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Allearia

Help! I've been approached to possibly tutor 5th grader with reading comprehension...

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I need more details but would like to have a starting point for discussion with the girl's parents. She is 10 yo. She is in ps but they are considering homeschooling but have no idea where to start, just that we had talked about homeschooling before. She is using a program called Reading Naturally at school but they are not happy with it. They said she can read well but does not comprehend. We are hoping to have a further conversation and it is possible I may just point them in the direction to get more resources themselves but any hints you can give me on what to research I would greatly appreciate!

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If she was taught to read in PS, they most likely did sight words and even if they think she is reading well, she may have some subtle phonics problems that, when fixed, will fix the supposed comprehension problem.

 

Here is a thread where I explained about a 5th grade student I had who seemed to be reading fine but her "comprehension problem" fixed when I taught her phonics with nonsense words and syllable division and syllable division rules and a bit of Webster's Speller.

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If she was taught to read in PS, they most likely did sight words and even if they think she is reading well, she may have some subtle phonics problems that, when fixed, will fix the supposed comprehension problem.

 

Here is a thread where I explained about a 5th grade student I had who seemed to be reading fine but her "comprehension problem" fixed when I taught her phonics with nonsense words and syllable division and syllable division rules and a bit of Webster's Speller.

 

Thanks Elizabeth! This is exactly what I was looking for. I did try to ask if they used any phonics at school but I doubt they did much.

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Thanks Elizabeth! This is exactly what I was looking for. I did try to ask if they used any phonics at school but I doubt they did much.

 

You're welcome!

 

If she truly has a comprehension problem, there are folks on the special needs board with ideas, but the phonics thing is more likely, really.

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I need more details but would like to have a starting point for discussion with the girl's parents. She is 10 yo. She is in ps but they are considering homeschooling but have no idea where to start, just that we had talked about homeschooling before. She is using a program called Reading Naturally at school but they are not happy with it. They said she can read well but does not comprehend. We are hoping to have a further conversation and it is possible I may just point them in the direction to get more resources themselves but any hints you can give me on what to research I would greatly appreciate!

 

Different issues could be causing the problem. When they are having to spend all their energy on decoding in order to read, comprehension can be impacted. The fact that her parents say she can read well makes me wonder if that eliminates that as the problem. (of course, the term "well" has a wide range of possibilities!)

 

Does her comprehension change if she reads out loud vs silently? Here is a link that may help you devise a method to determine if there is a difference:

http://www.lite.iwarp.com/qripassg.htm

 

That site is also has information on developing reading strategies. That is the approach I would probably focus on if she can read well. http://www.lite.iwarp.com/sklstrat.htm#basic

 

Depending on what you find after your initial evaluation, one approach I have seen is called "re-tells." You have them read silently for 1 min and stop and "re-tell" what they read. As their accuracy improves, increase the time to 2 mins, and then eventually to 5. After they reach 5 min re-tells, the goal is for them to be able to summarize what they read in about 1-2 sentences.

 

Just wanted to offer that there can be a range of issues that may not be phonics/sight reading related.

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Different issues could be causing the problem. When they are having to spend all their energy on decoding in order to read, comprehension can be impacted. The fact that her parents say she can read well makes me wonder if that eliminates that as the problem. (of course, the term "well" has a wide range of possibilities!)

 

Does her comprehension change if she reads out loud vs silently? Here is a link that may help you devise a method to determine if there is a difference:

http://www.lite.iwarp.com/qripassg.htm

 

That site is also has information on developing reading strategies. That is the approach I would probably focus on if she can read well. http://www.lite.iwarp.com/sklstrat.htm#basic

 

Depending on what you find after your initial evaluation, one approach I have seen is called "re-tells." You have them read silently for 1 min and stop and "re-tell" what they read. As their accuracy improves, increase the time to 2 mins, and then eventually to 5. After they reach 5 min re-tells, the goal is for them to be able to summarize what they read in about 1-2 sentences.

