19 Practical Tips to Homeschool Kids With a Reading Problem

As a parent, you want to do everything in your power to help your child succeed. If your child is struggling with reading, you may be wondering if homeschooling is the right solution.

shelves with homeschooling books and notebooks
shelves with homeschooling books and notebooks

You will make mistakes as a homeschooling parent, but don’t question your abilities! Most of the time, reading difficulties can be overcome by making a few tweaks to your instructional strategies.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how homeschooling can help a child with a reading problem and offer some tips for getting started. So read on to learn more!

What Causes Reading Difficulties?

Reading difficulties can have a variety of causes. One common cause is simply a lack of practice.

If children do not read regularly, they may have difficulty understanding text when they try to read on their own. This is why it is so important for parents to encourage their children to read often.

However, there are plenty of other issues that can lead to reading difficulties, too.

Reading Disabilities (Learning Disabilities)

Reading disabilities, or learning disabilities, can manifest in a number of ways. Some common symptoms include difficulty with word decoding, trouble with reading comprehension, and an inability to read accurately and fluently.

These difficulties can make it hard for students to keep up with their classmates, and they often fall behind in school.

While the cause of reading disabilities is not fully understood, they are believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

However, there are a number of effective interventions that can help students overcome their reading difficulties.

With early diagnosis and proper support, students with reading disabilities can learn to read successfully.

Some of the most common reading disabilities are as follows:

1. Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a common learning disability that can impact reading, writing, and spelling skills. It is thought to be caused by a difference in the way the brain processes information.

Dyslexia can run in families, and it is estimated that as many as 1 in 5 people have some form of dyslexia.

Symptoms of dyslexia can vary from mild to severe, and they may not be immediately apparent.

However, some common signs of dyslexia include difficulty with phonemic awareness, phonology, and word decoding.

Dyslexia can make it hard for individuals to read accurately and fluently, and they may also have trouble with spelling and writing.

While there is no cure for dyslexia, early intervention and accommodations can help individuals to succeed in school and in life.

2. Auditory Processing Disorder (ADP)

As anyone who has ever tried to have a conversation in a noisy room can attest, the human brain is remarkably good at filtering out background noise and focusing on the sound that is most important.

However, for some people, this process does not always work correctly.

Auditory processing disorder (APD) is a condition that affects the way the brain interprets sound.

People with APD may have difficulty understanding speech, distinguishing between similar-sounding words, or rememberING what they have heard.

The condition can make it difficult to learn new information and follow directions.

3. Language Processing Disorder

Language Processing Disorder (LPD) is a neurological disorder that affects a person’s ability to process and understand language.

It can impact both spoken and written language, and can make it difficult for someone to follow instructions, carry on a conversation, or remember new information.

While LPD can occur in anyone, it is more common in people who have a family history of the disorder.

There is no cure for LPD, but there are various therapies and interventions that can help people manage the condition.

With early diagnosis and treatment, people with LPD can learn to communicate effectively and lead full, successful lives.

4. Non-Verbal Learning Disabilities

Language Processing Disorder (LPD) is a neurological disorder that affects the ability to process, store, and retrieve information from memory.

People with LPD often have difficulty understanding and using spoken language. They may also have difficulty with reading, writing, and other language-related skills.

Many people with LPD also have Nonverbal Learning Disabilities (NLD).

NLD is a neurological disorder that affects the ability to understand and use nonverbal communication.

People with NLD often have difficulty with social skills, such as reading facial expressions and body language.

They may also have difficulty with motor skills, such as coordination and balance. Although LPD and NLD are two different disorders, they often occur together.

Together, these disorders can make everyday communication and learning very challenging, particularly in the area of reading.

5. Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit

A Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit (VP/VMD) is a neurological disorder that affects the way in which information from the eyes is processed by the brain.

People with VP/VMD often have difficulty with tasks that require them to interpret what they see and to coordinate their hand movements accordingly.

For example, they may struggle with activities such as drawing, cutting with scissors, or catching a ball.

