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A too fast reader...how to suggest to slow down


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DD8 reads book in an extremely fast pace (a few hundred pages during a regular school day for example). She much prefers to ready by herself silently, because reading it aloud apparently slows her down. If occasionally she lets me to read to her, she objects when I stop and ask questions to see if she understands.

 

I noticed for the books she really likes, she will read over and over to the point she remembers every single details. But that is limited to only a handful. I know she does not grasp much when flying through pages in such high pace. Is there a way to suggest her to slow down or let her be since everyone has their own reading style?

 

 

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The speed seems normal to me, but... I'm not, so...

 

Is this novels/free reading/etc or textbooks? 8 is on the cusp of transitioning to "read to learn," does she show signs of being able to do that? Are these books on level for her?

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You know because you've quizzed her on her comprehension? Or you just sort of "know"?

 

If I ask her questions after she finishes reading. She doesn't remember much. That applies to her retention rate of an event just happened.

 

Also when I see how fast she flips through pages, there's no way a person can read that fast without skipping a lot of stuff.

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The speed seems normal to me, but... I'm not, so...

 

Is this novels/free reading/etc or textbooks? 8 is on the cusp of transitioning to "read to learn," does she show signs of being able to do that? Are these books on level for her?

 

that is a very good question!

 

The books are the ones for leisure - fictions and non fictions she picked from from library, so I am assuming they are at her level. Her favorites are Ronald Dohls' and the comic books from Beast Academy.

 

I am not sure how to tell signs of being able to "read to learn"? I was wondering about that lately. Do you mind sharing?

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If I ask her questions after she finishes reading. She doesn't remember much. That applies to her retention rate of an event just happened.

 

Also when I see how fast she flips through pages, there's no way a person can read that fast without skipping a lot of stuff.

 

Have you tried asking at a later time? Maybe it takes a bit to sink in and settle out.

 

When you say an event that just happened, do mean like she can't remember that you went to Target this morning, got orange juice, they didn't have any cranberry juice, there was a lady wearing a purple skirt, and the cashier liked her socks; or that even the Target trip can't be recalled?

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that is a very good question!

 

The books are the ones for leisure - fictions and non fictions she picked from from library, so I am assuming they are at her level. Her favorites are Ronald Dohls' and the comic books from Beast Academy.

 

I am not sure how to tell signs of being able to "read to learn"? I was wondering about that lately. Do you mind sharing?

 

I think of it as a shorthand for focussing less on "How To Read" and parsing out basic facts about a story or text and focussing more onto deliberately using printed info as a knowledge source, like doing the SQR3-type system. I vaguely remember we started doing worksheet versions in mid/upper elementary. So if she had a nonfic on turtles or something, and she needed to know how baby turtles get here, could she answer that question after reading the book. Rather than just reading a book on turtles and incidentally picking up new words/knowledge. 

 

Also, does she have any vision problems?

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As somebody who reads really very quickly, I'll submit that you may be mistaken here.

Same here. I once had a friend time me as I read a page and then quiz me about it because he couldn't believe I could retain anything at that speed. I had no problem answering his questions.

 

However, reading too quickly without processing can affect comprehension and that's been an issue for me at times as well. I do have to slow down to process ideas when I'm reading something more complex, and I've had to train myself to do that.

 

I'd be inclined to give your daughter short passages (2-3 pages) of "read to learn" material. Then do narration questions with her. This should demonstrate to you AND to her whether she is comprehending what she is reading.

 

I wondered the same thing about my DD9's speed and comprehension at the beginning of the year, so I gave her assigned history reading and narrations. Turns out that her comprehension is excellent. She's just a fast reader, like her mama.

 

I think it would be pretty unusual for a kid to read that much if she wasn't really understanding most of it. It would get confusing or boring.

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I have a VERY fast reader, who also rereads his favorites. I have several times said "there's no way you've read that much in this little time" only to discover I was wrong (oral quizzing). He is reading, he remembers. He visualizes it all like a movie in his head, so rereading is like rewatching a favorite movie. It is painful for him to read slowly, like watching an entire movie in slow-mo. So I only ask him to try and slow down under select circumstances.

