There is almost always be an underlying problem when a 9-year-old is struggling with reading. Parents and teachers should determine the reason and get specialized help so the student won't fall farther behind. Teachers and parents can employ various reading techniques to help a 9-year-old catch up. Reading techniques for a 9-year-old who is having a hard time with reading should be creative and fun so the student sees books as a pleasure instead of a chore.

Use multisensory instruction to make an impact and help the child remember what they are learning. People learn through the use of their senses by hearing, seeing, touching, saying, whole body movement and visualizing. An example of using multisensory instruction to teach reading is a method to memorize spelling words. Have the student write their spelling list on 3-inch by 5-inch cards and draw a picture on the back of the card that corresponds with the word. Use the cards to practice spelling each word out loud. Another idea is to illustrate the words with an art project using paint, ink markers, yarn or clay. Encourage creativity and have the student type a story using the spelling words and read the story out loud. A student who doesn't know how to type can dictate the story to you while you type.

Read books out loud together. Older children love being read to as much as young children. Choose popular chapter books and take turns reading a paragraph or a page out loud to each other. If the 9-year-old struggles over every word in a sentence, read the sentence for them while tracking it with their finger, and point to a word you want the child to read out loud. As time goes on the student will read more words, and eventually sentences and paragraphs. Great books to read together include "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Frindle," "The Spiderwick Series," "Harry Potter" and "Charlie Bone."

Reading out loud together will improve reading skills.
••• Jack Hollingsworth/Photodisc/Getty Images

Make up silly stories or rhymes together using the spelling words. Parents, teachers and students can work together and make up a funny story using simple words. Write the story down and then read it aloud together.

Teach the student to memorize the most commonly used words in the English language by sight. Children who are 9 years old and understand phonetic deciphering may still struggle over words, taking too long to figure them out. To avoid losing the concept of the story by reading too slow, have the student memorize basic words and say them quickly on sight. A few of the most basic and most commonly used words include why, work, because, kind, left, until, only, through, does, night, close, below, never, very, thing, answer, need, family and something. Look up more commonly used words online.

Provide books from a lower reading level with subject matter that will appeal to a 9-year-old. Nine-year-olds often do not want to read books for first-graders, so finding easy reader books that will appeal to them is important. Books that are not too long, easy to read and have an interesting story line include: "The Magic Treehouse," "The Boxcar Children," "The Mouse and the Motorcycle," "American Girl," "My Father's Dragon," "Babymouse," "Oh, The Places You'll Go," "Junie B. Jones," and "Amber Brown."

Go back to the basics and have the child learn phonics. Even if the 9-year-old has learned about phonetic reading, it may need to be taught again. Teach each letter of the alphabet and the sounds they make. Go over vowels and the sounds they make. Teach the child about blending letters to make sounds. Teach the child about syllables.

Reward children each time they read a book or a chapter. Keep a chart of the books that the 9-year-old is reading. Each book read represents points that will add up to a nice reward. Teachers and parents can also give points for chapters read in each book if a child is very slow and struggles to finish.

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