How to Help a Struggling Reader in 3rd Grade

Schedule a free reading skills check
Reading is an essential skill that lays the foundation for a child’s academic success. When a child struggles with reading, it can significantly impact their self-esteem and academic performance. As a parent or teacher, it is important to provide support and guidance to struggling readers, especially in third grade when students are expected to read more complex texts independently. Here are some tips on how to help a struggling reader in third grade.

Help Your Struggling 3rd Grader Improve Their Reading Skills

1. Identify the problem

The first step to help a struggling reader is to identify the problem. Observe their reading behaviors and ask questions to understand what is hard about reading. Does your child have trouble sounding out words, recognizing common words, or understanding the text? Are they reading too slowly, skipping words or lines, or struggling with fluency? Once you identify the problem, you can start planning how to help your 3rd grader with reading. 

2. Provided targeted instruction

Once you have identified the problem a reading teacher or tutor can provide targeted instruction. For instance, if your child has trouble decoding words, provide phonics instruction to help with sounding out words. 

In 3rd grade, students are expected to have a solid foundation in reading, including phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension. However, some struggling readers may not have mastered these foundational skills, making it difficult for them to read fluently and comprehend what they are reading. To support a struggling reader, it is important to use research-based reading interventions that focus on building foundational skills, such as phonics-based instruction, word study, and explicit vocabulary instruction.

If your child struggles with comprehension, teach them to use context clues or visualization strategies to aid comprehension. Providing explicit instruction with targeted practice and feedback can help struggling readers make progress.

3. Encourage reading practice

The more a child reads, the better they become at it. Encourage your struggling reader to read every day, even if it is just for a few minutes.Make sure that they have been taught how to read the material you are asking them to read. Encourage reading at home and school, and provide positive feedback and praise for effort and progress.

A supportive reading environment can go a long way in helping a struggling reader. If your child is participating in reading tutoring, create a quiet and comfortable reading space that is free from distractions. You can also encourage the child to read aloud to you, which can help build their confidence and fluency.

4. Collaborate with your child’s teacher

Ask questions about how reading is being taught at school. Is your child being asked to memorize entire words or are they being taught to sound out words? Is there a plan in place to support your child’s current and future progress?
Share your observations and ask for the teacher’s recommendations. Work together to develop strategies and goals, and ask about your child’s progress. Is their reading improving? Regular communication and collaboration can help ensure that your child receives the support they need to succeed. You are your child’s advocate! 

Do you need help teaching your child to read?

Helping a struggling reader in 3rd grade requires a multi-faceted approach that addresses the root cause of the reading difficulty, builds foundational reading skills, creates a supportive reading environment, provides frequent opportunities for reading practice, and collaborates with the child’s teacher. By implementing these strategies, you can help a struggling reader build the skills and confidence they need to become successful readers. If you need additional support, consider a reading tutor.