When individuals hear reading comprehension issues, most automatically it is assumed a student must have a specific learning disability. There are many individuals that struggle with reading comprehension issues that does not relate to a specific learning disability. There are individuals that are English Language Learners or individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries or the individual may have an undiagnosed learning disability. It could be that the individual has auditory processing concerns.
Causes of reading comprehension issues can be:
Experience: if a reader lacks experience with reading, there is an increase chance that they will experience reading difficulties. We need to make sure students are not just reading the “required” material for school. Allow access to material that is interesting and fun for the student.
Phonemic awareness: is when the listener is able to hear, identify and manipulate the smallest units of sound that can differentiate meaning. Separating the spoken words into distinctive phonemes such as “mat” /m/, / a/, and /t/.
Vocabulary: vocabulary for student can be a huge area of concern students that struggle with comprehension. There is no doubt that good readers and writers have a rich robust vocabulary. Building vocabulary skills is a life skill. Often you can support students’ vocabulary by concentrating on roots, prefixes and endings.
Fluency: is the ability to read phrases and sentences smoothly and with speed. When an individual reads in a choppy manner, their understanding is effective.
Purpose of Reading: when a reader has a difficult time understanding why they are reading, it is difficult to give personal meaning to the material.
Low Tech Methods:
Phonemic Awareness: Telephone created at PVC pipe. http://www.pvcworkshop.com/freePVCplans2.htm while you are looking for the whisper phone check-out all the cool projects that you can create with PVC.
Vocabulary: flash cards are the old standby. However if you are having a difficult time of reading, what good is a flashcards? Give a talking photo album a chance. You can add words as needed and delete when mastered or have a specific photo album for specific books or activities. The cost is $29 from Attainment. http://www.attainmentcompany.com/product.php?productid=16163&cat=0&page=1
Fluency: Have the student record their reading. I typically ask the student to do this at home because it is a more relaxed environment. I will read the book first so the student listens how it should be read then the student records their recording. They keep reading until they feel successful. I allow them to rate their own reading.
Have fun with setting a purpose for the reading. I have used Popsicle sticks, bean bag toss, pull a purpose from the hat and pick a card. There is no limit to how you can have your students pick a purpose.
Mid Tech Methods:
Phonemic Awareness: Using the sound recording in MAC or the PC operating system your student can create their own studio of sounds. Listen and repeat. You can even have the student play a game in PowerPoint to matching sounds.
Vocabulary: PowerTalk is an excellent tool to utilize for flashcards. You make your flashcards in PowerPoint and allow PowerTalk to talk each slide. Free download for reading PowerPoint ® slideshows/books. You can add in page-forward buttons requiring an action from the reader http://fullmeasure.co.uk/PowerTalk/ReadMe.htm
An extension activity would be having the student create their own picture dictionary of how they picture the word making sense to them.
Fluency: Using a livescribe pen, have the student read their story to you. Then at the back of the book ask the student comprehension questions that relate to the story. On the pages of the book you could place a star on the livescribe paper tape it to the page. When the student goes to the comprehension questions the star is a cue that that is where an answer can be found.
Purpose for reading: http://www.aschool.us/moodle-scripts/random-name.php this website allows you to place students names and it randomly selects one. Instead of using students names, type in purposes for reading or allow your students to create a list and the site picks the purpose.
High Tech Methods:
Reading Sounds Solution is one option you have for fluency and phonemic awareness. It is a software based program. http://www.soundreading.com/
Talking Dictionary is a speech enabled encyclopedic dictionary that can be used with or without a screen reader. This free talking dictionary is based on the Wordnet 9.0 database and contains over 250,000 words. http://www.download3000.com/download-Talking_Dictionary-count-reg-6527.html
Natural Reader: is a free tool that can be downloaded for MAC and PC. The natural reader can read material that is cut and pasted into the window or you can highlight text in any product (internet, word, excel) to have things read to you. www.naturalreaders.com
Mr. Thorne does Phonics: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/mr-thorne-does-phonics-letters/id431679830?mt=8
Timed Reading Practice: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/k12-timed-reading-practice/id374985358?mt=8
Random Selection: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/custom-spinner/id427700973?mt=8
I look forward to hearing how others are helping students with reading comprehension. The above are just a few suggestions; there are many more creative ideas that I have seen being used.
Please feel free to suggest a topic; I am always open to ideas, please feel free to email me email@example.com . Have a terrific Tuesday.