 

Just wanted to offer that there can be a range of issues that may not be phonics/sight reading related.

 

Thanks so much! A lot of great resources.

 

I'm still wondering if I should steer them towards some sort of specialist or reading tutor. However that is what is helping her in school and they don't feel it is working. Any comments? Or is this something a parent or someone willing to research and learn can do? :bigear:

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I'm still wondering if I should steer them towards some sort of specialist or reading tutor. However that is what is helping her in school and they don't feel it is working. Any comments? Or is this something a parent or someone willing to research and learn can do? :bigear:

 

Well, they need to figure out what it is, first!

 

The reading program being used is balanced literacy, many of its elements are whole word practices.

 

I still think the most likely cause is a phonics problem that they don't realize. Someone who reads well phonetically can read all of the sentences on this New Elizabethian Test without problem.

 

Most people who tutor reading do not know what to do with a student who reads fairly well but has subtle problems stemming from whole word instruction. What you need to do to fix their problem is use a lot of nonsense words and limit outside reading for a month or two until they unlearn all their whole word habits and learn new phonics habits. Syllables are also helpful, they act as nonsense words and help learning to break up words and sound them out.

 

If there is a true comprehension problem, it should show up when a passage was read to her as well as when she reads it, and they will need to figure out its cause to fix it. It could be a vocabulary deficit, a language processing problem, a memory problem, a logic problem...

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I work with students with phonics problems and many with solely comprehension problems.

 

First determine if it is a phonics problem and begin working on that piece.

 

Once you begin working on the phonics piece you'll be able to work on the comprehension piece.

 

I have tutored many who have language issues who comprehend much lower than their ability to decode words. I recently started tutoring a girl who is in 7th grade, can read/decode above a 5th grade level but her comprehension is on a 2nd grade level. I am using Wilson (and O/G) to make sure she has the phonics piece in place and we've started reading and narrating stories/passages at her level and we're working on narration and visualization. As her skills get better we'll increase the difficulty of the passages we're reading. WE'll also work on vocabulary, too.

 

Read Naturally is a pretty good program but some students need a lot more direct instruction. I think RN is a better fluency program than a comprehension program.

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Well, they need to figure out what it is, first!

 

The reading program being used is balanced literacy, many of its elements are whole word practices.

 

I still think the most likely cause is a phonics problem that they don't realize. Someone who reads well phonetically can read all of the sentences on this New Elizabethian Test without problem.

 

Most people who tutor reading do not know what to do with a student who reads fairly well but has subtle problems stemming from whole word instruction. What you need to do to fix their problem is use a lot of nonsense words and limit outside reading for a month or two until they unlearn all their whole word habits and learn new phonics habits. Syllables are also helpful, they act as nonsense words and help learning to break up words and sound them out.

 

If there is a true comprehension problem, it should show up when a passage was read to her as well as when she reads it, and they will need to figure out its cause to fix it. It could be a vocabulary deficit, a language processing problem, a memory problem, a logic problem...

 

I use a different method than Elizabeth, but I use nonsense words/syllables/syllabification to re-teach reading as well, with excellent results.

 

Right now I am tutoring a 6th grade boy who reads at a 4th grade level. His comprehension is excellent. He has many coping strategies. He often seems like he reads just fine.

 

However, if I give him a nonsense syllable, he can't read it.

 

So we work on phonics, with nonsense items, until they can manage those fluently. When that happens, real reading fluency and comprehension picks up dramatically, in my experience.

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Thanks again everyone, this has been very helpful. I am still trying to figure out if I would be the right person to help or if I should steer the parents in another direction. I think I really need to talk with them in more detail about the points everyone has brought up, so now I have a place to start for an informal evaluation. It is hard because it is something I would love to do but I don't want to pretend to be some sort of expert. They were interested in other subjects as well so maybe we could work on this a while as well as doing history and science with my older son and perhaps see if there is a bigger issue here or if some time directly focused on phonics and reading comprehension makes a difference.

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