How can you help an older child who struggles with reading? How can you engage, or re-engage them, after they’ve grown frustrated? Here you’ll find helpful strategies plus lots of great book suggestions that are at a lower reading level yet still interesting to kids.
Assess Reading
Reading is a complex process. That’s why diagnosing the specific struggle for your child is so important. You can ask your public schools to test your child or get an outside-of-school evaluation. Ask your pediatrician or school to recommended a qualified specialist.
Find In-School Support
If you don’t already have documentation, start the process at school to document your child’s reading difficulties and need for extra support. Also, advocate for direct reading instruction.
Get Out-of-School Support
Find a qualified tutor or a special reading intervention class. Consider a brain-based intervention, like at Brain Highways, that works on underdeveloped parts of the brain that affect reading and writing.
Teach Skills & Strategies
Teach and re-teach phonics, decoding, comprehension, tracking, and fluency. Instruction and practice need to be frequent and explicit. It’s worth mentioning that worksheets and apps are only beneficial for practice and rarely actually teach reading.
Read ‘Just Right’ Books
Kids are more successful reading a book in which they know most of the words. Show your child how to know when a book is “just right” for them.
Give Choices
Struggling readers aren’t usually motivated to read. Provide some incentive by giving your child a choice of which books to read.
Give Kids Interesting Books
Kids want to read interesting books with relatable characters and topics. In addition to fiction novels, consider nonfiction, magazines, poetry, blogs, and graphic novels. Check out our book suggestions below for ideas.
Make Reading Fun
When learning is unpleasant, learning doesn’t happen. Find ideas to make reading comfortable and enjoyable here. Kids might like a book club. Not to worry, if your book club is reading a difficult book, simply read the book to your child or find it on audiobook. At home, it can be beneficial and fun to try to echo read and take turns reading. Echo reading means you read a line first and the child echoes you. Don’t forget to point to each word with your finger as you read it.
Encourage a Growth Mindset
Celebrate effort. Help your child see the connection between how effort leads to growth. If this connection is not happening, reassess that the efforts are being made in the right area — are the interventions the best ones? Is the tutor the best choice? Are the books “just right”? —Source: Brightly

Melissa Taylor