Literacy scores have plummeted, and many struggling readers don’t qualify for special services, but supports can improve reading skills.

How to support reluctant readers with literacy strategies

Literacy scores have plummeted, and many students don’t qualify for special services, but simple supports can improve reading skills for everyone

Literacy is the foundation upon which all learning is built. Without strong reading skills, students will struggle as they progress through their education. This need is non-negotiable and becomes even more urgent in light of the nation’s latest–and first post-pandemic–reading scores, which have seen their biggest drop since 1990.

Nearly two-thirds of students from grades four through 12 aren’t considered proficient readers for their grade level, and these numbers are trending in the wrong direction. As troubling as this news is, more alarming is the fact that a certain group of students is consistently left out of efforts to support targeted literacy instruction.

Students who have an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP), as well as those from Title I schools, typically receive special attention and services. However, many students from schools that aren’t designated for Title I support and who haven’t been diagnosed with a learning disability struggle with reading as well.

These students are on the cusp of grasping essential literacy skills—decoding, fluency, reading comprehension and vocabulary growth—but they need an extra boost to get them over the hump. Yet, because their skills gaps aren’t significant enough to stand out, and because under-resourced educators are busy focusing so much attention on those students with the most severe needs, they often fly under the radar.

Want to share a great resource? Let us know at