Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta

Reading doesn’t just show up in English class. It’s the key to story problems in math and data analysis in science. It travels with your child to the workplace, where they’ll need to read emails, instructions, company policies, and more.

Reading is a doorway to success. But what happens if your child is having trouble reading? Will they get it eventually? Or is there more going on that needs attention today?

Does Your Child Have a Reading Disorder?

Here are some indicators that your child may have a reading disorder:

  • Can read familiar words but can’t sound out new ones
  • Switches, adds, or omits sounds (ex: may read “stach” for “starch,” “brust” for “burst,” or “stomp” for “stop”)
  • Prone to guessing at new words rather than sounding them out (ex: may read “apples” for “applause)
  • Has difficulty pronouncing complex words
  • Reads slowly
  • Spells poorly (and forgets how to spell words from one day to the next)
  • Resists reading, especially reading aloud
  • Has difficulty understanding what they have read (have to reread passages to get meaning)

If your child exhibits these symptoms, they’re not alone. Roughly 15 to 20% of children have a reading disorder. And the great news is there is help through the right reading curriculum for struggling readers in Atlanta. Research has taught us a lot about how to help kids overcome reading difficulties.

Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta
Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta

Is it Dyslexia?

The symptoms above are tell-tale signs of dyslexia, which is the most well-known type of reading disorder. If you suspect that your child has dyslexia, you can have them diagnosed by an educational psychologist.

Another type of reading disorder is a comprehension difficulty, where children have trouble visualizing words and concepts and understanding what they have read. Comprehension disorders make it hard for kids to organize their thoughts (for speaking or writing), pick out the main idea, and follow a series of directions.

Reading Disorder Myths Debunked

There’s a lot of false information about reading disorders. Here are a couple of the most common myths.

Myth: Reading Disorders Are a Visual Perception Process

While some treatment centers swear by vision therapy to “fix” reading difficulties, there is no evidence to substantiate this. Reading disorders boil down to difficulty processing language, so neither colored text overlays nor special lenses will correct it.

Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta
Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta

Myth: Reading Disorders Go Away with Time

According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, of children who displayed reading difficulties in third grade, 74% still had reading difficulties at the end of high school. Children do not mature out of their reading difficulties.

Why Can’t My Child Read?

If your child struggles to read, it is not a reflection of their intelligence. Longstanding studies verify that there is not a link between dyslexia and low intelligence. Many believe that Albert Einstein had dyslexia. Stephen Hawking identified as dyslexic. So does Dr. Carol Greider, who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in 2009. One can be brilliant and have dyslexia.

There is not a link between laziness and reading disorders either. Brain scans have shown that the brains of people with reading difficulties are working just as hard during the reading process–if not harder–than the brains of those who do not have reading difficulties.

Reading disorders such as dyslexia are neurobiological, meaning there is physical evidence of them in the brain, and they often run in families. The brain of a person with a reading disorder is “hardwired” differently. This hardwiring makes it difficult for people to identify the separate speech sounds within a word (a process known as phonemic awareness). A person with poor phonemic awareness can hear the word “cast” and not be able to tell you the separate sounds (phonemes) within that word: /c/ /a/ /s/ /t/.

Conversely, a person with reading difficulties will have trouble making what they see on paper match what they say when they read a word. That’s why the word “cast” may come out with a sound switch at the end of the word (“cats”).

What Doesn’t Help Struggling Readers?

More Reading

If a child has a reading difficulty, simply reading more books won’t solve the problem. With more exposure, they may learn to memorize more common words, but that doesn’t give them the skills to systematically sound out unfamiliar words.

Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta
Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta

Whole Language

Whole language was an approach to reading instruction that was very popular in the late 1980s and 1990s, but it has been discredited–especially for struggling readers. With whole language, the emphasis switched from systematic phonics instruction to a focus on holistic meaning. Students were taught to decode words by gathering meaning from context (surrounding words). However, this system breaks down when students can only read a small percentage of a passage. How can a student lean into context clues when they can’t read the context?

Waiting for Kids to Outgrow It

Reading disorders usually continue lifelong unless there is a successful intervention. In the meantime, reading difficulties will affect a child’s performance across the whole curriculum (since reading underlies most school subjects), and the child’s self-esteem will likely begin to suffer.

Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta

What Does Work?

If your child is having trouble reading, there’s an overwhelming amount of evidence to show that they must be systematically taught with an emphasis on the following:

Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta

Phonemic Awareness for Struggling Readers

At the earliest ages, you can begin to teach students to recognize and manipulate the sounds within words. At The Academy of Scholars, we do this by teaching these sounds explicitly, segmenting words into sounds and manipulating those sounds within words. Over time, children learn to identify and sequence sounds naturally. We start this at the pre-kindergarten level.

