Reading difficulties in children

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


Reading plays an important role in the learning process. It involves both decoding and comprehension skills. Reading plays a vital role in the acquisition of knowledge, which leads to independent learning. But if the child faces problems in learning to read, then these reading difficulties do compound the other language learning problems, like writing, spelling, pronunciation, comprehension, etc. which affects the child's progress in school. These reading difficulties block access to a wide range of information acquisition. Therefore the teachers need to be aware of children's reading difficulties and be able to implement remedial strategies to address these problems. This research study was conducted to identify reading difficulties in English of children at the primary level in the multi-lingual context of Pakistan, where English is a second, third or a foreign language for most of the children. The purpose of the study was to identify children's reading difficulties and to explore the facilities available for dealing with the same. The study was divided into two phases. Phase I was basically a needs analysis done in a private primary school to identify the children's reading difficulties by using standardized assessment tools. The language teachers were also interviewed and their reading lessons observed to find out their awareness level for catering to children's reading difficulties. Phase II was an exploration of the facilities available for dealing with children's reading difficulties in remedial centers and selected schools. Trained reading teachers were interviewed and their remedial sessions were observed in the remedial centers and the schools working in association with these centers, to recommend possible ways of helping teachers in dealing with reading difficulties of children in a multi-lingual school context. The study revealed that children do have reading difficulties. The test analysis revealed errors of omissions, substitutions, reversals, deletions, repetitions, etc. It was found that these problems are mostly related to children's lack of language exposure, inappropriate teaching of reading, lack of reading culture, multi-lingual context, etc. The teachers in the sample school were found to be unaware of children's specific reading difficulties and therefore were not able to remediate the same. In contrast, trained reading teachers in a few remedial centers and schools are providing remedial training to children by using phonic and multi-sensory approaches to remediate the children's reading difficulties. However, these facilities are very expensive. Therefore only the elite class can afford to access their services Thus this research study highlights the issues related to children's reading difficulties at the primary level and recommends possible ways of addressing them in the context of the multilingual setting in the majority of schools in Pakistan.

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