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4KookieKids

Specific areas to target for reading tests

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DS10 is 2e (dyslexia, dysgraphia, ADHD, and autism) and taking the PSAT 8/9 this year through Numats. He really wants to improve his language score this year over last year, but I'm not actually sure how to help him. I will not put him in one of those actual "improve your score" classes at this point. He's in level 6 of Barton and is reading voraciously, though I don't really test him on what he's reading, so I have no way of knowing how much is being skipped or missed. That aside, when he does sit down to practice a bit on readtheory.org (please, no judgement! It's all his idea...), he'll call me over for wrong answers, and the answers are just SO obviously wrong that I'm almost embarrassed for him. lol. So I walk him through the question and why the right answer is right and the others are each wrong, but he just makes the same mistake again next time. He makes all the classic mistakes (like choosing an answer because they use the same wording as the passage, or focusing on a detail but missing the big picture) but doesn't write down any notes or keywords or anything because of the dysgraphia thing making writing hard. Does it make me a bad parent to say that I want to figure out something he can do on his own to learn what he needs to learn? I'm quite busy with other kids whose needs are more pressing than improving a score on a talent search test, you know? He's motivated to learn it, but I don't really know where to start on something like this, quite honestly. 

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I think just reading widely and listening to audiobooks at a higher level than reading ability  can't help but improve scores.

 

I’ve never heard of readtheory.org How does that site work?

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4 hours ago, arliemaria said:

I think just reading widely and listening to audiobooks at a higher level than reading ability  can't help but improve scores.

 

I’ve never heard of readtheory.org How does that site work?

He listens to a lot, but I wonder if it's not his autism that hinders him from answering the questions correctly, because he doesn't get nuances and has a hard time seeing the forest for the trees, you know?

Readtheory is basically like a test: you read a passage and then answer multiple choice questions about it. It explains why the wrong answers are wrong and why the right one is right after you answer them. It automatically adjusts the reading level of your passages based on how well you answered the questions on the previous passage (i.e., good answer -> higher reading level, more wrong -> lower reading level passage). It's pretty straight-forward. 🙂

Edited by 4KookieKids

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14 minutes ago, 4KookieKids said:

I wonder if it's not his autism that hinders him from answering the questions correctly, because he doesn't get nuances and has a hard time seeing the forest for the trees, you know?

That would be typical and is the case with many of our kids with ASD.

Mindwing Concept's Story Grammar/Thememaker products has a lot resources for this kind of thing. They also have icons to represent different aspects of the text, and those icons are available as magnets, stickers, stamps, etc. 

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Something else to keep in mind — with multiple choice, you don’t know how kids do on coming up with their own sentence.  This can go two ways.  One, do they know how to form the sentence.  Two, can they come up with the answer when it’s not provided to them in some way — can they independently come up with the answer.  That can be different from selecting it, or being helped.  

It can be good to check up on this because it is something that gets obfuscated by multiple choice tests and then shows up in a big way in writing.  This is a common kind of thing to happen with autism.  

It’s a big can of worms, but kids who are not so natural at comprehension do not make the same gains from reading or listening on their own, as kids who are more natural.  It’s an area to look at doing instruction or intervention.  Or — it might not get a lot better.  This isn’t dyslexia where kids are often expected to have comprehension strengths.  It’s not kids who naturally pick things up by listening or reading on their own.  

There are a lot of options and discussing and explaining are also great.  

Mindwings is great!  

 

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2 hours ago, Lecka said:

Something else to keep in mind — with multiple choice, you don’t know how kids do on coming up with their own sentence.  This can go two ways.  One, do they know how to form the sentence.  Two, can they come up with the answer when it’s not provided to them in some way — can they independently come up with the answer.  That can be different from selecting it, or being helped.  

It can be good to check up on this because it is something that gets obfuscated by multiple choice tests and then shows up in a big way in writing.  This is a common kind of thing to happen with autism.  

