Reading comprehension is essential to learning – without it, words on a page are meaningless. Here is how to deal with difficult reading comprehension.
Difficulties in understanding reading
Identifying a child with low reading comprehension skills can be quite simple, but improving these skills can be a profound and complicated process.
When trying to determine where a child’s weakness lies in understanding, there are three key possibilities to keep in mind:
- A lack of skills in decoding words/sounds.
- Poor overall school performance.
- Insufficient background knowledge in what they read.
Each of these anomalies will make comprehension at all levels extremely difficult.
- For example, if a child does not correctly identify the words (decoding skill), it will be difficult for him to understand what he is reading. This difficulty arises from a lack of understanding of how sounds from the words that he or she read and how they are bearers of meaning put together.
- If a child does not know the words, it is unlikely that he or she understands the instructions or meaning of what they are reading.
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Many think that the three possibilities come from the same region: sets of a schema of the child. A diagram corresponds to a child’s background knowledge before reading any written material.
Here is a concrete representation of a simplistic schema. Look at how the numbered elements below build on each other from the key idea “guitar”:
- E, A, D, G, B, E
As indicated, a child’s scheme works in a similar way to building blocks. It is always in a state of flux since the reading ability of the child is constantly being constructed on new words, phrases, and meanings.
For a child to understand what he or she is reading, he or she must deal with new information that the act of reading brings them. This process usually occurs in this order:
- Learning and adding new facts.
- Adjust what we already know about the text being played.
- The acquisition of new knowledge about what we read.
Testing difficulties of comprehension
When you try to discover a child’s level of reading comprehension, there are two key tests to keep in mind:
A normative test compares students to other children in regions with similar demographics, such as class level, school, or region.
- An example of a normative test is a survey comprehension test.
Conversely, diagnostic tests provide diagnostic data. An IRI (Informal Inventory Reading) is an example of a criterion test. The IRI examines word identification skills, strategies, and understanding.
Understanding reading can always be improved
As stated, the level of understanding of reading a child is always a work in progress. If deficiencies are involved, it is important to assess where these deficiencies are before taking any further action.
However, once the zone of weakness has been determined, a defined project can be put in place to improve the child’s ability to understand the text he wants to read. In addition, with an improved level of understanding, everyday schoolwork becomes easier.