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11 Characteristics Of Struggling Readers

Signs of reading disabilities in children

Whether it’s something a student has struggled with in the past, or progression isn’t happening at an expected rate, reading is a common struggle for students of all ages.

For children with reading difficulties, the problem doesn’t always stop there. Many struggling readers also have trouble with skills such as writing, spelling, fluency, and comprehension.

On top of poor grades, reading struggles can also lead to stress and frustration for students—something we know can have just as much of an impact on student’s success as any learning skill.

Understanding Reading Difficulties In Children

One of the most common reading disabilities that affects students of all ages is dyslexia. Between 15-20% of people—including children—struggle with some level of dyslexia. This affects their ability to read, write, spell, and process information at the level expected.

Reading is a fundamental skills that all children must master in order to do well in school (and in the future). Students who have difficulty reading now can quickly fall behind in their classes. And without the skills needed to succeed, it can be a huge challenge to catch up.

This is why it’s important to watch for red flags that your child is struggling with reading so you can address the problem before it snowballs into something bigger.

Find out the most common reading disorder signs and symptoms in children so you can get your child on the road to becoming a more productive reader.

11 Signs Your Child May Have A Reading Disability

Red Flag: A below average reading level

Signs to watch for: Your child has difficulty reading material assigned at his or her grade level. He or she is consistently behind the level of his or her peers.

Red Flag: Difficulty sounding out words

Signs to watch for: Your child has trouble pronouncing words that he or she should know or confuses the sounds of certain letters.

Red Flag: Difficulty recognizing words

Signs to watch for: Your child doesn’t recognize words that he or she should know or easily confuses similar-looking words.

Red Flag: A lack of fluency when reading

Signs to watch for: When reading aloud, your child takes frequent pauses between words and lacks expression in his or her tone.

Red Flag: Problems understanding what was just read

Signs to watch for: Your child has a low level of comprehension when it comes to reading. He or she also has trouble understanding, recalling, or summarizing what he or she has just read.

Red Flag: Problems connecting what is read to previous knowledge

Signs to watch for: Your child has trouble connecting ideas from what he or she has read to other concepts he or she has previously learned.

Red Flag: Anxiety about reading

Signs to watch for: Your child is overcome with anxiety when reading, especially if he or she is asked to read aloud. He or she frequently says “I can’t do it” or “I don’t understand”.

Red Flag: Avoiding reading altogether

Signs to watch for: Your child avoids reading as much as possible. He or she approaches reading with a negative or defeated attitude, refusing to pick up books or read aloud.

Red Flag: Difficulty with spelling and writing

Signs to watch for: Your child has trouble spelling many words correctly. He or she may also struggle with writing comprehensive sentences.

Red Flag: Tasks involving reading or writing take an unusually long time to complete

Signs to watch for: Your child spends a large amount of time working on reading or writing assignments, or has trouble completing them at all.

Red Flag: Easily distracted when reading

Signs to watch for: Your child has a lot of difficulty focusing on reading assignments or abandons the task before he or she has finished.

Helpful Reading Resources

12 Strategies To Help Struggling Readers Improve Reading Comprehension
How To Encourage Good Reading Habits In Kids

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