The impact of literacy on self-confidence

Martha ConradtMarch 24, 2022

Diverse Books

“When children believe they can’t read, then they won’t read. It is a simple equation.”
—  Stephanie Sawhney, IMSE Journal

If you follow Lead to Read KC, it’s likely you are aware that medical experts have declared a national emergency in children’s mental health, citing the serious toll of the pandemic, on top of existing challenges. Did you know that helping a child improve their reading skills can give them a boost in self-confidence

Students who don’t read well often have low self-confidence. When it comes to reading, the ability — or inability — to read affects students in every single subject.1 That low self-confidence often carries over, leaving a student mentally and emotionally exhausted in and out of school.2

In addition to the improvement in reading skills that can be gained by practice with a caring adult, relationships with caring adults — like those formed between Lead to Read KC students and Reading Mentors — also can play a significant role in a student’s life. 

The adage “students don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” applies to interactions with a struggling reader. Student motivation and confidence increase when they feel cared for and supported.3

Are you a Reading Mentor looking for ways to help increase your student’s self-confidence? Take a couple minutes during a reading mentoring session to ask questions, such as:

  • What’s something you’ve done well today?
  • What are three good things you can tell me about yourself?
  • What is something you’ve achieved today?
  • How have you helped someone today?

Or, check out these suggestions for responding to a discouraged student from Reading Rockets.

However you approach your student, let them know you believe in them. You’re helping them build the bright future they deserve. Thank you! 

1How to Improve Self-Esteem in Struggling Readers

2Self-esteem and Children Who Struggle with Reading

3How to Build Confidence in Struggling Readers