Reading comprehension is an essential skill for us all. Without it life would be extremely difficult. Dealing with students who have problems with decoding and comprehending what they have read presents teachers and parents with some significant challenges.
According to Nina Parish in a recent article in Edutopia there are some strategies that will help students who have problems with reading comprehension. Here are some quotes from this article:
When we think of reading issues, we often imagine children who struggle to decode the letters in text and turn them into spoken language. This type of struggling reader has a very difficult time figuring out what many of the words are and has poor phonological (speech-sound) skills. However, there are also many students who sound like they’re reading beautifully but have difficulty with understanding vocabulary and figurative language, inferencing, verbal reasoning, grammatical development, and oral expression.
As children get older, if they are decoding text well we assume they are reading well. Once a person learns to decode, reading comprehension becomes more about language comprehension and focus. At this transition, starting around third grade, teachers may begin to notice some students who decode text fluently but are not understanding.
Since this type of struggling reader is less noticeable than ones who have difficulty decoding, they often slip under the radar until they begin to fail standardized state comprehension tests. Even then, their issues may go undetected for a long time, resulting in middle and high school students who sound like they’re reading but understand nothing that they have read.
Ms. Parish suggests 5 strategies for helping students who have reading comprehension problems and explains ways to use these 5 strategies in this article.
- Target overall comprehension of language
- Teach vocabulary
- Teach thinking strategies
- Have students practice reciprocal teaching
- Directly teach comprehension skills.
These interventions and training strategies can make all the difference between a student who can learn and remember and one who cannot. The earlier the intervention is implemented the earlier comprehension can occur and the student can be successful in school and other activities that require reading comprehension.