Children who decode words easily often assume they are reading well, thereby leaving any issues unnoticed until standardized comprehension tests fail them. Giving context and helping them focus on understanding will help overcome this hurdle.
As it’s essential for students to have access to a range of reading material, especially reluctant readers, it is vitally important that we present them with various options when selecting reading material for school assignments. Instead of pushing fiction novels on them all at once, try offering comics and nonfiction texts as alternatives.
1. They don’t like to read
Some students struggle with reading comprehension because they dislike it, which can be challenging for teachers to diagnose and address. Frustrated kids may give up entirely – especially those attending middle and secondary schools where reading intervention programs have not proven successful, according to experts.
These students often become “silent learners”, falling behind academically in multiple subjects like mathematics and science. Reading to learn is an integral component of classroom work, so those unable to manage this effectively will face major difficulties throughout their academic career.
To help these students reengage with reading, assistive technologies like the Kindle, iPad and Google’s Nexus that read aloud can be especially effective. Conversely, having them dictate ideas to an adult can strengthen vocabularies while building confidence for future reading adventures. Many times all they need is just some gentle encouragement to enjoy books again!
2. They’re not good at it
Reading requires more than decoding words – it requires paying attention to narrative. Students need to identify gist, main ideas and specific details while making inferences as they read – which may prove challenging for children with attention issues.
Reading can feel like an onerous task; when compared to media experiences like Instagram, Kardashian posts or Epic Fail YouTube videos which kids find exciting or immediately accessible (such as Instagram stories, Kardashian photos or Epic Fail videos) reading can seem less immediate or engaging; teachers often require children to analyze every element of a book which takes the fun away.
Note that low reading scores in America aren’t solely caused by poverty; rather, they also stem from schools using outdated instructional models and an education culture focused on self-promotion over education. Fixing these problems will take time; one way may be introducing books with joy they won’t find elsewhere such as phones or videogames.
3. They’re not getting enough help
When students don’t score at grade level on state reading tests, it can often be attributed to an underlying issue. A learning disability such as dyslexia may cause fluency issues and impair comprehension; other children might have speech delays or vision and hearing problems which make decoding words on pages difficult.
After students reach middle grades, teachers become aware of children who read well but do not comprehend what they read. Unfortunately, this group often slips under the radar until they start failing standardized reading comprehension tests or struggling with classroom work.
Some educators worry that curricula are failing to address the needs of struggling students, particularly those who require language-based interventions. As debate over teaching reading has moved away from phonics and toward comprehension strategies, some critics assert that using comprehension strategies alone may not work effectively with all students – particularly those with language impairment.
4. They’re not motivated
Many students do not view reading as being central to their lives and thus lack motivation (known as “amotivation”) to engage with books, manifested either through resistance to influence, competence loss, or an overall lack of interest/relevance (Elleman & Oslund 2019).
Reconnect students with the joy of reading by providing diverse texts and engaging activities. This may involve placing non-standard curriculum books such as literary graphic novels and magazines targeting English learners on display.
Assuring students at risk of falling behind have time outside the classroom to practice reading is vitally important for those at risk of falling behind. While this may prove challenging with working parents or living in poverty, it’s crucial they make reading part of their lifestyle and make it a priority – they need to understand that reading is connected with their future dreams and hopes.