Reading Problems in Older Students

Reading Problems in Older Students

Reading problems in older students

Reading problems in older students: Causes
There are several things to consider when evaluating reading problems in older students. In most cases, their problems would have been easier to remediate if they had been dealt with from the beginning. Some children have never learned to decode. They need systematic phonics along with a great deal of practice to develop fluency. Some children are able to decode, but they run their eyes over the text so quickly that they often misread easy words while guessing at or skipping over difficult words. As a result, they typically read two or three words wrong in every sentence and consequently have no expectation that what they read will make sense. Some children read accurately, but have difficulty with comprehension. The source of their difficulty may be limited vocabulary or poor general knowledge. In addition, they may lack the skills that allow them to summarize information, draw conclusions, make generalizations or relate information drawn from texts to their own knowledge.

Reading problems in older students: What can be done?
Reading problems in older students hinder them into adulthood, but plenty can be done to help older students become better readers. At any age, poor readers as a group exhibit weaknesses in phonological processing and word recognition speed and accuracy. At any age, when an individual’s reading comprehension is more impaired than his or her listening comprehension, inaccurate and slow word recognition is the most likely cause. To complicate matters, the older student has not practiced reading and avoids reading because reading is taxing, slow, and frustrating. They cannot read so they do not like to read. Reading is labored and unsatisfying so they have little reading experience. And because they have not read much, they are not familiar with the vocabulary, sentence structure, text organization and concepts. Over time, their comprehension skills decline because they do not read, and they also become poor spellers and poor writers.

Reading problems in older students: Solutions
There are things that can be done to help reading problems in older students. Several principles drive effective instruction in reading and language. Such instruction is intensive enough to close the ever-widening gap between poor readers and their grade-level peers as quickly as possible. Reading intervention gives older readers the skills they missed in primary grades and can bring them to grade level in one to two years. The intervention must match the students’ level of reading development, because each stage of growth requires a special focus. Very poor readers must have their phonological skills strengthened because the inability to identify speech sounds erodes spelling, word recognition, and vocabulary development. We can help your child overcome reading problems at any age. Call a local LearningRx center near you or go to

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