Helping Adults Learn to Read

There are many people that don’t read as well as they should for their age. Sometimes that person is an adult. When they are, this is a matter that should be handled as soon as possible. The good news is, it isn’t hard for adults to learn how to read properly and it isn’t difficult to teach them. If someone comes to you for help, there are a few simple ways that you can aid them.

Resources to Take Advantage Of

Baseline tests. Before you can begin helping someone, you’ll first need to know where their skills lie. Ask them questions about their reading and comprehension, to see what needs to be worked on and what they can already do. This can help you address only the things that need the most work.

Workbooks. There are special resources designed to help facilitate reading in adults. You can find these in stores or online, and they will cover a variety of different skills. These can include spelling, pronunciation, sentence structure, and many other aspects that can aid in the process. These workbooks are based on the ones you learn with when you’re a child, and work in much the same way.

Books. The next thing you need to acquire is books. You’ll need as many genres as possible and all reading levels. Start with basic readers and work your way up to novels and classic literature. The student needs to practice reading each day, for at least 30 minutes a day, which will grow their skills and make the whole process easier. Let them pick out a few books as well, so you know they’ll enjoy reading them.

Reading out loud. You’ll also need to practice reading out loud. This is an area that makes many people apprehensive, but it shouldn’t. Without being able to pronounce words, even if they are problem words or unfamiliar, someone probably won’t be very confident in their reading capabilities.

Discussions. Once you start reading books, it’s also advantageous to start having discussions about the things that were learned, as well as about the books that were read. This is a chance for all types of questions to be asked, and you can break down things like characters, plots, and what the reader liked or didn’t like. Discussing is a crucial part to ensure that the person learning comprehends what they are reading. If they are not, something may be wrong. They may not be taking the lessons seriously or could possibly have a learning problem.

Quizzes. This is another way to test for comprehension. You can make up quizzes or find them online. Another great way to help test what has been learned is by downloading reading apps for smart devices. These are interactive tools that are fun to use, and work well.

Classes. Even when you have done your best and followed all of these tips, someone may have a hard time grasping what you are teaching them. This is no reason to panic or feel bad. They may just need a different teacher, or feel self-conscious. If this is the case, they can take adult reading classes. They are often taught at regular schools or colleges. You can search online for the information or peruse the local paper. Sometimes these classes are free or are taught for a small fee. On the other hand, you can also take lessons online. These lessons usually consist of material that is presented in an interesting and easy to follow format.

Things to Remember

Be patient. Whether you are the teacher or the student, you may get discouraged. Remember this is a process that takes time, so don’t get upset if it doesn’t come easy. It takes a lot of studying and practice, but it can be done, even as an adult.

Don’t pressure. Don’t be too hard on someone that’s trying to learn. Do your best to remember that it couldn’t have been easy for them to not be a strong reader up until this point in their life. The important thing is that they’re trying to do better and grow their skills. Be supportive and allow them to learn at their own pace.

Keep at it. Make sure that the student knows to never stop working on it. Even when you fully know how to read, you have to keep working on it, mainly by practicing and continuing to read books, newspapers, blogs, and other material. Even when your life is quite hectic, there are times you have no choice but to read things. Consider menus, taxes, and more, all of which dictate that you have to be able to read to understand what is going on.


When you are assisting an adult who is learning how to read, your job can be as hard as theirs. They have to do a lot of work to gain mastery, and it’s up to you to do your part to make sure the whole process is interesting enough that they don’t want to give up.

To accomplish this, there are lots of materials to take advantage of. For example, there are workbooks, books, apps, classes, and other resources, all of which are available nearly everywhere, and come in a variety of different levels.

Once you figure out what aspects of reading need to be worked on, you can plan accordingly. Some people may know the alphabet and the sounds that go along with them, while others have to start from scratch.

Do all you can to make sure you’re pushing your friend to do their best and not making them feel like they aren’t good enough. If you need some guidance on how to do this then follow these steps for adult readers. You want to make sure that they want to keep reading even after you‘re done helping them, so show them how awesome reading can be. For someone that doesn’t know how to read well, being fluent allows them to open up many doors that may have been closed before. This is a great thing and can lead to better things and more opportunities.

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