So your student isn’t reading at grade level?  Whether you are a parent or a teacher, I want to share a few tips on how you can help foster comprehension at grade level WITHOUT starting a fight.

  1. Have your student identify whether the text is Fiction or Non-Fiction. Fiction is pretend; Non-fiction tells you real facts. 
  2. Read high interest text aloud to your student. Audio books can also do the trick, but there is NOTHING like fostering a love of reading by pairing it with special time with a real live grown up who loves you! Point to each word as you read and make sure they are following along. This text should be high interest to peak their curiosity.  Who cares if it isn’t at grade level? 
  3. If you are reading Fiction, ask questions that related to the problem and solution of the story.  If you are reading Non-fiction, the child needs to be able to pick out details and state the main idea. Take notes for them on a graphic organizer. 
  4. Compare and contrast characters or events with other stories or movies. This is a BIG time skill that needs to be solidified.  Use a Venn Diagram to organize thinking. 
  5. DO NOT push your child to sound words out when you are enjoying books together.  First of all, even thought getting foundational phonics skills is critically important to a child with a reading disability, we just can’t sound out all of our words in English (this is where the science of reading and linguistics comes in and if you aren’t trained, you may do more damage than good).  Children with reading disabilities are SO smart.  You tell them a rule.  They learn it.  Then they realize they can’t apply it, and it is demoralizing. Same goes for spelling- if they ask you how to spell something tell them; don’t ask them to tell you what sounds they hear.  Leave that for your Intervention Specialist and/or your specially trained tutor. 

Have a GREAT Week.

Sat Nam,

Dr. Bennett