It’s a big can of worms, but kids who are not so natural at comprehension do not make the same gains from reading or listening on their own, as kids who are more natural.  It’s an area to look at doing instruction or intervention.  Or — it might not get a lot better.  This isn’t dyslexia where kids are often expected to have comprehension strengths.  It’s not kids who naturally pick things up by listening or reading on their own.  

There are a lot of options and discussing and explaining are also great.  

Mindwings is great!  

 

I will check out mindwings. We had planned to try to start IEW with him after Christmas. We were waiting just to see if dd8 could get through Level 4 of Barton and potentially join him in doing it. Would that address some of these things, since you're talking about writing?

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I don’t know specifically.  

It might.  Really — if they can do it it probably does!  What happens sometimes is — there are programs like IEW that everybody says are great, but then you go to try to do it and it is too hard or somehow inaccessible.  Then that is how you might start trying more intervention-y programs.  Not that I think Mindwings is “only” intervention-y ———— it’s not like Barton where I think it’s more exclusively intervention-y.  

But Mindwings also has really informative stuff that is going to explain about issues commonly seen with autism.  And not only Mindwings — but things that are mentioning autism in a pretty experienced way like the people have actually worked with kids and used programs with kids with autism. 

So I think to some extent — it’s great to use regular programs when they are a good fit.  And to some extent it’s good to look at autism stuff, too.  

I think Kbutton has used the Mindwings stuff the most of posters here.  

I have the autism collection and it is good.  

I have also had Social Thinking programs over the years and they have a lot of autism materials too.  

I think to some extent — you can start trying to notice things.  Like — can they answer certain kinds of questions but not others?  Whenever there is a kind of question they can’t answer, even if they can answer other kinds of questions at the same level, it is a problem.  Not if it’s like — one time.  But if it’s pretty common that one kind of question is missed, that’s something to look at.

Like — if questions being missed that are a problem with “seeing the forest for the trees,” does that mean some of those questions are main idea questions?  Well — that is common with autism.  And then there is a lot of stuff for finding the main idea.

And then in writing instruction there might be content about filling in a graphic organizer with topic and details, there might be content about writing down a topic and 3 supporting details.  And that is an example where writing and reading comprehension can go together.  

But if you are in a situation where you are doing IEW and your kids (or one of them) consistently are not able to do these (or whatever), then that is where — you probably are going to want autism materials (to supplement or as your main program).  And again Mindwings is not a program that is only intervention or supplementary.  But it’s up to you.

What happens too is —————— lower levels don’t work.  Then people go into x program.  Then maybe later they “could” move back into a regular program.  But by then they are happy with what they are doing and don’t see a reason to switch.  So it gets hard to say and maybe people don’t switch back to things.

Also a lot of times — if somebody tried a program or type when their kids were younger, they may not want to go back to it if it was a poor fit before.  It doesn’t mean it would still be a poor fit, though.  But a lot of times people are like — “I’m done with that.”

You should know — for some autism reading comprehension issues — of course it depends!  But some things can be expected at a shockingly young age (like K-2) and that can make it hard to cover those things because — they can be things just not really covered past 2nd grade in usual curriculums.  Especially with fiction.  This is not everybody, but it is a common thing.  

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In a general way — not knowing specifics — but in a general way — he will probably have trouble in writing with the same kinds of things that go with the questions he is missing on the website. 

 

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Overall if you look at the samples and think “they can do this” then that is a good sign 🙂

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25 minutes ago, Lecka said:

You should know — for some autism reading comprehension issues — of course it depends!  But some things can be expected at a shockingly young age (like K-2) and that can make it hard to cover those things because — they can be things just not really covered past 2nd grade in usual curriculums.  Especially with fiction.  This is not everybody, but it is a common thing.  

This is a huge problem!!! It gets particularly hard to find things you can use with older kids!

My son tested, with multiple choice, quite well on both fiction and nonfiction reading comprehension very early (like post-8th grade in 3rd grade), and then he failed to make any progress at all until 9th grade. Writing wasn't even possible. Let that sink in. He's profoundly gifted. 

