How To Help A Child Struggling With Reading: 10 Ways To Do It

How To Help A Child Struggling With Reading: 10 Ways To Do It

Does your child need to improve on his/her reading? Here is how to help a child struggling with reading.

This blog post will show you ten proven methods you can apply to help your child.

Before we begin, we need to clarify your child’s reading level, disposition and attitude towards reading. This will inform us on how to help your child with their reading.

Does your child tussle in putting words together or just understanding a comprehension passage from a book? If your response to any of the two questions is ‘yes’, then this article is for you.

This blog post is also useful for parents or guardians with dyslexic children. This may appear to be a long read, but if you want to see some improvement in your child’s reading, then it is worth it.

Now let’s take a look at (10) ways on how to help a child struggling with reading.

10 Tips – How To Help A Child Struggling With Reading

There are many ways of encouraging children to read willingly, one of such ways is making reading fun for them.  

This can be done by singing and reading interesting books to the child and allowing him/her read back to you. However, note that this only applies to some children and not all kids that struggle with reading.

You need to be able to identify the child’s challenges and know the right strategy to use in making learning fun for them.

Here are (10) strategies in making reading fun and interesting for children:

  1. Have The Child Read The Same Thing Several Times

When you are trying to improve reading, it helps to see the same text multiple times. When a child who is struggling with reading repeats the same text many times, it becomes easier to articulate and remember words. The child becomes more motivated and it enhances fluency thanks to repeated exposure to words and phrases. This approach is one of the ancient ways on how to help a child struggling with reading.

  1. Make Use Of A Variety Of Books And Materials 

If a child is experiencing challenges with reading, it can even be more of a struggle to practice with materials that are not of interest to him/her. Occasionally, all it takes is getting readers excited about a topic to help them lose themselves in the activity. If the child you are helping with reading is around the age of 6 – 10 years, it will be great if you can use picture books, comics and poems to assist the child in their reading.  Start with easy materials that the children can easily understand and gradually work your way up to more difficult books.

  1.  Create A Stress-Free Environment 

When a child who struggles with reading enjoys a book, anxiety and stress is reduced and fluency is enhanced.  It is also possible to create a relaxing atmosphere by removing any deadlines and time limits. By doing this, it removes the agitation and allows the child to concentrate and focus on the designed task.

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 Now, let’s  move to the fourth way on how to help a child struggling with reading.

      4.   Make Use Of Gadgets And Creative Apps

We are in the digital era and nothing beats using gadgets and smartphones to get the attention of your child.  Your smartphone or tablets can be used to install useful and interesting reading apps where your child can read from. There are so many children friendly reading apps; some include MeeGenuis, SNAP learning, Tales2Go and many others.

    5.  Show Interest In Your Child’s Reading

How you react to your child’s activity in school is essential to their learning growth and development. This is because your response or advice has a strong result on how hard they will try to become good readers.  Always remember to give them genuine praise for their efforts.

    6.  Motivate by making connections to real-world

Motivate them by making connections to real-world outcomes so children realize that reading is not just an academic exercise.

For instance, to help your child overcome his/her struggle in reading, you can give him/her a task to write a letter to their favorite singer, best friend, grandma. This allows them to express their thoughts and in the process find meaning in what they are doing.  

The Role of Parents On How To Help A Child Struggling With Reading


In the long run, they might pick up interest in becoming professors or writers in the future. This unique method on how to help a child struggling with reading is also useful for long term memory.

     7.  Reach Out To The Teacher/Counselor At The School

Parents, you are not alone in this process; your child’s education is also of great significance to the school.  Also, when you are speaking to your child’s teacher,  do not always make it a private matter that excludes your child.

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Your child needs to know what is going on, otherwise it is a lost opportunity for learning self- advocacy. Children feel supported when they see parents and teachers collaborating, helping them instead of shuffling them off into a corner.

  1.   Show Interest In Your Child’s Reading

Your response or feedback has a strong effect on how hard your child will try to become an excellent reader.  Consequently, encourage your child to read a chapter from a book every day at home and get them to read it back to you. This way, you are helping them with their communication skills and also allowing them articulate themselves properly.

   9. Introduce Audio Reading

Some children process information faster by listening to audio recordings. There are so many children Audiobooks available, i.e. online and even at your child’s school.  Get your child to listen to audio recordings of books. this can be helpful for students to get a grasp on the material before they practice reading it for themselves.

  10. Recap And Summarise The Main Points 

If you know that your child struggles with reading, get your child to read learning materials. When talking about the material with your child, ask him or her to recap  and summarise the main points. This helps your child to understand the topic and it makes it easy for him or her to study.

The Role of Parents On How To Help A Child Struggling With Reading


The role of parents in ensuring their children learn to read cannot be underestimated. Sometimes the reason children struggle to read and comprehend passages is because the reading culture was never imbibed in the child while growing up.

It is therefore important that parents should know that a baby’s road to becoming a reader starts on the day he or she is born and when the voice of the parents are heard for the first time.

Young children imitate what they see their parents do and how they act at home. Therefore, parents must lead by example and encourage their children to do the same from an early age;  this can enable them become excellent readers. This is an important strategy on how to help a child struggling with reading.


We all know that children learn differently, and sometimes as a parent, you might feel like your child is not meeting certain learning expectations. If you find yourself in this position, then know that this is absolutely normal. Do not beat yourself up; instead, spend time helping your child to study effectively and assist him/her to learn how to read better.

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Often times, Nigerian parents can be so hard on their children that they compare them to children from other families. But they forget this can adversely affect their child’s self-esteem and social life. What children need now and again is more time to grab information, knowing full well that they might have a learning difficulty.

How To Help A Child Struggling With Reading If He/She Has Dyslexia

Difficulty in reading could be a sign of a common condition called dyslexia.  Dyslexia is a learning disability in reading. Children with dyslexia have challenges reading correctly. They may also have trouble with reading comprehension, spelling and writing. If you suspect that your child might be dyslexic, it will be good to consult a specialist in special education, or speak to the school counselor.

Nonetheless, your child’s struggle with reading might just be caused by other factors such as poor concentration, language shift, visual processing issues, etc.  Children who struggle to concentrate find it difficult to sit still and are easily distracted in the classroom. They get very anxious about reading that it stops them from learning. Language shift on the other hand affects children who speak a different language at home. They are still in the early stages of learning English so they might be slow in understanding and comprehending when reading.

Kids who struggle with visual processing often have a hard time seeing the difference between letters or shapes. They may also not be able to see them in the correct order. Having blurred or double vision are common difficulties that can affect the child’s reading. Children that suffer from this condition often try to compensate by squinting or closing one eye when trying to read.   

What Next?  

A child who struggles with reading can become a better reader if the reading techniques and tips provided in this blog post is adopted effectively.  Every child is intelligent; but they learn differently. As parents, you need to figure out what works best for your child. Also, if your child is dyslexic, it will be great to visit a special education centre to get quality advise on the next steps.