Effective Teaching for Teenagers That Struggle to Read

Even when learners have mastered the basics, those that find reading challenging can experience fresh frustration as they progress through the education system. They may find it challenging to interpret more complex texts found in middle and high school. 

However, it’s not the end of the world. Research has shown us that many approaches can be used to help teenagers who struggle to read improve their reading skills. 

Let’s take a look at some strategies that can help these teenagers. Read on for more. 

Improving Decoding

Decoding is an important skill and involves translating a printed word to its sounds. Teenagers who have difficulty decoding need plenty of practice and increased teaching time to develop better reading skills. 

The best person to assist teenagers with this challenge is a reading specialist. For instance, they can focus on prefixes and suffixes so that when a teen encounters a word like ‘geometry,’ they can be taught the meaning of the ‘-metry’ suffix. 

They can then use this knowledge to make sense of the specialized words that end in that suffix, like ‘trigonometry.’ 

Expanding Vocabulary

Teenagers that struggle to read generally don’t want to read. Since they don’t read, they aren’t learning new words, contributing to a stunted and immature vocabulary, which only makes reading more difficult. It’s a vicious cycle. 

This is why teachers need to teach vocabulary words and quiz students on those words each week or as often as possible. Simultaneously, teachers should connect the new words to concepts that students are already familiar with. 

They can also provide them with opportunities to use their new words in different ways. Effective vocabulary instruction involves antonyms, synonyms, and alternate word meanings. 

Helping With Fluency

Struggling teen readers read slowly. They will often stop to sound out the words on the page and spend so much of their energy and time trying to decode words that the overall meaning of what they are reading becomes lost. 

This can naturally lead to anxiety. Teachers can read aloud regularly to demonstrate what fluent reading sounds like. This is a great technique even in middle and high school. It is also vital that teenagers are given regular opportunities to read aloud in class. 

This will allow them to practice their fluency in a controlled environment, where the teacher can correct them and read along with them to guide them.

Concluding Thoughts

Teens with reading problems need more time and practice to develop their reading skills. An effective combined approach will include the concepts mentioned above, with constant practice and patience.

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