Understanding why kids struggle with reading

By Gretchen Vierstra, MA

The process of learning to read isn’t easy. When kids struggle with reading, it doesn’t mean they’re not smart. It also doesn’t mean they’re lazy. In fact, kids who have trouble reading are often trying as hard as they can. 

Some kids just need more time and practice than others to learn reading skills. Others need extra help and support to get there.

When young kids are “behind” in their reading skills, consider their age. Not all kids develop at the same pace. And the differences can be even greater for kids who are young for their grade. 

You can also look at how they’re being taught to read. If they’re not getting the type of instruction they need, it can have an impact on how fast they learn and how well they read.

Another possible factor is heredity. Reading difficulties often run in families. 

Some kids learn and think differently, and those differences can cause trouble with reading. This includes a common learning difference called dyslexia.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Gretchen Vierstra, MA is a senior editor at Understood and co-host of the 

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Bob Cunningham, EdM serves as executive director of learning development at Understood.