 

However, what I have noticed is that he takes no time to contemplate. He doesn't think "syntopically." For him it is entertainment. That is where my concern is - passive reading (no speed). We are working on this. I'm hoping his spring lit class online will help too!

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I’m a very fast reader. Imagine my shock when my then 7 year old could read a page more quickly than me! He does retain what he reads and is still a fast reader at 9.

 

I would assume she is reading enough to at least understand what is happening otherwise what would be the point of flipping quickly through the pages?

 

For leisure reading I wouldn’t be concerned, if she can’t understand what she is reading for school then I would be more concerned. I definitely read more slowly when it’s for learning vs pleasure.

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I have a VERY fast reader, who also rereads his favorites. I have several times said "there's no way you've read that much in this little time" only to discover I was wrong (oral quizzing). He is reading, he remembers. He visualizes it all like a movie in his head, so rereading is like rewatching a favorite movie. It is painful for him to read slowly, like watching an entire movie in slow-mo. So I only ask him to try and slow down under select circumstances.

 

However, what I have noticed is that he takes no time to contemplate. He doesn't think "syntopically." For him it is entertainment. That is where my concern is - passive reading (no speed). We are working on this. I'm hoping his spring lit class online will help too!

I love your way of describing it: for some kids, reading slowly like watching an entire movie in slow motion. That explains why DD8 does not enjoy being read to. She is extremely focused when she reads. So asking question in the middle just annoys her.

 

How do you work with your child on this? what kind of online class might help?

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My dd went from learning to read to a skimming-type of reading skill -- which is a pretty cool skill, but I had the same concerns as you do. My strategy was just to call that 'a quick read through' (great for some applications) and teach slower more careful reading for other applications. Once she could choose what kind of reading was suitable she did fine.

 

She devours fiction, forgets it swiftly, and re-reads favorites many times but she can read more closely when she wants to do so.

 

She can also flip through a book accurately and efficiently skimming for the information she wants, and reading closely when she finds it -- which is a really useful skill for her academic future.

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Thanks for all the replies! It is helpful to know people have really different reading styles.

 

Targhee raised a very good question: how to get kids to contemplate after reading? My first reaction would be to ask a lot of questions via the socratic method. I have no experience on this. Anyone can shed some light on this?

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I love your way of describing it: for some kids, reading slowly like watching an entire movie in slow motion. That explains why DD8 does not enjoy being read to. She is extremely focused when she reads. So asking question in the middle just annoys her.

 

How do you work with your child on this? what kind of online class might help?

I don't know about classes for the skill directly, but he is taking online G3's LLftLotR class next term. He's read the books several times and even joined in on LLftLotR with older sister some last year. However, he usually checked out during discussions. I am hoping that having an outside teacher and peers will motivate him to join in conversation, which will motivate him to think more about what he reads.

 

At home we talk about context. When reading for pleasure, full speed ahead. When reading for information, slow down and reread parts if necessary. When reading to make connections, take time to savor and ruminate. Now I don't just say those things, but I model my thinking, and we do practice exercises (Jacob's Ladder) together. Also he uses W&R which has discussion points for the literary selections which translate into topics for writing.

 

I will add that, aside from having him do some reading comprehension exercises (Even-Moor Daily Science in 3rd/4th) we did not make him slow down when he was younger.

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If you want to improve her comprehension, you can find a number of very short, simple reading comprehension packets online for free. A kid I know, his school uses pages from Readworks.org which seem adequate. I think it's important not to mesh "fun reading" with "school reading" - don't want to kill the joy!

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DD8 reads book in an extremely fast pace (a few hundred pages during a regular school day for example). She much prefers to ready by herself silently, because reading it aloud apparently slows her down. If occasionally she lets me to read to her, she objects when I stop and ask questions to see if she understands.

 

 

Are these books for enjoyment that you're reading aloud and stopping to ask her questions? I would object to that, as well. :-)

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Well, I was a fast reader because I skimmed. I could have answered plot questions fine, but I was missing all the description. Most of the plot was in the dialogue, and that's what I paid attention to. That is fine for Trixie Belden and Ramona Quimby, but doesn't work for everything. As an adult I have become a much slower reader. I back up and re-read constantly, either to enjoy a part again or because I realize that I've skimmed. As the books get more difficult, skimming leaves me lost. I wish I had learned to slow down and read every word as a kid.