VP/VMD can also impact reading and writing skills. While VP/VMD can be diagnosed at any age, it is most commonly diagnosed in early childhood.

Early intervention is essential for children with VP/VMD, as they can benefit greatly from specialized therapies and accommodations.


Though not necessarily a direct reading-related disability, ADHD can make it hard to focus on the task at hand.

ADHD can lead to problems with attention and focus, making it difficult for children to stay on task long enough to complete a reading assignment.

Additionally, ADHD can impact working memory, making it hard for children to remember what they have read.

Poor Vision or Hearing

Before you start wondering whether your child has a reading difficulty or a reading/learning disability, make sure that reading is actually the problem.

Poor vision can make it difficult to distinguish between letters, while poor hearing can make it hard to follow along with a story.

Lack of Interest

While there are a number of reasons why a child may struggle with reading, one of the most common is a lack of interest in reading.

When children are not interested in what they are reading, they are less likely to pay attention and more likely to make mistakes.

This can lead to frustration and a feeling of failure, which can further discourage a child from wanting to read.

However, there are a number of ways to overcome this obstacle.

By finding books that relate to a child’s interests, providing opportunities for them to read aloud, and encouraging them to read with expression, we can help foster a love of reading in even the most reluctant reader.

Lack of Tailored Instruction

Some students struggle with reading due to a lack of tailored instruction. One-size-fits-all approaches simply don’t work for everyone.

Some students need extra help with phonics, while others benefit from more focused attention on vocabulary and comprehension.

Without the right mix of instruction, students can easily become frustrated and discouraged.

Signs That Your Child Has a Reading Problem

Every parent wants their child to succeed in school, and reading is an essential part of that success.

However, many children struggle with reading, and it can be difficult to determine if your child is simply behind their classmates or if they have a more serious problem. There are a few telltale signs that your child may have a reading problem.

First, they may avoid reading altogether, or they may read very slowly.

In addition, they may have difficulty understanding what they read, or they may struggle to pronounce words correctly.

If your child is struggling to sound out words or frequently makes errors when reading aloud, it may be an indication that they are having difficulty with phonemic awareness.

Additionally, if your child seems to be losing interest in reading, it could be a sign of a more general comprehension problem.

If your child is showing any of these signs, it is important to seek help from a qualified tutor or educational therapist.

With the right support, your child can overcome their reading difficulties and reach their full potential.

toys and books on bookshelves in homeschooling classroom
toys and books on bookshelves in homeschooling classroom

How Do You Homeschool a Struggling Reader?

As the parent of a struggling reader, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start.

Homeschooling your child can be a daunting task, but it is important to remember that you are not alone.

There are many resources and strategies available to help you support your child’s reading development.

1. Pinpoint the Basic Reading Skills

Start by assessing your child’s strengths and weaknesses. Once you know what areas need improvement, you can create a customized reading program that targets those specific skills.

These are the key areas of reading that you will likely need to address:

Phonological and Phonemic Awareness

Phonological awareness is the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate the sounds in spoken language.

This includes being able to hear and identify the different phonemes, or units of sound, in a word.

It also includes being able to identify words that rhyme and being able to break a word down into its individual sounds, or phonemes.

Phonemic awareness is a specific type of phonological awareness that focuses on the smallest units of sound in spoken language.

This includes being able to identify and manipulate the individual phonemes in a word. For example, the word “cat” has three phonemes: /k/, /æ/, and /t/.

A child with phonemic awareness would be able to identify these three sounds and manipulate them to create new words, such as “bat” or “hat”.

Phonemic awareness is an important skill for children to develop as it lays the foundation for learning to read and spell.


When you’re reading, you’re actually doing a lot more than just looking at words on a page.

You’re also deciphering the meaning of those words and making connections to prior knowledge. This process is known as decoding, and it’s a fundamental skill for all readers.

The ability to decode effectively can be impacted by a variety of factors, including vocabulary knowledge and background information.

For example, if you come across a word that you don’t know, you’ll likely have trouble understanding the rest of the sentence.

