Homeschool Strategy For Struggling Readers

Homeschool Strategy For Struggling Readers

Are you looking for an effective homeschool strategy for struggling readers?  Perhaps you’re fearful that your child may become one of the tens of millions of US adults who don’t have basic literacy skills?  

For many children, traditional reading instruction strategies are effective.  Unfortunately, however, those same strategies are also just as ineffective for others. This is when parents and educators need to take notice.

teaching kids to read stress

Teaching Kids To Read With Same Old Methods

When we insist on using the same teaching methods for all kids due to convenience, we set them up for a lifetime of failure. Often kids who learn differently can easily be led to believe that they are inherently bad students and readers.  Understandably, they mentally give up due to frustration.

A Daily Uphill Battle Can Hurt Struggling Readers

Think about it. Who wants to repetitively engage in an activity that causes tears, anxiety and frustration?  I know, I don’t.  Of course, the last thing we want is for kids to struggle with and hate reading.  We know the value and importance of reading, but often hit a wall when we run out of strategies for our struggling reader.

The Value of Reading

Fortunately, as a society we espouse the importance of literacy for all children.  That statement is definitely true on the surface.  However, when we dig deeper into how we equip children to read, many begin to think differently.  It is not uncommon in our educational culture, homeschool or otherwise, to determine that a child is “behind” in reading at ages as early as 6 or 7.

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Urgency To Read Can Backfire Big Time

This message is communicated to Mom or Dad with an urgency that reading needs to improve quickly in order to be “ready for the next grade level.”  Arguably, we are standing on a dangerous precipice when we make these judgement calls based upon one modality of reading instruction and age alone.  We must begin to view effective reading instruction with the child’s “wiring” in mind.

Adults Who Hate To Read

If we think about how many kids say they “hate reading”, it’s no wonder why.  I mean, really think about the sheer number of adults who won’t even think of picking up a book.  We don’t need a study to tell us that adults often struggle with reading in large numbers as well.  When we dig deeper, it is often because they think they hate reading.  Many adults explain that they were never good at reading when they were in school. 


End the “Reading Stinks” Cycle

Honestly, I argue that these adults were likely not equipped in a way that they could process and understand. If we want to prevent the next generation from falling into the reading is the enemy trap, then we must be willing to explore alternative teaching strategies for struggling readers.

Unchecked Expectations Leads To Struggling Readers

One of the side-effects of educational and developmental benchmarks is the inherent message that all kids should fit into this box.  When kids don’t respond to the traditional teaching approach and on the benchmark timelines, trouble ensues.

Parents are under so much pressure to make their child read just like everyone else.  When mom or dad aren’t informed about optional teaching approaches and learning styles, they lean in harder.  Children struggle with reading even more when pushed using strategies that inherently conflict with the way they learn.

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Struggling Readers: Keep Up With The Student Joneses

Additionally, parents often make themselves crazy in the process in a desperate attempt to keep up with the student Joneses.

  • Running their kiddos to various academic interventions
  • Engaging in fights with their struggling reader as they push for them to read more

Unfortunately, when this occurs early in a child’s education or becomes the pattern, our kids learn the wrong thing.  These kids learn to hate learning and worse, they begin to believe that they are dumbConsequently, the idea of picking up a book causes tears, anxiety and frustration for the child (and mom or dad).

Very few adults have the capacity to fight an uphill battle every day.  So why do we force kids to learn such a crucial life skill in a way that often times conflicts with the way they learn?


Homeschool Strategy For Struggling Readers: Think Long-Term

Life is a gift given to us by God Himself and it is a journey.  No two people are exactly the same.  Ultimately, a child who grows up feeling “behind” can easily believe himself incapable of learning.  Forcing children to push through reading material based on grade level benchmarks is not good. It can often lead them on an unintended detour of a lifetime of reading aversion.

By taking this detour, kids miss the basic foundational skills of reading in the name of “keeping on grade level.”  Sadly, Learned helplessness is a real force that creates its own set of mental health issues.  This ultimately costs far more than whether a child reads on grade-level at age 7 or 8 or even 10.

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Neurodiversity: Who Is YOUR Struggling Reader?

Our brains, like our bodies, develop differently and at varying times.

  • Would we ever shame a young 14 year-old girl because her body isn’t as developed as other girls her age?
  • Would we tell a young man that he is not achieving his potential if his voice was still an octave higher than his peers?

Of course not.  Why then do this to our children when it comes to brain development and its impact on their reading skills?

Strategies For Struggling Readers- The One That Works

There are many variables at play in the effectiveness of any one teaching strategy.  And we know that reading can be the gatekeeper to a life of success.  This is why it is critical that adults seek out alternative approaches for the struggling readers in their lives.

Homeschool Strategy For Parents 

If you are looking to bypass years of heart-ache and stress trying to homeschool your child using the same old strategies that AREN’T working, I’ve got you, Friend!  Specifically for homeschool moms teaching struggling readers and writers, check out one of the most recent homeschool trainings.  I’m super pumped to share this with you!

Huh? How Language Processing Impacts Reading, Writing & Relationships

Huh?  How Language Processing Impacts Reading, Writing & Relationships is a training I offered at the 2020 NCHE Summit For Teaching Exceptional Children.  It is one that I’m most excited to share as it’s literally going to change everything for you and your child.  Please circle back to me after you’ve taken the training.  I can’t wait to hear from you!  Click image below to learn more and to thrive as a homeschool family!

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RELATED POST: How To Help A Strugglng Reader (Writer, Can’t Follow Through On Multi-Step Directions Kid)



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4 thoughts on “Homeschool Strategy For Struggling Readers”

    • Charlene, thank you for serving children in this way. OG is such an amazing method. I am learning more and more about the brain and varying cognitive research out there, OG keeps coming to mind for so many kids. Looking for a math approach with a similar sequential and methodical, mutlisensory approach. Let me know if you find a good one! 🙂

  1. I really appreciate that you point out that children develop their reading abilities at different ages. As a society, we put too much pressure on children to read at a certain stage! With the right encouragement children can all learn to read AND enjoy learning!


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