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SKL

Reading to learn

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My 11yo 6th grader has historically tested slightly above average for reading ability.  Comprehension and reading aloud are good to excellent.  However, I have always known she has difficulties with sustained reading.  She has vision problems (convergence insufficiency) which make reading a chore.  There could be other reasons also.  I'm planning to request LD testing for her soon.

 

So now she is being required to read more in order to succeed in school.  Specifically in the content areas.  Her memory is also not good, so she cannot fall back on remembering what she heard in class.  She just took a reading assessment at Sylvan, and they identified issues with being able to skim / scan text for information.  I see this with the homework - she doesn't know where to look for information to answer questions.  Reading the whole chapter in the evening is too overwhelming.

 

One suggestion I have to consider is more vision therapy during the school year.  She does not want to do it.  I kinda don't blame her.  But if it would make her work easier, it would be worth it.  I almost want to cry for her since she is so tired of extra work.

 

Theoretically I could read her texts aloud to her, but I don't know where I'd find the time.  And that would not solve the underlying problem.

 

Another thought that comes to mind is asking her to prepare written outlines of her texts, and study from those.  But, again, more time, frustration, and tears.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions for a kid in this situation?

Edited by SKL
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Can she read the text aloud slowly to you? Sometimes that helps in comprehension more than silent reading. Also, she can write bullet points for the important facts/events in each paragraph and review them. And repeating something thrice helps me memorize facts (you can ask her to increase the repetitions if that might work). 

I suggest that you ask her to constantly work on memorizing something in order to improve her memory for the long term. She seems to be doing a lot of music. You could use that to improve memorization skills because she has to learn her music pieces anyway - ask her to memorize a new piece every few weeks and play it from memory and ask her to review an older piece that she knows from memory every few weeks. That should help her with her memory skills.

 

I am not sure that I know enough to suggest more. You can try to post this question in the Learning Challenges board where there are many who have good experience with similar situations. Good luck.

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Reading the whole chapter in the evening of a text all it once is too much.  Can the teacher give you her plan, so that each night your dc knows what needs to be read and studied -- probably two sections of science at this level. Then break that into manageable sections and alternate with nonreading homework.

 

Has she been taught the study skills for this level?  6th is where SQ3R is usally taught. You could do one section to teach the skills, then adapt it for listening to the text recordings....a public school would provide those, but maybe your school can or can give you the info so you can order.

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Has she tried reading the questions she needs to answer before she reads the chapter? You don't have the time to read the whole chapter but if you read the questions with her and briefly discussed them it might help. That way she will have an idea of what the important points are.

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If it is vision, nothing will help much until you get therapy.  And, at first it will be painful and make everything else harder before it helps.

 

Some of my remedial students did better with larger font or reading on the kindle with larger font and bigger spacing.  Some were also helped with colored overlays or colored overlay strips.  (A tiny bit of help.)

 

You can do some of my tests to see if there might be other problems, the MWIA 3, and the 40L quick screen test and the nonsense word test, all linked at the bottom of my syllables page:

 

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On%20Reading/syllablesspellsu.html

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Is the textbook broken up handily by sections with section titles? If so, you could start by having her read the questions and make a guess as to what section is relevant to the question. Then she only needs to re-read the sections relevant to the questions. 

 

I agree with PP's suggestion to have her read the questions first before reading the chapter.

 

Another option while you're working out the difficulties is to find the answers yourself and tell her which pages to re-read. I wouldn't recommend this long term in the least, but if she does need therapy or additional help, this could get you through the initial difficulties.

 

Can you ask her not to outline but to summarize for herself what she has just read? Say she reads in class. Ask her to think about a sentence or two that summarizes the section or page she's read, just in her head, before moving on. Memory is improved by calling up higher levels of cognition, so having to summarize text makes it easier to remember because you've used the text rather than just reading it passively (and that's also the reason that kids get questions to answer at the end of the text; rewriting answers in your own words makes the facts easier to remember).

 

It's hard to improve memory, except through practice. When it comes to remembering what is read, that comes down to using the text (answering questions, making bullet points), reading out loud (engaging more senses and registering the words both visually and orally), or re-reading. Re-reading strikes me as the least effective option, unless it's additional to other strategies. 

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is all of the reading she's having trouble with on a screen?  I'm asking because my dd's school is like this.  There are plenty of studies out there that show if you're reading text from a screen, you have more trouble remembering it.  Surprisingly, this includes Kindles.

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