However, if you know the definition of the word and can make context clues, you’ll be able to decode the text more easily.

Similarly, if you have prior knowledge about the subject matter, you’ll be able to better understand what you’re reading. By understanding how decoding works, you can become a more effective reader.


Reading fluency is the ability to read text accurately, smoothly, and with expression. This important skill allows readers to focus on comprehension rather than decoding words.

When readers are fluent, they can automatically recognize words, which frees up mental energy to visualize the story, make inferences, and understand the author’s message.

There are several strategies that can be used to help develop reading fluency, such as reading aloud, using echo reading or choral reading, and practicing with a partner. Timed readings are also an effective way to build fluency.

Vocabulary Development

When teaching reading, vocabulary development is key. By exposing students to a variety of words and concepts, they can learn new ways to think about and discuss the world around them.

Furthermore, a strong vocabulary can help students better understand what they read, both in terms of content and grammar.

Finally, a wide range of words can also make writing more interesting and effective.

In short, vocabulary development is an essential part of teaching reading, and there are a variety of ways to encourage it in the classroom.

Through games, activities, and close reading, students can expand their knowledge of the English language and become more confident readers and writers.


Reading comprehension is the ability to process text, understand its meaning, and to integrate with what the reader already knows.

  • Offline, reading comprehension occurs when we read silently or aloud.
  • Online, it happens when we read digital texts on a screen.

Good reading comprehension requires both the ability to decode (to read the words on the page) and the ability to comprehend or understand the text.

It’s important to remember that decoding happens first; if a child cannot read the words accurately, they will have great difficulty understanding what they are reading.

When we talk about increasing a child’s reading level, we are usually referring to their comprehension level – that is, their ability to understand what they are reading.

2. Check Your Timing – Is Your Child Ready to Read?

There is no one answer to the question of when a child is ready to learn to read.

Some children show an early interest in books and begin to identify letters and words at a young age, while others take a more gradual approach.

However, there are some general guidelines that can help parents know if their child is ready to start reading instruction.

Most experts agree that children who are beginning to show an interest in books and who can recognize some basic shapes and colors are usually ready to start learning to read.

Additionally, children who can sit still for short periods of time and who are able to follow simple instructions are typically ready to start receiving reading instruction.

If you are unsure if your child is ready to learn to read, it is always best to consult with your child’s doctor.

They will be able to give you specific guidance based on your child’s individual development.

3. Set Realistic Goals – WITH Your Child

When it comes to teaching your child how to read, setting realistic goals is important. If you set the bar too high, your child may become frustrated and give up.

On the other hand, if you set the goals too low, your child may become bored and lose interest.

So how can you strike the right balance? One way to do this is to start by assessing your child’s current reading level.

Once you have a better sense of their abilities and interests, you can begin to set goals that are both challenging and achievable.

Another tip is to break down the goal into smaller, more manageable steps. For instance, rather than asking your child to read an entire chapter book in one sitting, you can instead set a goal of reading one chapter per day.

By taking things slowly and breaking the goal down into manageable pieces, you can help your child achieve success while avoiding frustration.

4. Don’t Force Speed

When it comes to teaching children how to read, there is no need to rush.

Learning to read is a complex process that requires the development of many different skills, and forcing a child to read quickly can actually interfere with their progress.

Instead of focusing on speed, it is more important to help children build confidence and fluency.

This can be done by reading aloud together, providing plenty of opportunity for practice, and encouraging them to read at their own pace.

With time and patience, your child will develop the skills they need to become a proficient reader. And once they have a solid foundation, they will be able to pick up speed naturally.

5. Play With Letter Sounds

When teaching a child how to read, it is important to focus on letter sounds. By breaking down words into their individual sounds, children can more easily understand the structure of language.

In addition, letter sounds can be used to build simple words, which can help your child develop an early reading foundation.

There are a variety of ways to play with letter sounds, such as making up nonsense words or inventing new words that rhyme.

You can also use letter sounds to create simple sentences, which will help your child understand the basic rules of grammar.

