Struggling readers are readers who are able to read some things, but struggle with others. They only struggle when they are “put” into books that are too hard for them or that are not interesting to them. They don’t struggle when they are reading self-selected books at their own pace and reading for their own purposes.
When they are pushed into books that are too difficult for them, they struggle. When they are bored or disinterested in the material, they struggle. When they are encountering too many unfamiliar words or unfamiliar sentence structures, they struggle. When they are made to read too long, or they are expected to read instead of doing something they would find more engaging, they struggle.
Effectively, struggling readers tend to be victims of well-intentioned efforts to push them into reading books they are not ready for.
If a child is “behind” it means in comparison with others. So long as reading is treated as a race, a competition, we will have struggling readers. So long as we have “lockstep” curriculum (exactly 180 days, where they all are required to read the same kinds of things, chosen by others) a significant portion of the children will struggle. We parents and teachers do that to them.
Provide them with abundant books that will include topics and genres from which they can select those that appeal to them, they start reading voluntarily. Encourage them to read what they love and provide time every day to read and pretty soon, you’ll have children who fuss not about reading but about being asked to stop reading.
When that happens they are well along to becoming avid readers. Avid readers are lifelong readers. Lifelong readers are lifelong learners. Lifelong learners are never behind. They are always progressing.
Photo from http://helpforstrugglingreaders.blogspot.com/2011/10/struggling-readers-why-so-many-8-9-and.html. Enjoy this and other blogs dedicated to better serving struggling readers.