Help for Struggling Young Readers

Struggling Readers 

  • Understanding the Struggling Reader
  • Testing Struggling Readers
  • Solution
  • Results

Understanding the Struggling Reader 

Struggling readers in fourth and fifth grades, middle school, and high school students, can become talented authors, musicians, artists, or product designers for major corporations. Their imagination is more powerful than what they are reading in books. It is difficult to keep imaginative minds interested. 

By middle school, struggling readers have avoided books for three to five years. In high school, the student has seven to ten years practice of avoiding books. 

This causes many problems. 

~ No motivation to read. 

~ No confidence in reading. 

~ No patience to read. 

~ The student does not see the purpose, or value in reading. 

~ Will not participate in reading activities. 

~ Negative thinking whenever reading is mentioned. 

Testing Struggling Readers 

The more you single out, diagnose, test, tutor, evaluate, and take personal time away from a middle school, or high school student, the more that student will rebel against reading. 

In middle school and high school reading teachers want to focus on the content of books, not teaching how to read books. A teacher with a class time of fifty minutes and a class size of thirty students must stick with the curriculum. (We totally agree and support this.) 


~ Offer books that both struggling and advanced readers can read with interest. 

~ Books with one to four page chapters. The reader will have a sense of accomplishment, which will increase their confidence.

 ~ Short paragraphs, which will enhance the intensity of the book, while building even more confidence in the reader. 

~ Character driven books. This means the story is being told by several different characters that will relate to the reader, which boosts interest. 

~ Character driven books have shortened descriptions and more dialogue. This has two positive impacts: Builds up interest through the eyes of the character and increases the speed of the book. 

~ The first and last line of each chapter is a power sentence, used to hook the reader. There should also be power sentences during each chapter to re-hook the reader throughout the story. 

~ Section breaks to end one part of the story and entice the reader to the next part of the story. 

~ The book should sound interesting when read aloud, because of the character driven stories. 

~ The author should write in “short burst” sessions. This means, the author spends one to three hours a day writing, instead of longer eight hour writing sessions. By doing this, the story has a “short burst” feel. 

To summarize, a reader will begin a book thinking they are starting with “A,” which is the beginning of the story, then subconsciously thinking they need to reach “Z”, which is the end of the story. A book should read more like, “A,” to “B,” to “C,” to “D,” and continue the thrill ride to “Z.”


~ Struggling readers and advanced readers are not separated. They are reading and discussing the same books. 

~ Motivation to read. 

~ Confidence in reading. 

~ Patience to read. 

~ Purpose and value in reading. 

~ Participating in reading activities.

 ~ Positive thinking whenever reading is mentioned.

“One of my main target audiences are adults, teens, tweens, and children that do not like to read. That is an untapped market, which I used to belong.” ~ Ron Knight

Ron Knight

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