Reading Struggles? Tips from Oxford Learning

What Parents Need To Know To Help Their Child Get Ahead

Not everyone loves to read. Research from the International Dyslexia Association shows that approximately 1 in 5 people have struggled with reading. Since reading is one of the most important schools and life skills, struggles with reading difficulties can create challenges in other learning areas, such as writing and spelling.

Difficulties with reading can make learning and school performance challenges, which can cause self-esteem to drop. It’s important to know that reading struggles do not equate to a lack of intelligence! There are many reasons why children may be struggling with reading and most have nothing to do with a child’s cognitive abilities.

Understanding the reasons that your child may find reading challenging is the first step in helping him or her overcome those challenges to become a confident reader for life!


Reasons Your Child Might Struggle With Reading

  • Learning Styles

Learning isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach—each student learns in a manner that works best for him or her. There are four main learning styles: Visual Learning, Auditory Learning, Kinaesthetic/Tactile Learning, and Read/Write Learning. When instruction methods don’t allow a student to learn according to his or her learning style, it can be challenging to build core skills—including reading.

  • Support Levels

Reading support varies according to the child’s needs and can include how available reading materials are, one-on-one support from teachers, and meeting any other potential learning requirements. Without access to support, children who require additional help could fall behind, making catching up to level challenging.

  • Attention Struggles

Children who have difficulty with attention often have difficulty with reading comprehension. Students with an attention disorder (such as Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder) can have trouble staying focused on reading material; when distracted it’s challenging to comprehend what is being read.

  • Learning Disabilities

Reading struggles may also indicate an underlying learning disability. Reading disabilities are fairly common with between 15-20% of people of all ages struggling with some form of reading or learning challenge. If your child avoids reading, finds learning stressful, or isn’t performing as expected, he or she may be struggling with a reading disability.


How To Help a Child Who Struggles With Reading

Read A Variety of Materials

For a child who struggles with reading, chapter books can be intimidating. Luckily there is a wide variety of reading options, such as graphic novels, comics, recipe books, magazines, and audiobooks. Adapting reading materials to your child’s learning style can build reading confidence!

Rewarding Success Builds Motivation

A lack of confidence is often behind a reluctance to read. Celebrating small reading successes, being patient and encouraging your child to keep going, especially when reading becomes frustrating, helps your child learn to recognize that reading is a process and that effort leads to results.

Active Listening Skills

A key part of reading is listening. Build your child’s listening skills by playing audiobooks or podcasts or by reading aloud together. Good listening skills help with phonetics and fluency—both of which are key to developing reading skills.

Reading Out Loud

Phonetics and fluency develop as your child reads aloud. When practicing reading, avoid books that are too difficult or challenging. Sound words out and use rhyming. Pick materials that are suited to your child’s current reading level (or just slightly above it) to build skills and boost confidence.

Individual Education Plans

IEPs—Individual Education Plans—meet students’ individual needs through accommodations, program modifications, and/or alternative programs. These plans help students work toward achieving goals that are beyond his or her current skill level. Discuss with your child’s teacher/educator how an Individual Education Plan can help your child see success.


Tutors are a great addition to your child’s learning plan and can build confidence, improve comprehension, and help your child overcome reading obstacles. Contact your Saskatoon Oxford Learning Centre to learn more about reading tutoring.

If you think your child is experiencing reading struggles, don’t wait to see if improvement happens by itself! The sooner reading struggles are addressed, the sooner students can go on to see reading success!


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