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Comprehension Help?

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DS 8 can read but seems to be having a huge comprehension issue. He can read most words that I give him, but really struggles when it comes to understanding. This includes independent reading as well as other work that may include written directions. He can not read a chapter of a book or even directions sometimes and tell me what happened. He does understand directions if they are verbally explained to him. Reading out loud is hit and miss as far as comprehension goes, but it is definitely better than independent.


I don't even know where to begin looking to address that issues as comprehension is one of my personal struggles as well. We love books and he loves being read to, but hates reading. Please help me find a solution now so this doesn't become a lifetime struggle as it has been for me.

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First, you might try Reading Dectitive from Critical Thinking Co.


We tried that with my dd and when it didn't help, we had her evaluated by an Educational Psychologist, who diagnosed dd with an LD in reading comprehension.


Based on those findings, we started using Visualizing/Verbalizing from Lindamood Bell. I have also heard good things about Idea Chain.


Hope that helps.

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We've had good experiences with Critical Thinking's Reading Detective and also with Idea Chain. Also, at that age, we have found IEW really helpful. I use the lessons on summarizing, where students have to pick three key words in each sentence of the original work and then write a summary based on that, for our third-, fourth-, and fifth-graders. It takes a lot of focus to accomplish the key-word outline for students who struggle with comprehension. We've also used Sopris West, which helped with one of our middle school students, who now reads much, much better, though she still has a reading disability. In addition, we do things like copying a section from a book and then cutting it up into paragraphs. Then the student can put the paragraphs in order based on meaning; any order is fine as long as the reasoning makes sense. If the student can't do this, we try it with recipes, pictures, cartoons, whatever seems to work. Then we build on it from there.


If nothing seems to work after you've tried some strategies that appeal to you, you may want to consider having him tested.



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What worked well with dd11 was allowing her to draw and illustrate what I was reading out loud to her. The act of drawing really helped her hold the thoughts in her mind. WWE is also helping alot and narration. I found that she had to start out really slow. I am talking just a few sentences and then she would stop and discuss with me what she had read. Yes it has been a slow process but she is now doing much better and is able to hold a paragraph or two at a time. I hope to see more improvements through out the year. She has always been PS and her evaluator told me that PS teaches children to read and then answer very basic questions and always allows them to search back through the text. She has never been taught how to hold the info in her mind. You may want to also take a look at Charlotte Mason's teaching on comprehension. Good Luck!

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