Quick Troubleshooting Guide for Reading

Here are some common reading difficulties faced by students and possible solutions.


Problem                              Solution(s)
Student has difficulty sounding out words (decoding)
  • Show how you would decode the word.

  • Encourage the student to break the word into familiar parts.

  • Read the words around it to see what word would fit for the unknown word.

  • Use picture cues

  • Always go back and re-read a sentence that a student has had difficulty decoding.

  • Pay attention to sight words – is the student having to sound those out?

Student reads words that are either nonsense or don’t make sense in the story.
  • Encourage the child to monitor for meaning while reading:  “Does this make sense?”

Student has trouble summarizing information read. (The student can not re-tell in their own words what happened in either part of the story or the whole story)
  • Model how you would summarize a passage.

  • Ask:  “Who were the characters?  What happened to them?  How did the story end?”

Tracking – student is unable to follow print or loses place.
  • Encourage student to use finger to keep place.

  • Give student index card to use while reading.


Fluency – student doesn’t read smoothly or with expression. (Student does not pay attention to punctuation, has difficulty with sight words.
  • Model how fluent reading would sound.

  • Talk about punctuation and what it means. 

  • Illustrate how expression during reading can add “voice” to text.



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