Visualize, Summarize, Vocalize: The Best Reading Strategies for ADHD Children

Kids enjoy reading if they can connect to the assignment — and teachers can help them do it. Here are 6 strategies for helping kids interact with what they read.

A child applying reading strategies for ADHD children to her book

It is vital that students with ADHD be actively engaged in the reading process, or else they will struggle with reading comprehension. Here are reading strategies that will help ADHD students get engaged with what's on the page.

1. Teach students how to rephrase main ideas and headings into their own words.

2. Give students a pad of self-stick notes. As they read small amounts of text at a time, have them pause to jot down vocabulary words that they don't know, questions they have, and thoughts, ideas, feelings, and connections to other text or to their life.

3. Encourage students to use their imaginations and visualize while reading. Having students illustrate the scenes they visualize is very helpful.

4. Have students ask themselves questions while reading. Have a child ask: "Where does the story take place?" "What is the problem?" "What will the character do next?" "Why did she say that?" "What's the main idea?" "What is the point the author is trying to make?"

5. Allow students to subvocalize — say the words aloud softly as they are reading. The auditory feedback helps those who struggle with maintaining attention to focus when reading silently.

6. Try using a reader marker or strip of cardboard with students who lose their place in reading and have difficulty visually focusing on text. Check out for use with any text students need to read online.

Adapted with permission from, How to Reach and Teach Children with ADD/ADHD, Second Edition, copyright 2005, and The ADD/ADHD Checklist, Second Edition, copyright 2008, by Sandra F. Rief, M.A.


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TAGS: Organization Tips for ADHD Kids, ADHD Accommodations, 504s, IEPs, ADHD in High School

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