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You know, I don't think this is necessarily a "fast reader" problem, although it's true that the more you read, the more your brain just kind of learns to prune out all the stuff that seems unnecessary to remember on a long-term basis. I prefer to see that as a marvelous feature of the human brain rather than evidence that a person can't read to learn.

 

In terms of short-term comprehension, that can easily be worked on and tested. I have no idea what the reading comprehension passages I did during my school days and on standardized tests were about-- thank you, brain! they weren't worth holding onto-- but I always scored in the 99th percentile on those. Narration, of course, is another great way to work on comprehension and short-term retention, but unless the ideas are encountered in different ways again and again over the course of time, why would the brain hold on to the information you encounter in a book any more than, say, something ordinary that happened to you last week?

 

We "make memories" not just by experiencing events or reading books, but by talking about them and referring back to them. And this is one of the reasons I think homeschooling (or just involved parenting) will always be more successful than artificial School Exercises. If I can talk to my kids about what they're reading and help draw them out and then find ways to make the things that are worth remembering relevant and meaningful, that will aid long-term retention of the things that are worth remembering.

 

But no kid sits and devours pages and pages of books on a regular basis without having a good amount of reading comprehension. That would be horrendously boring! It can be hard whether you're a good reader or a bad reader to want to read books that you have to slow down to comprehend and enjoy, but that is a separate issue from not being able to. And it's another argument for giving kids enough experiences and discussions to think it's interesting and worthwhile to learn more about certain challenging subjects!

Edited by fralala
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Are these books for enjoyment that you're reading aloud and stopping to ask her questions? I would object to that, as well. :-)

 

I gave up reading to her in English long ago because it is not enjoyable for either of us (fast vs slow readers). :)

 

She is a fluent reader in two languages (because we live in Canada). I only read to her in the third language in which she is yet to be fluent.

 

The fast reading also impacts her presentation: we are doing NaNoWriMo. She and her friend take turn to present their writing. And the comments she received is always - slow down so people can understand. Have you had experience helping kids to do a presentation? From my own experience, when I get nervous, I rush through material too.

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For the presentations, practice! Maybe she can present to her stuffies :) I still do!! It helps some. Also, thinking of it as a conversation or a theatre thing, whichever helps more.

 

Is she presenting a summary/review of her story, or reading the story?

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There are plenty of gobble books out there: when reading primarily for entertainment, I think a lot of good readers "gobble". But sometimes it is good to slow down. Complex plots, intriguing characters, dense language can be good speed bumps. Forcing yourself to read just one chapter, and then come back and reading it later in the day can be a way to force a reader to slow down to digest. 

Taking notes, collecting words for vocabulary, finding passages you like--all of those things can slow a reader down.

And the best way--read it aloud...

 

I wouldn't try any of that with a gobble book, but I have done it with complicated books, but also with books where there was a little bit of writing that was weak, and I wanted the boys to consider how they might make that writing stronger. Reading aloud is a good way for a reader to find places that are important, find places that are less important, and to reflect while reading. It will make her a stronger writer. As for helping her to slow down, try to model the reading for her, and then have her try to imitate that slower, more intense reading style that is like telling the story. It's her story, she can be proud of it. And tell it like she "sees" it. Like a movie, if that makes sense. Let the story play in her head as she reads it, acts the characters, lets them move through the scenery, react to each other.

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My dd is exactly like this and she is also stealth dyslexic :)

 

I would just have a little comprehension practice with worthy Children’s classics during the school day. You read a few pages to yourself and then let her read it silently and check her comprehension.

 

The next day do the next few pages, and you don’t have to do it every day.

 

Later on you should have her practice reading aloud. My dd now still Skips words when reading out loud but it’s rare - at your dd’s age I really would worry about skipping words but with time my dd learned to slow down a little when reading out loud to others :) still, when she babysits the kids are pretty confused becuDe she reads too quickly for them lol!

