Skip to main content
illustration of young girl struggling with reading and writing

9 Reasons Why Kids Struggle with Reading

From difficulty recognizing the individual sounds in spoken words to developing and maintaining the motivation to read, here are the most common reasons why children can struggle with reading.

There are many factors that can make it hard for children to learn to read. Here are the most common reasons:

1. Difficulty remembering the alphabet (letter names and sounds) accurately and quickly.   

2. Difficulty recognizing the individual sounds in spoken words (phonemes). The ability to recognize and play with speech sounds is called phonemic awareness.

3. Difficulty sounding out written words (decoding) and recognizing familiar word parts.

4. Difficulty understanding what is being read. Limited vocabulary and background knowledge contribute to lower levels of reading comprehension.

5. Limited English language skills.

6. Limited experience with print and books.

7. Difficulty developing and maintaining the motivation to read.

8. Classroom reading instruction that is not evidence-based, explicit, and systematic. 

9. Instruction that doesn’t meet an individual child’s needs. For example, a child with dyslexia may need additional step-by-step explicit instruction, provided in a carefully planned sequence.

Being at risk doesn’t mean that a child is destined to struggle with reading, but it does indicate that they may need especially close monitoring and early intervention to prevent ongoing reading difficulties. 

That’s where involved parents and good teachers come in!