How Do You Help Older Children Learn to Read?

Books with simple text that interest an older reader are sometimes hard to find. It's important to find these books and teach the reading skills an older reader is missing.

Reading is a complicated process that requires a combination of skills and thinking to come together. Challenges in learning to read happen to children of all intelligence levels, all economic situations, and even to children with strong educational experiences.

Once a reading problem is discovered it is important to look for solutions.

Here's a story about some challenges my daughter faced.
My Daughter's Path to Reading
The inspiration for this post came from an email I received today from a mom in Australia. If you read My Daughter's Path to Reading, you'll understand my personal need to help this mom. My children are now 9, 9, and 11. My boy/girl twins were six years old when I wrote that post. The mom who wrote me has boy/girl twins who are 9 years old. Her daughter is falling behind in reading just like my daughter was at six years old. The frustration this mom and little girl have is where I'd be if I didn't focus my career around teaching reading and knew what to do to help my daughter.

Most parents aren't reading teachers.

Here are steps to help a child who is behind in reading.

1. Find the problem.

2. Find effective solutions. What will work for our situation?

3. Take action. Be consistent. Celebrate success.

4. Do something different if your first choice isn't working.

Here are resources to help you find the problem.
*Is it dyslexia or a vision problem?
*You may want to explore some visual exercises.
*Reading Rockets Target the Problem is a helpful site.

Here are some ideas for solutions.
*Read aloud to your child. Find interesting picture books, non-fiction books, chapter books, and magazines. Read for enjoyment often. Take the frustration out of reading and bring back the joy.
*Find an eye doctor or reading tutor if needed.

A few extra tips:
*Understanding what is read is most important!
*Teach reading comprehension during read alouds.
*Allow children time to monitor their own reading and stop and fix or reread when something doesn't make sense. Have a child read aloud to you. After a sentence or a page is finished, you can say that something didn't make sense as you were listening. Ask your child if he or she could read that sentence or page over. Praise a child for fixing his or her reading. Give a child time to do this. If a child is making a mistake on more than one in ten words, the book is too hard. You may choose to share the reading or read the book to your child.



  1. It is so important to keep reading with a child of any age who needs help. Without knowing the actual problem, it is so hard to help. Parents are sometimes so afraid of finding out the problem, but that is half the answer! Thank you for this clear advice. Carolyn

  2. Great post. I like how you suggested a variety of people to check with. I think parents sometimes communicate with a doctor about vision but they forget to talk with the teacher, or they suspect a learning disability and go to the school but they forget to check with a doctor about vision or hearing. It's so important to do both. Good advice.

  3. Good advice for parents of struggling readers. They may also find some good tips at the Red Apple Reading Express, another blog with helpful information about literacy and early learning.