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I have a VERY fast reader, who also rereads his favorites. I have several times said "there's no way you've read that much in this little time" only to discover I was wrong (oral quizzing). He is reading, he remembers. He visualizes it all like a movie in his head, so rereading is like rewatching a favorite movie. It is painful for him to read slowly, like watching an entire movie in slow-mo. So I only ask him to try and slow down under select circumstances.

 

However, what I have noticed is that he takes no time to contemplate. He doesn't think "syntopically." For him it is entertainment. That is where my concern is - passive reading (no speed). We are working on this. I'm hoping his spring lit class online will help too!

 

My son had a teacher that addressed this by requiring the children to only read one chapter a night. They could NOT read ahead. They could read that one chapter multiple times (and were encouraged to). They needed to interact with that chapter in some way: Write down questions (which would be discussed in book club) the next day, draw a picture from the chapter, pick out a favorite quotation. Connect it with another book they had read/events they remember from their life/history. But do not move on.

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^^ I don’t know why that would be necessary or advisable..... A method which I can only assume is borne of the institution where the teacher doesn’t have multiple options.

 

But we have multiple options! Let her read as fast as she wants in his own time.

 

During school time, have her slow

Down and summarize or engage in other ways.

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Fast reading is a skill that makes schoolwork and life in general much easier. I am one of these freakishly fast readers, and so is my adult daughter. My grandmother used to read a book a day.

 

In school, being able to read the assignments fast, and write fast (also have that) means that one can get more done in less time. At work, same thing. Reading an email in 2 seconds, zipping through medical records to find the one thing you need saves so much time for other things. It's one of my strengths. I of course read more carefully when needed, which is slower, but still really fast.

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I'm an extremely fast reader. In elementary school, a Babysitters Club chapter book would take about an hour to read. I don't read words, per se. I see word groups and just know what it says. I assume others do the same when they read quickly. I also detest am being read to. I can do far more quickly. Demonstrating my comprehension is a bit more dicey.

 

Example: My 6th grade class was reading a chapter silently. I finished way ahead of the other kids, and I asked our sub what to do next. I had read it faster than she had, so she didn't believe I'd read it. She asked me a very open-ended question - "What was the chapter about?" Now, I could've written a paragraph about what it was about, but when answering orally, it takes me a minute. Everything in the story goes through my mind, and it takes me a second to sort out a short answer. After all, lots of stuff happened in the chapter! Because I hesitated (both due to being caught off-guard and trying to formulate a response), she decided that I hadn't read the chapter. Thus, I had to sit back down and re-read. I read the chapter 2 more times before she called time. It was pretty frustrating.

 

If I had to constantly go back and re-read, or if I was forced to read slower, I would grow to hate reading.

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I was a very fast reader as a child, but I was an excellent, advanced reader.

 

DD12 reads quickly and skips things and rushes, and she is dyslexic.

 

What you describe could be either. She is still so young. I think you should separate her independent reading, which she can do as she pleases, from school reading.

 

During her school reading lessons, you can use a comprehension based reading program (we liked CLE Reading -- different from CLE language arts, but there are many options available). If you work closely with her and find that both her decoding and comprehension are fine when supervised, then you can feel confident that she is on the right track. Just continue with both independent and direct instruction reading time.

 

If you work closely with her and find that she is struggling with decoding and/or comprehension, there are strategies that you can employ to help her. The key is figuring out whether there is actually a problem or not, so working closely with her is important.

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I would just let her go. My daughter is like this. We gave her a Kindle Fire with a subscription to FreeTime Unlimited and she just devours books unlike anything I've ever seen! If I need her to comprehend something for school, I do it as a read-aloud. 

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^^ I don’t know why that would be necessary or advisable..... A method which I can only assume is borne of the institution where the teacher doesn’t have multiple options.

 

But we have multiple options! Let her read as fast as she wants in his own time.

 

During school time, have her slow

Down and summarize or engage in other ways.

That may be so. But what I think the benefit would be is leaving space for thought - deeper thought than flying through the book at least.
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^^ my dd would literally have become depressed if she had been told she may only read one chapter per day. Why can’t the student have slower deeper thought another time?

