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2 Things A Reluctant & Struggling Reader Have In Common?

Updated: Jun 15, 2022

2 Things A Reluctant & Struggling Reader Have In Common?


Is your child a reluctant or a struggling reader?

When children have reading challenges, they are lumped into one category—Struggling Reader.

Yet, when a child has difficulty reading books, there are a variety of reasons why he or she may struggle to do so. A few of these reasons could be that the child may have difficulties sounding out words. He or she may not be able to retain what is being read, and/or have an inability to identify rhyming words. On the other hand, your child may be able to read but refused to do so.

There are many reasons why children may have challenges with reading. So, I will simplify these challenges into two categories:


1. The Reluctant reader

2. The Struggling reader


One often hears the term ‘reluctant reader’ and ‘struggling reader’. Is there a difference between these terms?


The Reluctant Reader


A reluctant reader is a child who can read but won’t. This child can read but may refuse to do so by clowning around or misbehaving when asked to read. The reluctant reader may become frustrated during reading or need to be persuaded to pick up a book. Reluctant readers do not read for pleasure. Reluctant readers do not see reading as a fun activity. Many reluctant readers might prefer to go outside to play, watch T.V., YouTube, or play video games.


Why are these readers Reluctant?


Before we can try to motivate the reluctant child to read, we must first, identify why the child refuses to read. Children may express hesitancy toward reading for a variety of reasons, a few of these reasons may be:

  • they find reading boring or the reading material presented to them disinteresting.

  • they have a poor attention span and thus have trouble connecting with books.

  • they do not recognize the benefits of reading.


Should you be concerned for a Reluctant reader?


The list of reasons why a reluctant reader refuses to read can go on and on. Yet, it is important to be aware of why the child refuses to read and to motivate him/her to do so. If a child who can read, stops reading, then he/she will face further challenges in their ability to learn. Reading allows children to increase their vocabulary and helps them to express thoughts and ideas in speech and writing. If a reluctant reader continues to stop reading, he or she will face difficulty understanding more challenging text.




The Struggling Reader


A struggling reader is a child who experiences difficulties learning to read. A struggling reader may have challenges in learning how to read due to:

  • speech and language problems,

  • specific learning difficulties,

  • English as a second language acquired at a later age,

  • poor reading instruction when he or she was learning to read;

  • or a combination of the above.

Struggling readers are different from reluctant readers, but many may also be reluctant readers. This is because they find reading difficult and frustrating, which leads to them refusing to learn.


How to Spot a Struggling Reader?


Struggling readers can be very good at covering up their weaknesses so that their reading challenges may not be so obvious. Since reading is a struggle, it could become the reader's greatest source of embarrassment and fear. Thus, your struggling reader may develop many cover-up strategies that can or make his or her challenges difficult to spot. Observe your child while he or she is reading and see if you noticed any of these behaviors:

  • Trouble remembering and recognizing letters of the alphabet

  • Unable to complete familiar rhymes despite frequent repetition and practice

  • Struggling to sound out words and/or string sounds together

  • Laboring over a word despite seeing or reading it several times before

  • Guessing or making up words when reading

  • General disinterest in words and letters

  • Resisting reading aloud

  • Delayed speech

Here is a list of other subtle warning signs that your child may be a struggling reader:

  • Excuses to get out of reading: not in the mood, too hungry, too tired, will read later, etc...

  • Takes shortcuts or rushes through reading assignments

  • Takes longer than other students to complete work

  • Large verbal vocabulary but low written vocabulary

  • Difficulty staying on task when reading

  • Works harder than other students to complete reading assignments but with poor performance

  • Frequent and careless reading errors

  • Missed assignments

How to Help a Struggling Reader?


I often hear parents share their frustrations with me about supporting their struggling readers. Many parents say, “I do not know how to teach reading, I just know that I know how to read.” These sentiments may be true for many parents. Struggling readers need a structured phonics reading program. If you are a parent who does not feel comfortable with teaching phonics, you can work with your child’s teacher or hire a reading tutor.

Besides finding outside support through your child’s teacher or a private tutor. There are many things you can do at home to support your struggling reader. Struggling readers need lots of reading practice at each reading level. This will help them to develop reading fluency and confidence. Additionally, struggling readers need a variety of age-appropriate reading materials. This will help their self-esteem grow with their reading progress. Here are some practical activities you can do to support your struggling reader at home:

  • Do a nightly read aloud with picture books

  • Take frequent trips to the library

  • Encourage your child to read whatever he or she wants

  • Have a variety of types of reading materials available

  • Read school materials out loud to your child

Finally, if you need more tips on how to better support your struggling reader at home, download My “5 Tips For Helping a Struggling Reader” guide for free.


Commonalities Between the two types of readers


So, what are the two things that a reluctant and struggling reader has in common?


  1. both the reluctant and struggling reader struggles to read independently; and

  2. both need a committed and dedicated reading tutor to help them.

My name is Monique the Unique online reading tutor. It is my life's goal to transform struggling and reluctant readers into avid and lifelong readers.


If you need support for your struggling or reluctant elementary reader, sign-up for a FREE READING ASSESSMENT!



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