Every parent wants their child to succeed, but how can you help your struggling readers in middle school? You can take several steps to help your child boost their confidence to become a successful reader. Here are some great tips for parents of struggling readers in middle school.
1 Encourage Writing in a journal.
A great way to help struggling readers is to encourage them to write in a journal. Writing skills and reading skills go hand in hand. By writing, you increase reading, and by reading, you increase writing. Research shows that improving writing skills helps improve reading skills, too.
Journals can be used to practice reading, vocabulary, and writing. Take time to read with your child each day and then discuss what they have just read. Have them write down any questions that arise from their reading. Be careful to give them only a few answers or fill-in-the-blank sentences. Instead, try to help guide them in answering those questions by looking at context clues.
If they need a break from reading, let them journal about their day or emotions. Either way, they are strengthening their reading and comprehension by writing.
2 Read at a lower level first.
Encourage struggling readers to start at a lower level. Ask them to read out loud and have them read things they enjoy. Engage your child by asking questions about what they just read and have them explain the text. Help students learn strategies like using a dictionary or highlighting essential words or phrases while reading. Encourage students to bring home reading materials from school so they can practice and keep up with their reading daily.
3 Check out books from the library.
Going to the library is fun. By doing something fun and associating it with reading, you can build a positive framework for reading within your child. Going to the library can allow your child to explore various genres and find books they are excited to open up and read, even if reading is challenging.
Plus, at the library, you can check out several books at a time. Let your kids pick various books, from easy picture books to long chapter books, to redevelop a positive connection with literature. Most libraries also have a large selection of comic books or graphic novels, which may be more exciting for your struggling reader.
4 Encourage your child to read for pleasure.
Encourage your child to read for pleasure. Let them pick their books even if they are at a lower level than they should be reading. As they become more excited to read, they naturally move toward higher-level books. If your kids are into graphic novels, let them read them! The days of traditional all-text books are over. Every day, more classic stories are rewritten in graphic novel form. Many school textbooks even come with classic variations of graphic novels today.
5 Have family reading time
Set an example of reading at home by having a designated family reading time. If your kids see you enjoy reading, they will naturally want to read. When you first start a family reading time, you may get some pushback, but as their reading improves. They begin to discover what they enjoy reading, this will go away, and they will be just as excited for a family reading time as you are. You can elevate the family experience by adding a post-reading time discussion where everyone can share what they were reading! This boosts cognitive reading skills and critical thinking.
6 Read together
Reading together is a strategy that can help struggling readers, as it provides support and encouragement. Your child's reading level is determined by their ability to decode words and their understanding and interest. Reading aloud to your child will help them understand and get excited about the story. Plus, it'll be a great way to spend time with them!