he or she is no longer reading. The discussion may be revealing.

4. Remember the importance of the read-aloud. Your child may miss the reading time together. Returning to the read-aloud may help your child reconnect to reading.

5. Consider starting at the beginning of the reading process. Work on rhymes, initial sounds, blending sounds to form words, and letter recognition.

6. Try to determine where the reading problems are. Is the child having trouble with vocabulary, comprehension, or fluency? Work on those areas.

7. Does the child need to have an eye exam?

8. Help your child find books that are most interesting to read.

9. Play some reading-related traditional games like Scrabble, Scrabble Jr., and Upwords; and simple games like Memory, Go Fish, and Tic-Tac-Toe with letters instead of pictures.

10. Ask your child to do some reading around the home. This includes reading recipes, writing the shopping list, and looking up a telephone number.

Excerpted from Involving Parents in Their Children's Reading Development: A Guide for Teachers

Educator and reading specialist Bruce Johnson is the author of Involving Parents in Their Children’s Reading Development: A Guide for Teachers.