In every classroom in every country we can recognise children who struggle to master reading skills. Some of these children gradually overcome their initial difficulty and acquire basic reading skills by practicing. However, many struggling readers continue to encounter reading difficulties throughout their school years and some continue to struggle with reading in adulthood.
Learning to read is the acquisition and practice of the skills necessary to understand meaning of the printed words. The process of learning to read builds on cognitive, linguistic, and social skills developed from a very early age.
Why children struggle in reading: environmental factors
There are both environmental and within-child reasons for reading difficulties. Environmental factors can be related to poor parental literacy skills or the low standard of the educational system or teacher training in the home country.
Why children struggle in reading: within-child related factors
There are both environmental and within-child related factors for reading difficulties. Within-child related factors might include a child's poor language development or a lack of interest. Reasons could also differ according to different orthographies and different geographical contexts.
How to help children with word reading difficulties
It is very important that the teacher understands principles of effective instruction and how to help children who have problems already in word-level reading. Here we describe the principles and methods for effective interventions for these children.
Continuous observation in the classroom and assessment of the development of reading skills are the basis for identifying and helping children who are slower learning to read and who may need extra support from the teacher.