Schools are pushing for a certain number of words read per minute, and it can be intimidating for lots of kids.  If your child is struggling meeting this goal, or appears to be a slower than average reader, there are a few reasons this might be happening. 

  • The selection is too hard.  This typically happens during a testing cycle at school where all the kids in a specific grade are tested on the same passage.  If the passage is beyond your child’s current reading ability, of course the rate at which they read will be affected.
  • Consider the content.  They could be unfamiliar with the content of the selection.  If they are reading about something they are not familiar with, the natural result is to slow down to increase understanding.
  • Anxiety?  Have they had trouble with reading, resulting in anxiety when they are asked to do so, especially reading aloud? 
  • Slow processing?  Kids that have slow processing need more time to understand what they are reading.  They naturally need more time for the comprehension piece.
  • Is focus an issue?  Being easily distracted, especially in a very busy classroom, can affect reading rate.  Consider, too, that what they are reading may be causing the distraction:  If they are very interested in the story, they may start to imagine a scenario, slowing them down,
  • Are reading errors slowing them down?  If your child makes errors and goes back and corrects them, that’s a good thing.  However, if the errors are so plentiful that they are not efficient readers, that needs to be addressed.

See “Developing Reading Rate:  Tips for Home” for ideas to help your child’s reading rate.    

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