Chess and the Struggle with Reading

By Elizabeth Nisselson, Private Tutor in NYC

Elizabeth Nisselson

Chess has supported my students who struggle with reading and has given them a chance to feel successful. As a result of this, my students always ask to play chess during their sessions. Chess teaches them a different way to process information and learn new skills; such as decision making, strategizing, looking at the big picture and thinking outside the box. It also teaches them that it’s okay to take risks and make mistakes because that’s how you learn.

I love to use it as a reward after they have done their reading and writing, less popular tasks, because my students absolutely love “chest.” (that’s what one of my students says instead of chess). I also use this reward as a learning opportunity. I have them write sentences about chess so I can teach them proper punctuation and spelling.

My five year old student told me he even beat his dad. Another kindergartener and first grader play chess in theirafter school programs. I think that is a great opportunity for children of all ages.

I have noticed how chess has improved my students’ focus and concentration and has given them confidence. As a Wilson Dyslexia Practitioner, chess has become a key piece of my tutoring sessions, and I know my students would not want it any other way.
For more information on tutoring, my website is or you can contact me at (929)262-0023 and I can help your child succeed!

15 thoughts on “Chess and the Struggle with Reading”

  1. Chess has so many benefits for kids of all ages! It’s so cool to see how Elizabeth uses chess as a way to reinforce the skills she works on with her students.

  2. Elizabeth is an incredible tutor and her students are so lucky that she provides them with the opportunity to play & learn chess!

  3. Interesting article. Thank you for sharing Elizabeth! Very informative, well-written and insightful. Worth a read!

  4. Excellent blog post, Elizabeth! It’s inspiring to see how Chess enhances a student’s cognitive skills and boosts their confidence, making it a valuable addition to tutoring sessions.

  5. Very interesting article! I hadn’t thought about it but the connection between chess and reading makes a lot of sense (patterns/decoding but also how to navigate something that doesn’t follow a recognizable pattern). I love seeing these sorts of cross-disciplinary articles, which are a good reminder about how the skills can work together, and in a fun way.

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