Reading and writing are complex tasks that involve many visual and mental processes. In order to read and understand, students need a variety of different skills. These skills begin at the most basic level — associating letter symbols with sounds. Next, readers must recognize or decode whole words and understand the meaning of the words within a sentence. Readers must then string words together to understand a complete sentence within the larger context of a paragraph. All of these processes occur at the same time and understanding can break down at any point.
Many factors can affect struggling readers including lack of background knowledge, phonics issues, trouble with comprehension and vision problems. Writing also requires a variety of skills, including fine motor control, idea planning, elaboration and spelling.
Assessment can help determine problem areas. Private, one-on-one tutoring can remedy these issues by helping students gain basic tools and strategies in order to become independent readers and writers who do not need to constantly rely on the help of teachers or parents.