My Child Can’t Remember What They Read


Reading is essential to our daily lives and difficulties with reading can have serious consequences for academic and overall achievement that can follow a person throughout their life.

My Child Can’t Remember What they Read

Reading is a complex process that involves many steps and a breakdown at any level can lead to difficulties in remembering what was read. These include:

1. Attention

If distracted or unfocused when reading and not actively engaging with the text, the content may not be “sinking in” as deeply and be less likely to be remembered later on.

2. Reading Fluency and Decoding

If the child has notable difficulty in sounding out words while reading this can cause a slowness or lack of rhythm in the reading. This lack of rhythm can also be caused by ignoring punctuation marks or sentence boundaries. The rhythm and natural intonation of good reading fluency is essential in the chunking and comprehension of material and is key to being able to remember this information later on. Choosing texts that are at an appropriate reading level for your child is important to promote reading fluency.

3. Vocabulary

If there are many words that the child is unfamiliar with, they may not be able to understand the information they are reading in order to remember it. Even if they spend time looking up the words they do not know, the constant back and forth can disrupt the fluency of the reading, which, as we learned, can make it difficult to comprehend the overall message. Choosing a text that is at an appropriate reading level for your child is also important for this reason.

4. Memory

Some children have difficulties remembering what they’ve read in the absence of any difficulties speficially with reading or vocabulary limitations. These students may have memory difficulties and could benefit from instruction in reading comprehension and memory strategies to facilitate active engagement and retention of what they have read.

5. Verbal or Written Formulation

Some children may appear to not remember what they have read when asked, but this may not be due to reading or memory difficulties. Some children have difficulty formulating their thoughts and explaining themselves clearly, either verbally or in writing. The child may recall the information just fine, but require some support in expressing what they know clearly.

The Good News: We can Help!

The good news is that a Speech-Language Pathologist is specially trained and equipped to assess and treat each of these areas of difficulty and to help your child develop strategies to improve their reading skills! Contact us today for more information!


Melissa Kiley is a registered Speech-Language Pathologist with a special interest in concussion/acquired brain injury as well as literacy skills development. She has been working with clients for over 10 years and is highly skilled in developing functional and innovative treatments.