Adolescents who don’t go swimming won’t become good swimmers.

Just as swimming is learned by swimming, reading is learned by reading. I will never be a good swimmer. I can’t swim well so I don’t enjoy it and rarely go swimming. Do you think I will improve?

If adolescents can’t read quickly and with comprehension, then they won’t choose to read for pleasure which is what builds reading excellence.

These characteristics of adolescents make it more difficult for them to seek help:

• Unwilling to admit they have a problem
• Perception that the task is too difficult for them
• Accept their poor reading skills and devise other ways to cope
• Hanging out with friends is more important – reading is solitary

One of the biggest misconceptions about reading is that when you can read, you can read. But even the most accomplished readers are illiterate (unable to read) any material to which they cannot bring some background of experience, some frame of reference. The second myth is that teaching reading is the work of primary teachers. All teachers must be teachers of reading. Teachers in upper grades need to show students how to read more quickly and must provide lots of background understanding of a subject before expecting students to read about it on their own.

Adolescents with reading difficulties fall into two general categories. The first are those who read so slowly and carefully that they can’t get meaning and become discouraged. Second, are those readers who decode quite well but panic on big words, wild guess, carry on, and fail to make sense. Both groups are focused on sounding out words, not on making meaning.

When an adolescent is reading poorly, both student and parents are carrying a huge load of emotional baggage built up from several years of strain, struggle and frustration. Nagging will not help. The Making Sense Approach to Reading shows parents, and other reading coaches, how to free adolescent minds so they can read quickly and with comprehension. An added benefit; it is all accomplished simply, enjoyably and without pressure. Learn more at

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