Helping Loved Ones Who Struggle to Read

William Manzanares is the author of I Can’t Read.

Have you noticed that a loved one never reads for fun? Maybe they look at the pictures on a restaurant menu instead of reading the descriptions. Perhaps, when they’re in a situation where they need to read, they become flustered and defensive.

It’s hard to approach a loved one about their struggles because reading difficulties and dyslexia are still treated as taboo subjects, often discussed behind the back of the person living it. The subject can be painful for the struggling reader to address openly. They’ve often hidden their difficulties, felt frustrated, and worked extra hard just to keep up with their reading peers.

How can you approach a loved one about this highly personal and emotional topic when you notice they struggle to read?

Let Them Know They’re Not Alone

Struggling readers often feel isolated in their challenges, especially if they don’t know anyone going through the same experience. One way to approach them from a place of love and support is to give them resources created by people who have been in their shoes and found success.

For example, hand them I Can’t Read and say, “I just finished this audiobook written by an entrepreneur. It’s a tell-all about how he struggled with reading his whole life. He was able to succeed in business and turn his difficulties into strengths. You might find it interesting!”

Looking back, my younger self wasn’t going to pipe up and announce, “Hey, look at me. I struggle to read!” I kept my difficulties to myself, but if someone had approached me to say, “Check out this person’s story. It’s a great listen,” I might have been more open to getting help sooner.

Sharing resources is a much gentler way to offer help than confronting someone with the blunt accusation of “I don’t think you can read.” They know they struggle—what they need is support.

You want to help your loved one in the best way possible, and plenty of people like me exist who want to support our fellow struggling readers. But we can’t help if we don’t know who needs it. Approaching struggling readers from a position of care and concern and offering useful information is one of the best ways you can get them on the path to success.

To learn more about helping struggling readers, check out I Can’t Read. If you’re more of an audiobook lover, you can find that version of the book at The ebook is available on Amazon.

William Manzanares IV was born and raised in the Tacoma area of Washington State and is an active member of the Puyallup Tribe. He is a serial entrepreneur, having owned and operated successful smoke shops, convenience stores, and restaurants since 2005. William is passionate about helping small business owners as well as struggling readers. To that end, he spends much of his time speaking with students about career planning and goal setting. Having grown up unable to read and struggling with dyslexia, William hopes his new book will equip kids to improve their literacy and inspire them to pursue their dreams.

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