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Empowering Homeschool Instructors: A Step-by-Step Guide to Boosting Reading Skills

Updated: Feb 9

*Part of this week's series on literacy in the United States.

By Julia Simmons - Director of Operations at FunCation Academy

As homeschooling continues to grow in popularity, instructors play a crucial role in shaping the academic journey of their students. One of the key challenges faced by homeschool instructors is helping struggling readers develop essential literacy skills. In this blog post, we'll explore the current literacy rates, delve into a step-by-step process to enhance reading abilities and highlight the role of Exact Path in identifying and addressing reading gaps.

Current Literacy Rates:

Understanding the current literacy landscape is vital for homeschool instructors seeking to make a positive impact on their students. According to recent data, literacy rates vary globally, but even in developed countries like the United States, a significant number of students face challenges in reading proficiency. By acknowledging this reality, homeschool instructors can better tailor their approach to address the specific needs of struggling readers.


  • 130 million adults in our country are now unable to read a simple story to their children

  • 54% of adults have a literacy level below the 6th grade

  •  45 million adults are functionally illiterate, reading below a 5th-grade level, impeding their ability to engage with essential written information for daily life.

  • Approximately 40% of students across the nation struggle to read at a basic level

The impact of a poor literacy rate extends beyond traditional school settings, affecting all students, including those who are homeschooled. Literacy serves as the foundation for academic success and lifelong learning. When a significant portion of the population struggles with low literacy, it creates a ripple effect that touches every facet of education. Homeschooled students, like their counterparts in traditional schools, may face challenges in accessing diverse learning resources, interacting with peers, and developing essential communication skills. Additionally, a society with a low literacy rate may lack the collective knowledge and engagement needed to foster a culture of continuous learning. Therefore, addressing poor literacy rates is a shared responsibility that influences the educational landscape for all students, regardless of their learning environment.

Strategies to Address Low Literacy Rates in Homeschoolers

  • Utilize Diagnostic Tools

  • Access Support Networks

  • Incorporate Varied Learning Resources

  • Encourage Peer Interaction

  • Seek Professional Guidance

Following the step-by-step process below will help lead your student to Reading Success:

Daily Phonics Lessons:

  • Start with the fundamentals by incorporating daily phonics lessons. Phonics is the foundation of reading, as it teaches the relationship between sounds and letters. Use engaging activities and resources to make these lessons interactive and enjoyable for students. It can be hard to find phonics resources for older students. I suggest Mark Twain's Bridging the Gap with Phonics workbook.

Weekly Vocabulary Lists:

  • Expand the student's word bank by introducing weekly vocabulary lists. Select words that are relevant to their interests, age group, and reading level. Encourage the use of these words in daily conversations and written exercises to reinforce retention. By the end of the week, students should be able to recognize the word and know its definition.

Weekly Fluency with Rhyming Poems:

  • Foster fluency, rhythm, and memory through weekly tasks with rhyming poems. Poetry not only enhances language skills but also makes reading enjoyable. Choose poems that resonate with the student. They should work on the poem every day for a week. By the end of the week, they should be able to read the poem fluently to you.

Exact Path Comprehensive Assessment:

  • Leverage technology to identify specific reading gaps with Exact Path's comprehensive assessment. This tool provides a detailed analysis of each student's strengths and weaknesses in various literacy skills.

Customized Learning Paths:

  • Based on the assessment results, Exact Path creates unique learning paths for each student. These paths are tailored to address individual reading gaps, ensuring that students receive targeted support in areas where they need it the most.

Tying it All Together:

By combining daily phonics lessons, weekly vocabulary lists, and fluency practice with rhyming poems, homeschool instructors can create a comprehensive approach to reading success. The incorporation of Exact Path adds a technological dimension, allowing for precise identification of reading gaps and personalized learning paths to address those gaps effectively.

Empowering struggling readers requires a multifaceted approach that recognizes the unique needs of each student. Homeschool instructors, armed with the knowledge of current literacy rates and a step-by-step guide, can make a significant impact on their students' reading abilities. By embracing technology like Exact Path, instructors can enhance their teaching methods and provide tailored support, ultimately fostering a love for reading that will last a lifetime.

FunCation Academy uses Edemtum's Exact Path curriculum to target gaps and strengths in math, reading, and Language Arts.

For just $9.99/month or $85/year, you set your student up for success.

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