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13 Positive and Fun Ways to Help Your Struggling Reader

With BooBoo set to begin kindergarten this fall, I’m reminded of my eldest son’s struggles in school. First there was his whole failure to sit on his square during rug time in kindergarten, only to be followed by major struggles with reading in first grade. Oh, reading.

How could something we enjoyed so much together turn into such an incredible nightmare as he began learning to read independently? The frustration, the tears – and not just from me!

As mothers all around the country (myself included) vow to work on developing their children’s reading skills this summer, I offer these 13 positive and fun ways to help your struggling reader.

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  • Be patient 1 of 13
    Be patient
    Child1st Publications reminds us to nurture our child's literacy experience with gentle encouragement and sensitivity.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Become a library regular 2 of 13
    Become a library regular
    The library is a wonderful environment, particularly for a reluctant reader. Encourage your child to participate in the many activities your library has to offer. From story time to computer learning games, time in a literacy-rich environment is time well spent.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • They’ve got mail! 3 of 13
    They've got mail!
    Kids just love to receive mail! Children's magazines are a great way to foster a love of reading. Magazines are a wonderful change from traditional books because the articles are short, fun to read, and filled with colorful glossy pictures. Check out these 18 Subscriptions Your Kids Will Love!
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Track the words 4 of 13
    Track the words
    When it comes to reading, maintaining focus takes practice. Reading Horizons recommends having your child use a blank index card or her finger to help focus on one word at a time as she reads.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Choose books at his reading level 5 of 13
    Choose books at his reading level
    Opt for fun books that interest your child at his current reading level according to Primary School. As his skill level and confidence improve, adjust his reading material accordingly. Ask his teacher for recommendations.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Get recording 6 of 13
    Get recording
    Record yourself reading your child's favorite book out loud and allow your child to listen to the recording while following along in the book. Your comforting voice will provide your young reader with valuable audio and visual cues. Child1st Publications suggests once your child is comfortable with the book, record him reading it. Use his recording to help both of you (gently) identify areas for improvement.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Take turns reading 7 of 13
    Take turns reading
    Together, you and your child can do great things. Great Schools recommends taking turns reading. Doing so encourages your child to keep trying with your gentle support and allows your child the opportunity to absorb your phrasing, inflection, and general reading fluency.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • App it 8 of 13
    App it
    Learning can (and should) be fun! Put your smart devices to good use with fun and engaging reading apps! Not sure where to start? Check out Babble's 50 Best iPhone and iPad Apps for Kids.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Talk to your child 9 of 13
    Talk to your child
    Difficulty reading can lead to feelings of low self-esteem in children. Make sure your child understands that with a little time, patience, and teamwork, she'll be an independent reader in no time.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Lead by example 10 of 13
    Lead by example
    Make reading a part of your daily routine. According to the Ontario Ministry of Education, when children see their parents reading for pleasure, they're much more likely to view reading as a worthwhile activity.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Praise your child 11 of 13
    Praise your child
    Imagine Learning recommends offering specific praise, such as, "Great job sounding out those words" is a wonderful way to focus on the tasks he's done well. Charting your reader's progress is another wonderful way to highlight his success.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Establish a text-to-self connection 12 of 13
    Establish a text-to-self connection
    According to Reading Horizons, one of the best ways enhance reading comprehension is through books that contain subject matter that your child can personally identify with.
    Image credit: Shutterstock
  • Go for the funny 13 of 13
    Go for the funny
    Laughter holds the key to learning. Choose humorous books that interest your child and encourage him to keep trying.
    Image credit: Shutterstock

For even more tips to help your young reader, check out 9 Genius Ways To Help Kids Learn To Read (And Love It).

Share your tips for struggling readers in the comments below!

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