By teaching your child the importance of letter sounds, you can help them develop the skills they need to become successful readers.

6. Teach By Example

A parent’s ability (and willingness) to read has a direct correlation to their child’s future success in reading.

Furthermore, a parent that models reading at home is much more likely to have a child that will excel in school and beyond.

Parental engagement in a child’s education has been shown to be one of the most important predictors of academic achievement.

When a parent takes the time to read with their child, it not only improves the child’s reading skills, but also fosters a love of learning.

In addition, reading aloud to children exposes them to a wide variety of words and helps to develop their vocabulary.

Studies have shown that children who are read to regularly beginning at an early age are more likely to score higher on tests of reading comprehension later in life.

Therefore, it is clear that when teaching children how to read, parents should lead by example.

7. Work on Short Vowels First

Focus on short vowels first. These are the easiest type of vowel sound for children to identify and produce.

Once they have mastered short vowels, they can move on to longer vowel sounds.

Many reading programs start with the letter “a” and move on to the other short vowel letters in order. This helps children to build confidence and become proficient readers more quickly.

In addition, once they have mastered the short vowel sounds, they will be better able to identify and produce the longer vowel sounds. As a result, they will be better able to read words correctly and fluently.

8. Repetition is Key

Encourage them to read aloud to you on a regular basis, and praise their efforts even when they make mistakes.

It is also important to provide opportunities for them to practice their reading skills in real-world situations. Have them read signs, menus, and grocery lists out loud.

Help them build confidence by letting them choose their own books and material whenever possible.

9. Focus on Phonics and Phonemic Awareness

When it comes to teaching a child how to read, there are two key concepts that should be emphasized: phonics and phonemic awareness.

Children who have strong phonemic awareness skills are better able to break words down into their individual sounds, which makes learning to read much easier.

10. Sound Things Out

Sound things out together. This helps them to understand the relationship between letters and sounds, and it also allows them to practice their phonemic awareness skills.

By sounding out words together, you can help your child to develop this important skill.

In addition, sounding out words together can also help to build your child’s confidence and motivation.

When they see that they are able to read words on their own, they will be more likely to want to continue reading. So don’t be afraid to make a little noise when you’re teaching your child how to read!

11. Work on Rhyming

Working on rhyming can be a helpful way to phonetically break down words. By finding words that rhyme with the original word, the child can begin to sound out the word and break it down into its individual parts.

For example, if a child is having trouble reading the word “cat”, you could find words that rhyme with it such as “bat”, “rat”, or “hat”.

This can help the child to see that the word is made up of smaller chunks, such as “c-a-t”, which can then be sounded out more easily.

Additionally, working on rhyming can also help to build the child’s vocabulary by exposing them to new words.

12. Make a Word Wall

A word wall is an excellent tool for teaching children how to read. By creating a word wall, you provide a visual reference for your child that they can refer to as they learn to sound out words.

As your child becomes more proficient at reading, they can use the word wall to identify words that they don’t know how to read.

This will help them to build their vocabulary and improve their reading comprehension. In addition, a word wall can also be used as a teaching tool for spelling.

As your child learns to spell words, they can add them to the word wall so that they have a reference for future spelling tests. By creating a word wall, you can help your child to become a better reader and speller.

13. Try a Multisensory Approach

It is widely accepted that children learn best when they are able to engage all of their senses. This is especially true when it comes to learning how to read.

A multisensory approach to reading instruction can help children to connect the different pieces of information they are learning, and ultimately make the process of learning to read more effective and enjoyable.

Some of the ways that a multisensory approach can be used when teaching reading include using manipulatives to help with letter recognition.

Having children trace letters in sand or shaving cream, and using music and movement to help kids remember the order of the alphabet.

By engaging all of their senses, children will be better able to learn the skills they need to become successful readers.

14. Find Books That Interest Your Child

One of the most important things you can do is to create a positive and supportive environment at home.

Make sure that your child has access to plenty of books that interest them. Consider using audiobooks or read-alongs to help them follow along with the story.