 

Secondly I don’t know why you assume deeper thought is not possible for these kudos. My dd reads hundreds of pages per day. When she reads true classics maybe that’s less. She engages with the material all day, when she’s not reading, she talks to me about the culture, the plot, vocab words she learned. Often she re-reads the entire book and engages in a new way :)

 

Not everyone processes the same

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^^ my dd would literally have become depressed if she had been told she may only read one chapter per day. Why can’t the student have slower deeper thought another time?

 

Secondly I don’t know why you assume deeper thought is not possible for these kudos. My dd reads hundreds of pages per day. When she reads true classics maybe that’s less. She engages with the material all day, when she’s not reading, she talks to me about the culture, the plot, vocab words she learned. Often she re-reads the entire book and engages in a new way :)

 

Not everyone processes the same

This. Absolutely this.

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My son had a teacher that addressed this by requiring the children to only read one chapter a night. They could NOT read ahead. They could read that one chapter multiple times (and were encouraged to). They needed to interact with that chapter in some way: Write down questions (which would be discussed in book club) the next day, draw a picture from the chapter, pick out a favorite quotation. Connect it with another book they had read/events they remember from their life/history. But do not move on.

 

 

^^ my dd would literally have become depressed if she had been told she may only read one chapter per day. Why can’t the student have slower deeper thought another time?

 

Secondly I don’t know why you assume deeper thought is not possible for these kudos. My dd reads hundreds of pages per day. When she reads true classics maybe that’s less. She engages with the material all day, when she’s not reading, she talks to me about the culture, the plot, vocab words she learned. Often she re-reads the entire book and engages in a new way :)

 

Not everyone processes the same

The way I read vonfirmath's post, the teacher was requiring this of ONE assigned novel for school, not attempting to restrict independent reading.

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^^ my dd would literally have become depressed if she had been told she may only read one chapter per day. Why can’t the student have slower deeper thought another time?

 

Secondly I don’t know why you assume deeper thought is not possible for these kudos. My dd reads hundreds of pages per day. When she reads true classics maybe that’s less. She engages with the material all day, when she’s not reading, she talks to me about the culture, the plot, vocab words she learned. Often she re-reads the entire book and engages in a new way :)

 

Not everyone processes the same

I don't assume that they don't think deeply about the book (two of my kids and my spouse are all very fast readers. They think at different levels about their reading from each other - partly from personality and partly from maturity). What I was saying was the motives of the teacher probably are not solely to contain the class at the same point, and that putting the book down for a while gives space for thinking - by dropping the processing of the written word more of your mind is free to contemplate on the book TO THAT POINT. There's something valuable, and often the very intention of skilled writers, in pausing and assessing our thoughts/positions/outlooks/understandings at points along the way.

 

I don't know that I'd ever confine reading to a single chapter - maybe yes, maybe no depending on what my plan is for discussion and such. I'd never do that for pleasure reading, because it serves a different purpose and is frankly none of my business. My business is teaching and mentoring my child towards something better than they can achieve alone.

 

The reason I am trying to work on slowing my DS down in any context is to give him more space to think even *deeper* than he has been. And to learn that some texts we approach not for entertainment nor for what we find novel nor solely for theme, conflict, plot and character development, etc but for the very purpose of stopping and thinking.

 

I admire the ability to read quickly, and know that it is unrelated to the capacity for deep thought. I do know that like a hike through the mountains, there is excitement, achievement, and much to be gained when you reach the destination, but there is often something equally profound in the moments you pause, give trail, and take in where you are at that moment.

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^^ my dd would literally have become depressed if she had been told she may only read one chapter per day. Why can’t the student have slower deeper thought another time?

 

Secondly I don’t know why you assume deeper thought is not possible for these kudos. My dd reads hundreds of pages per day. When she reads true classics maybe that’s less. She engages with the material all day, when she’s not reading, she talks to me about the culture, the plot, vocab words she learned. Often she re-reads the entire book and engages in a new way :)

 

Not everyone processes the same

Same around here. DD9 is reading the Anne of Green Gables series (speedily) and is full of thoughtful questions.

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Same around here. DD9 is reading the Anne of Green Gables series (speedily) and is full of thoughtful questions.

