How to Help a Struggling Reader plus #free #printable

This is a sponsored campaign in partnership with Walmart and Acorn Influence.  Opinions are my own.

I mentioned recently, in my How to Improve Your Child’s Interest in Reading post, that teaching my daughter to read has been vastly different than teaching my son to read was.  She has resisted reading with the same steadfast determination that many adults avoid regular dental check ups.  She would do absolutely anything to get out of reading time, including cry or misbehave.  It made me want to pull my hair out… We finally hit a tipping point and I realized that she wasn’t just a reluctant reader and there was something more going on.

Dyslexia

Long story short, testing revealed that while her vision is 20/20, she is having a much harder time learning to read due to dyslexia and a visual tracking impairment.  So, we are doing everything in our power to make the laborious task of reading fun.

I picked up a Teacher Rewards Kit from Walmart, for just $10, while I was school supply shopping. It has comes with over 1500 pieces, including stickers (yay!), bookmarks, certificates, and note pads.

The #TeacherRewardsKit is available @Walmart #ad

I created a simple Monthly Reading Tracker, which I showed off on Instagram, to compliment the superpower theme of the Teacher Reward Kit. She loves stickers, so the simple act of getting a sticker for doing her best each day is enough to elicit a smile.

Monthly Reading TrackerI thought I’d share with you what I’ve learned on how to help a struggling reader.

How To Help a Struggling Reader

  1. Celebrate successes. Every single word read correctly matters.  Every. Single. One.  When a child with dyslexia memorizes a sight word, decodes a simple word, uses a picture to solve an unknown word, or self-corrects an error it should be lauded!
  2. Set realistic goals.  A child that is struggling with dyslexia will not rocket to reading at grade level over night.  A more reasonable expectation is that the child will practice reading every day!
  3. Read aloud!! The best primer for reading is being read to.  Read whatever interests them as long as it is age appropriate.  My daughter will sit still for anything having to do with horses. I’ve even read a “how to care for hooves” article to her, because it held her interest.
  4. Focus on accuracy, rather than speed.  Don’t pressure a child to read more quickly.  Encourage them to take their time. Let them sound things out as needed.  Teach them ways to remember what they have read, like drawing a picture or making up a silly tune.
  5. Make reading multi-sensory. Deliberately use sight, sound, movement and touch to help connect language to written words..  There are many ways to make reading multi-sensory, including air writing words, tapping letters out while spelling, and using manipulatives like play dough, flash cards, letter tiles or sight word dominoes.  While all children may benefit from multi-sensory learning, this approach can be particularly helpful for those with learning and attention issues.  Did you know that dyslexia and attention issues often walk hand in hand?
  6. Seek help if needed.  If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times.  There is no shame in asking for help.  Various programs have been developed that help students with learning disabilities succeed in reading.  My daughter has vision therapy weekly for the visual tracking impairment and is being tutored twice a week by someone who specializes in dyslexia.
  7. Teach them to help themselves. Help them learn strategies for coping.  Help them learn how to be their own advocate and ask for help or extra time when they need it.

By no means am I an expert.  We’ve come a long way in the last few months. It’s been an emotional roller coaster, and we’ve a long way yet to go, but I’m confident that we are doing everything in our power to help our struggling reader.

Print a copy of the Monthly Reading Tracker and check out my first Flipagram.

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