15. Pick Books Just Below Your Child’s Current Reading Level to Build Confidence

It is important to choose the right books to help your child build confidence and progress. Books that are just below your child’s current reading level are ideal.

They will provide enough of a challenge to keep your child engaged, but not so much that they become discouraged.

In addition, these books will help to build your child’s confidence by providing a sense of accomplishment.

As your child begins to master the material, you can gradually increase the difficulty level.

16. Try Not to Make Book Time Feel Like Schooling – Change Things Up!

Book time doesn’t have to feel like schooling. In fact, mixing things up a bit can actually make it more fun for both you and your child. One way to do this is to let your child choose the book.

This way they are more likely to be interested in what they are reading.

You can also try reading in different places. Take the book outside and read under a tree, or snuggle up in bed together with a flashlight.

And don’t forget to make use of all the different voices you can use when reading aloud – it will really bring the book to life!

By making a few simple changes, you can help your child enjoy book time – and maybe even look forward to it.

17. Read Aloud and Read Often

There are two simple things that parents can do to help their child learn to read: read aloud to them every day, and have plenty of books around the house for them to read on their own.

Research has shown that children who are read to daily develop stronger reading skills than those who are not.

And when children have easy access to books, they are more likely to choose reading as a pastime, which further helps to improve their reading skills.

So if you want your child to be a successful reader, make sure you read aloud to them regularly and keep plenty of books within reach.

18. Work on Visualization

When you are teaching a child how to read, it is important to work on visualization. This means helping the child to form mental pictures of the words and phrases they are reading.

This can be done by having the child close their eyes and imagine the scene being described in the text. Alternatively, you can provide visual aids such as illustrations or photographs.

By working on visualization, you will help the child to better understand and remember the text. Additionally, this skill will also be useful in other areas of learning, such as math and science.

19. Try Online Games and Resources

When it comes to teaching children how to read, there are a variety of online games and resources that can be extremely helpful.

One great example is Reading Eggs, an interactive program that helps children develop phonemic awareness, learn the letters of the alphabet, and become confident readers.

The program features a variety of engaging activities, such as puzzles, songs, and animation. Best of all, it’s adaptable to each child’s individual needs and abilities.

Another great option is Starfall, a website that offers a wide range of games and activities specifically designed to help teach young children how to read.

Through play-based learning, children progress at their own pace while developing important reading skills.

With so many great options available online, there’s no excuse not to give your child a head start on reading!

Read to Learn vs. Learn to Read

The age-old debate of whether it is better to read to learn or learn to read has been around for years.

On one side, there are those who believe that reading is the best way to learn. This method allows you to explore new topics at your own pace and discover information that you may be interested in.

In addition, reading provides a chance to practice critical thinking skills and develop your own interpretation of the material.

However, there are also those who believe that learning to read is more important. This argument states that being able to read gives you access to a world of knowledge.

It also allows you to communicate with others and understand what is happening around you.

In the end, there is no right or wrong answer. It is up to each person to decide which method works best for them.

When you are teaching your child how to read, it’s important that you strike a healthy balance between both realms.

Overcoming Reading Difficulties: Individualization is Key

One size does not fit all when it comes to reading instruction. Just as each student is unique, so too are the challenges they face when learning to read.

Some students may struggle with sounding out words, while others may have trouble understanding what they read. Still others may find it difficult to read fluently or develop necessary reading stamina.

The good news is that there are a variety of strategies and programs available to help students overcome these challenges.

By working with a qualified reading specialist, students can receive the individualized instruction they need to succeed. In many cases, just a few hours of targeted intervention can make a big difference.

With the right support, even the most struggling reader can learn to become a confident and proficient reader.

If you have a child who is struggling with reading, don’t despair. There are many things you can do to help him or her become a successful reader.

Try some of the tips we’ve shared in this article, and be sure to seek out additional resources to help your child succeed.

With a little hard work and dedication on your part, your child will be reading like a pro in no time!

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