Teaching Reading to Older Kids Who Have Learning Disabilities

Learning disabled students struggle with math and reading, but socially they can be as developed as their classmates. Age appropriate settings and methods help older students who struggle with learning disabilities to acquire the math and reading skills they lack.

Find available tutors

Techniques for teaching older kids to overcome their reading disabilities enables students to learn in an environment appropriate to their age and social development. Students who progress in reading at a normal rate can read most of the words in their daily vocabulary by 4th or 5th grade. After that, new words come at the rate of several thousand new words per year, primarily through reading. Most older readers who suffer learning disabilities are exposed to more spoken words than they can read. Older students have to overcome a huge vocabulary deficit before they can get beyond the 5th grade reading level. The following are three common areas where older reading-disabled students tend to struggle, along with methods employed to teach them what they need to excel beyond the limits of their disability.

Sound-symbol correspondences

Short vowels usually occur before one or more consonants when in closed syllables. Students can be taught to read the syllables and then to spell them in longer, age-appropriate vocabulary. Once they have six or seven syllable types under their belts, students can chunk sequences of letters together, recognize them visually as a unit and understand spelling patterns. As syllable recognition develops, students can learn more about prefixes, root words and suffixes, to the point where they can link meaning with the spelling components of the new words they encounter.

Word retrieval

Some learning-disabled readers struggle with word retrieval. That means they don't develop word sufficient word recognition. Quick speed drills can develop automatic recognition of syllables and words and phrases. In one drill, a student will read several lines of easily confused syllables, such as pre, pro and per. Other methods include taking turns with a passage in a group setting, reading along with a tape-recording, reading an assigned part in of a play and rereading familiar text.


Teachers use new words as often as possible in classroom conversation and reward students for noticing, or if the student uses the word outside of class. Students are taught to use context, root words, word origins to figure out word meanings. In the best case, word study will linked to class subjects.

Did you find this useful? If so, please let others know!

Other Articles You May Be Interested In

  • More Blog Articles
    Can Reading Bridge Racial, Socioeconomic Gaps?

    Study after study shows the achievement gap in education between students of different cultures and economic backgrounds. Recently, two New Jersey schools successfully used literature to show students how 'the other half lives'. Can this experiment be a model for other schools to use books to bridge racial and socioeconomic...

  • More Blog Articles
    New Mexico Governor Looks to Improve Reading Skills

    Is local government intervention necessary to improve proficiency in reading? It could be when your state is nearly dead last in education. Such could be the motivation behind a new bill proposed by the governor of New Mexico, a bill that calls for funding a new reading initiative. Does this $17 million proposal have a chance of...

We Found 7 Tutors You Might Be Interested In

Huntington Learning

  • What Huntington Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • One on one tutoring
  • Every Huntington tutor is certified and trained extensively on the most effective teaching methods
In-Center and Online


  • What K12 offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Has a strong and effective partnership with public and private schools
  • AdvancED-accredited corporation meeting the highest standards of educational management
Online Only

Kaplan Kids

  • What Kaplan Kids offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Customized learning plans
  • Real-Time Progress Reports track your child's progress
Online Only


  • What Kumon offers:
  • In-center tutoring
  • Individualized programs for your child
  • Helps your child develop the skills and study habits needed to improve their academic performance
In-Center and Online

Sylvan Learning

  • What Sylvan Learning offers:
  • Online and in-center tutoring
  • Sylvan tutors are certified teachers who provide personalized instruction
  • Regular assessment and progress reports
In-Home, In-Center and Online

Tutor Doctor

  • What Tutor Doctor offers:
  • In-Home tutoring
  • One on one attention by the tutor
  • Develops personlized programs by working with your child's existing homework
In-Home Only


  • What TutorVista offers:
  • Online tutoring
  • Student works one-on-one with a professional tutor
  • Using the virtual whiteboard workspace to share problems, solutions and explanations
Online Only

Our Commitment to You

  • Free Help from Teachers

  • Free Learning Materials

  • Helping Disadvantaged Youth