For some students, phonemic awareness is second nature; they can easily break words into their components. But for up to one in five students, this is not a natural process and must be clearly taught and practiced.

Phonics Strategies for Struggling Readers

Phonemic awareness addresses the sounds within words, but that’s only part of the equation. Phonics deals with the correspondence between letters and the sounds they make. Phonics strategies include learning vowel sounds, consonant blends, common prefixes and suffixes, and common spelling patterns. At The Academy of Scholars, a focus on phonemic awareness and phonics is baked into the curriculum from pre-kindergarten on up. It is addressed systematically and repeatedly at every grade level so no child falls through the cracks.

Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta
Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta

Fluency Development

When children with reading difficulties get the tools to read, they can break down new words of any length, but they may do it in a slow, stilted way. When reading is that labored, children don’t want to do it. And even when they do read, they lose meaning because the flow is so slow.

Along with building phonemic awareness and phonics skills, it is important to build fluency. We do this by helping kids memorize high-frequency words so they don’t have to sound out common words over and over again. We make it automatic. We also drill familiar texts in repetition to boost speed and help students grasp the cadence and flow of fluent reading.


We read to learn, so a strong reading comprehension curriculum is essential for your child’s Atlanta school. Even when a student can decode words, they need a strong vocabulary and exposure to a whole spectrum of content: fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, current events periodicals, technical writing, and more.

At The Academy of Scholars, we immerse students in high-quality, relevant literature and teach them strategies for understanding it. This includes teaching plot, cause and effect, themes, characterization, drawing conclusions, predicting, and more. It’s all part of our research-based reading comprehension curriculum–and it works!

Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta
Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta

Language Arts

Reading and writing go hand in hand, and they both operate on a strong working knowledge of language. Students need to understand sentence structure, parts of speech (nouns, adjectives, conjunctions, etc.), punctuation, and research skills. While we’re shoring up foundational skills for struggling readers, we frame their skills in the broader concept of written and spoken language, be it through books, plays, speeches, emails, manuals, and more.

The Academy of Scholars Advantage for Reading Instruction

At The Academy of Scholars, we give reading instruction the highest priority because we know how high the stakes are. “Today’s readers, tomorrow’s leaders”—it’s more than just a clever saying. It’s the truth. Our goal is to make sure that every student here becomes a proficient reader.

Here’s what sets our reading curriculum apart from other schools:

Early Intervention

While reading can be taught at any age, it becomes much more difficult the longer you wait. At The Academy of Scholars, we don’t just teach everybody to read through immersion and then try to rescue those who needed specific skills instruction all along. We focus on strategic teaching from the youngest grades so that all aspects of reading are addressed step-by-step.

Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta
Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta

Trained Teachers

We pride ourselves in the fact that our teachers have received extensive training in our curriculum for struggling readers. Too often, teachers know the general concepts behind reading instruction, but they have had no exposure to the specific methods for teaching it. Our teachers are all on the same page with a program that works from Pre-K up to 6th grade.

This is no hodge-podge, arbitrary curriculum that differs from class to class. Teachers instruct from a cohesive, highly successful, research-based curriculum, and students learn skills that build on each other from one grade to the next.

If students are struggling, our teachers know how to identify this in the youngest grades and get them the support they need immediately through individual or small group work.

Diagnostic Tools

We hear about too many struggling readers who slip through the cracks, often because they are intelligent and well-behaved, so they can mask their reading difficulties. Our staff is trained in diagnostic tools, so we can regularly assess all students and determine what interventions are needed for struggling readers.

Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta
Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta

Daily Immersion

Reading is not a sometimes thing at The Academy of Scholars. Kids are daily immersed in developing foundational reading skills. It’s who our scholars are and what they do. This repetition allows students to internalize skills and become fluent readers. It also allows for adequate opportunity to master each new concept before moving to the next one.

Evidence-based Reading Instruction

We do not teach on the basis of tradition (an opinion of “what’s always worked”). We don’t subscribe to every shiny new curriculum that trends. Rather, we used programs backed by years of scientific research. These are tried-and-true programs with extensive data to prove it.

If you’re tired of schools that recommend the same old thing as your child falls farther behind in reading, it’s time to try something new. Visit us today and ask about our proven reading curriculum for struggling readers here in Decatur, Georgia.

Reading Curriculum for Struggling Readers Atlanta

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