I guess we are talking about different things. That's great! Don't slow her down!

I'm not talking about general literature. I'm talking teaching to slow down now and ruminate on short, select pieces in order to be ready for reading essays, works of philosophy, allegories, poetry, etc

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I guess we are talking about different things. That's great! Don't slow her down!

I'm not talking about general literature. I'm talking teaching to slow down now and ruminate on short, select pieces in order to be ready for reading essays, works of philosophy, allegories, poetry, etc

I do get what you are saying and I agree. We have a lot of "slow down and consider" in daily poetry reading, Bible reading, history narrations, etc, even memory work, where we slowly think through the meaning of the passages.

 

I read quickly, but sometimes have to remind myself to slow down and process more complex ideas. So I definitely see what you mean. I just do think that it's also possible to read literature at at a high speed and still engage with it deeply - have it sink into your soul and change you. There are so many books that have deeply impacted me even though I read them quickly. So I see the need for both/and, not either/or - which I think is what you were saying as well.

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I guess what I was responding to, was taking the post I wasn't sure I agreed with, in the context of the OP's post...if you re-read it sounds like she's just talking about the child's general reading...not her school reading...

 

But yes there's nothing wrong with requiring children to slow down, for one book, that they are reading with you, so that you can gauge where the child is at, and so child can learn the "other way" of doing things.

 

BUT I still would definitely encourage people to realize that just because someone consumes a novel in an hour doesn't mean he or she doesn't engage with it in very deep ways.  Often these people think about, ponder about, and talk about the book all day long, while doing other things.

  

:) 

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Thank you everyone for the wonderful discussion! Respecting and observing might be the best a parent can do and everyone has different reading and learning style!

 

YogaGirl recommended readtheory.org, which looks very good. TedED also comes with comprehension questions but they are usually challenging for my 8yrs old.

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The way I read vonfirmath's post, the teacher was requiring this of ONE assigned novel for school, not attempting to restrict independent reading.

 

Oh definitely. It was for the one assigned book for class they had to do this. They could do all the independent reading they had time and wanted to do.  (And even use that independent reading to relate to the book chapter being read for class! Which I found would encourage my son sometimes to go back and re-read a book to see if he could find some half-remembered scene and see if it really related.

 

They did this with books like Secret Garden

Wrinkle in Time

Number the Stars

 

 

Others I don't remember the title of currently.

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My son had a teacher that addressed this by requiring the children to only read one chapter a night. They could NOT read ahead. They could read that one chapter multiple times (and were encouraged to). They needed to interact with that chapter in some way: Write down questions (which would be discussed in book club) the next day, draw a picture from the chapter, pick out a favorite quotation. Connect it with another book they had read/events they remember from their life/history. But do not move on.

 

I would have hated that teacher, lol. 

 

Another quick reader here. 

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I didn't read all the replies yet, I will later, but here's my question: Shouldn't everyone be able to sometimes stop mid-read and discuss?  I'm not saying that's the only way they should ever handle printed material, but I think there are times everyone should be able to do this activity without being upset by it.  It may not be someone's preference, (far from it for some people) and it may not be necessary to do it that way a large percentage of the time, but I think everyone should be able to do it just like I think everyone should sometimes get to read a book cover to cover for the sheer joy of it without having to discuss or analyze it.

The only way someone can know for sure what level of comprehension a child has by either having the child talk or write about what they read.  I think narrations of some sort (parts to whole or whole to parts) should be regularly included in every neurotypical child's education. Not for every assignment in every subject, but especially when a parent is trying to figure out exactly how much understanding and retention a child in something in particular.

Part of learning styles is the student learning to engage with materials and content that aren't in the student's preferred style, so I would always keep that in mind. I do think it's possible to hyper-customize a child's education and that's not a good thing. A balanced approach to "required as is" and "customized/adapted" is something homeschoolers should consciously aim for. My adult daughters have told me about other local homeschoolers struggling in co-op type environments and adult education who came from hyper-customized homeschoolers who confided in them that it was a huge struggle to be faced with a teacher who isn't concerned about their learning styles or personal interest levels.  That's not something I see with homeschoolers in general, but it does happen now and then.

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