How Teachers Can Rewire a Struggling Reader’s Brain


Reading plays a crucial role in a child’s education, and a struggling reader can face significant setbacks throughout their academic journey. To help these students, teachers must understand the importance of rewiring the brain through targeted, engaging instruction. The process of rewiring the brain requires consistent intervention by skilled educators and regular practice by students. Here are some strategies for teachers to assist struggling readers and promote success in their classrooms.

1. Identifying Struggling Readers:

The initial step in improving reading skills is to identify which students are struggling. These children may exhibit signs such as poor comprehension, lack of motivation, slow reading pace, or avoidance of reading tasks. Teachers should work closely with parents and other professionals to identify these students early on and provide targeted support.

2. Implement a Multi-sensory Approach:

A multi-sensory approach uses multiple pathways to engage different parts of the brain and strengthen connections within those areas responsible for reading skills. By incorporating visual, auditory, and kinesthetic elements into their lessons, teachers can increase comprehension and retention while enabling students’ brains to create new neural connections.

3. Targeted Practice:

To improve reading skills, it is essential to practice decoding words accurately and fluently. Teachers should provide explicit instruction in phonics, syllabication patterns, sight words, and morphology while making time for daily guided reading practice that allows struggling readers to apply these critical skills.

4. Build Vocabulary and Language Skills:

A strong vocabulary improves reading comprehension by helping children understand the meaning behind the text they encounter. Teachers should encourage an ongoing exploration of language by introducing new words regularly and discussing their meanings in context.

5. Encourage a Growth Mindset:

A growth mindset emphasizes effort over innate talent, suggesting that improvement comes from persistence rather than inherent ability alone. Encouraging students who struggle with reading to believe that they can develop their abilities can help motivate them to keep working towards fluency.

6. Provide Engaging, Age-Appropriate Materials:

One of the most significant challenges for struggling readers is keeping their interest in age-appropriate materials while simultaneously accommodating their slower reading pace. Teachers should carefully select engaging, high-quality literature that matches the intellectual and emotional maturity levels of students.

7. Leverage Technology:

Technology can be an extraordinary resource for teachers looking for innovative approaches to rewiring struggling readers’ brains. Many digital tools and apps are designed to target specific reading challenges or utilize captivating formats that maintain students’ engagement and motivation levels.


Helping a struggling reader rewire their brain is an ongoing process that requires patience, perseverance, and targeted support from skilled educators. By using a multi-sensory approach, building vocabulary and language skills, providing practice opportunities, and encouraging a growth mindset, teachers can break down the barriers that hold struggling readers back and contribute to their academic success. Ultimately, every child has the potential to become a successful reader with the right guidance and tools.

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