Besides writing being a total nonstarter (other than doing things like sentence combining, etc., which he could do beautifully) our first clue of a problem was that he could not tell back a story unless he told it back in huge detail. We didn't realize this was a big problem--we just knew it was a thing. But he could carry on a great discussion about books (something kids can sometimes do because it's back and forth dialog, and we're supplying context, modeling answers, etc., and it can mask a potential problem), so we thought things were fine. 

We made progress after doing narrative language testing (TNL) and doing narrative language intervention. The TNL showed a major gap between comprehension and narrative production (from picture prompts, etc.), and quirks in the comprehension. We also did a Test of Problem Solving (adolescent version), and there were holes in the area of transferring insights from one situation to another (which is probably due to the problem with ASD and generalizing things). We also found that with more up-to-date reading scales than what were used in his previous testing, he did a little less well on reading comprehension, and when rephrased questions to be open-ended vs. multiple choice, his ability to answer plummeted. 

So, those were our signs, and of course, inferencing was one of the weaker areas at about the same age.

Sorry to be bleak!

IEW--so, my son could do some things, like a key work outline and then paraphrase, but paraphrases are about the same length as the original. Summarizing/re-telling are usually shorter. My son could not (and is still learning to) be able to scale any kind of language production or retelling to various lengths. It's excruciating. Also with IEW, they do a lot of dress-ups and formulaic stuff. It can be fine, but I think if my son had internalized that, he would've not really been able to be flexible about writing later (also an ASD thing). 

I do know people whose kids needed a nudge in the right direction and some time to play with words that other people had come up with that did well with IEW. I think that's a benefit of using it. My son actually does well using other people's words and experimenting with things sentence combining, stylistic stuff, etc., but there are other resources for that without going all the way into IEW. 

Edited by kbutton
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This is something where I used to get really angry with a therapist we had..... my son would say something correct but not responding to the question properly -- she would address it and I would be like "come on, what he said was fine."  I would really get angry and resentful, but she was really good otherwise.  

Now I am like ----- I see it more, that those things are problems and it can take being picky in ways.  

Because it can be like ----- are they really creative, or can they not answer the question.  It can be both.  

I think there can be times where it's not time to care and just enjoy some creativity and personality, and other times where it is time to be picky and say "really let's answer the question that was asked."  Or -- let's make the obvious connection, too, not only the creative connection.  

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I'm currently tutoring a kid in the SAT and as far as I can tell the PSAT 8/9 is the same style test.  You may not know, but the SAT reading portion does not test understanding or interpretation of fiction/nonfiction texts.  It tests the ability to find details in a passage. So if you want to do better on the *test* not better on reading comprehension, the trick is to not read the passage from start to finish.  If you read it all, your mind starts to put together a picture of what you know, what you can infer, what you can interpret.  And the SAT does not test that AT ALL. In fact, many of the wrong answers are reasonable interpretations.  In fact, there are lots of words that actually will lead you to look for interpretations - words like "best", "most nearly", "mainly" - cross these words out.  There is only ONE correct answer, and the words/evidence will be STATED in the passage.  Your job is to be like a lawyer and be super picky and find the *exact* place in the passage that the answer resides. 

So the best technique for the kid I am working with is to 

1) NOT read the passage

2) skip questions without a line citation, and go to the questions with the line citation and do them first.

3) read the line citation, and then read one sentence before and one sentence after the citation.

4) Go through each of the multiple choice answers, and find where in the passage it is clearly proven right or wrong. Do this for all 4 possible answers.

5) Only when all line citation questions are completed, do you go after the ones without a citation (which is usually only 30%)

6) Then having muddled around with the passage with the other questions, you often have a feel for where you should look for answers when the question has no line citations. If you can't, guess and move on.

This is clearly NOT good for developing true language arts skills. But the SAT is not testing that. It is testing the ability to read a single sentence or paragraph and look for a specific detail. If it is not in the passage, it is NOT the right answer even if it is actually true.

Hope this helps,

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