For up to 40% of students learning to read is a challenge. Fortunately, with early identification and intervention most students overcome their reading difficulties. But time is of the essence. The older the student, the more difficult it is to overcome these challenges. Early identification of reading problems is crucial.
Know the signs of reading difficulty. Target the problems and decide on the most effective strategies to help.
Students who are struggling readers may demonstrate combinations of behaviours, attitudes, and abilities at different times and in varying literacy situations. They often:
- can’t bring their personal background information to meaning making with a particular text;
- can’t repair a breakdown in meaning as they read;
- focus on literal interpretation of text instead of inferring, analyzing, synthesizing, and extending the reading;
- aren’t “hearing” the text when reading silently;
- sub-vocalize as they read silently;
- read all material at the same rate;
- don’t see the point of view of the author;
- may present erratic eye movements, have difficulty following a line, or re-read the same word;
- have difficulty recalling or recounting information;
- are unable to predict future events in the text;
- falter frequently while reading aloud, often pleading for help (even silently);
- cannot seem to retell a text;
- don’t understand how particular types of text function;
- do not use the text features to make meaning;
- are defeated by the length of the text;
- can’t seem to match their interests with any of the books in the classroom;
- cannot select a book, or choose inappropriate books for their interests and abilities;
- seem unable to respond to the text in group discussions;
- have difficulty in other subject areas that require literacy skills;
- are unable to assess and reflect upon their literacy competence and experiences;
- avoid reading or pretend to read.
To learn more about how to help struggling readers at a grade specific level, click on the links below.