Decoding the Pages: The Role of Educational Evaluations for Children with Reading Difficulties

Reading is a passport to countless adventures, new discoveries, and pathways to education. But for some children, the act of reading can feel like an insurmountable wall rather than an open door. If your child struggles with reading, an evaluation can be a critical step in understanding their challenges and finding ways to overcome them.

What is an Educational Evaluation?

Imagine you’re trying to solve a mystery, but the clues are hidden in a language you can barely understand. That’s often what reading feels like for children with reading difficulties. An Educational Evaluation is a type of evaluation that is specifically focused on the various components of learning, such as those that make up the complex skill of reading, including:

– Phonemic Awareness: Understanding and manipulating sounds in words.

– Phonics: Connecting sounds to letters.

– Fluency: Reading smoothly with speed, accuracy, and expression.

– Vocabulary: Understanding the meaning of words.

– Comprehension: Understanding and interpreting what’s being read.

Identifying the Challenges:

For many children, reading difficulties stem from dyslexia or related language-based learning disabilities. However, there’s a wide spectrum when it comes to reading challenges. An Educational Evaluation digs deep to identify specific stumbling blocks. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach; each child’s evaluation is as unique as their fingerprint.

The Evaluation Process:

The evaluation typically involves a series of standardized tests that compare your child’s abilities to benchmarks for their age and grade level. But it’s not just about putting a score on a page. It will identify how your child interacts with text, their response style, and their developmental history. It’s like piecing together a narrative to understand the whole picture.

Beyond Reading: Looking at the Whole Child

A thorough evaluation not only assess reading—it also considers other factors that might influence your child’s ability to read, such as:

– Vision and Hearing: Ensuring there are no underlying sensory issues.

– Cognitive Abilities: Understanding how your child’s mind processes information.

– Language Skills: Looking at how well your child understands and uses language.

– Attention and Concentration, also known as Working Memory, skills.

– Executive Functioning Skills: Understanding how your child approaches problem solving.

From Evaluation to Action:

The evaluation results in a detailed report that serves as a blueprint for action. It outlines your child’s strengths and weaknesses and provides recommendations for interventions, accommodations, and strategies tailored to your child’s needs. This might include:

– Structured Literacy Programs: Systematic and explicit instruction in reading.

– Tutoring and Special Education Services: One-on-one or small group support.

– Classroom Accommodations: Such as extra time on tests and the provision of a reader.

Empowering Parents and Educators:

Armed with knowledge from the Educational Evaluation, you as a parent can better advocate for your child. Educators gain insights that allow them to adjust their teaching strategies. It’s a collaborative effort, with the evaluation serving as a guide.

The Road Ahead:

An Educational Evaluation isn’t the end of the journey—it’s a beginning. It opens doors to resources and support, setting your child on a path toward reading proficiency. With the right help, reading difficulties can be addressed, giving your child the chance to enjoy the rich, vibrant world of books.


Finally, an Educational Evaluation for a child with reading difficulties is a powerful step towards unlocking their potential as a reader. It’s about understanding the unique language of their learning and translating it into success, both in and out of the classroom. As a parent, it’s one of the most proactive steps you can take to help your child navigate the world of reading and learning.

Dr. Whitney Legler