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reading comprehension help


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I have a almost 12 yr old dd who is in the 6th grade. Reading comprehension has always been something of a struggle for her. She's improved ALOT since we've been homeschooling. She enjoys reading now, although she's not a fast reader. Reading comprehension was the area she scored lowest on last year when she tested.


I've continued using the Abeka read and think skill sheets with her twice a week. She still cannot answer half the questions within the time frame. I told her this was not "pleasure reading" and I wanted her to start reading the questions first and then going to find the answers.


I'm looking for suggestions. I know this won't be a quick fix, but nothing I've tried seems to be helping.




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A recent 5th grader I taught was thought to have comprehension problems by her Mom and the school.


Actually, she was suffering from a phonics deficit and too many sight words.


The 5th grader was reading at grade level on one test and 1 grade level above on another test and didn't miss any words when reading aloud, but had a comprehension problem. When I gave her the MWIA, she read the phonetic list 62% slower than the holistic list. I'm going to retest her after her break is finished, but she's comprehending more and reading faster now, and based on her work with Webster and M.K. Henry's words, I think she'll be reading at the 8th or 10th grade level now, but I won't know for sure until I test her.


You can give the MWIA (use the MWIA II for her--the MWIA I is for younger children or older children reading below a 2nd grade level) to see if there is a problem. If she misses more phonetic than holistic words or reads the phonetic portion more than 15% slower than the holistic portion, she needs some remedial phonics work. The MWIA and some reading grade level tests are here:




It only takes 5 or 10 minutes to give, and there are a lot of good free and inexpensive interventions if there is a problem with phonics. It's worth 5 or 10 minutes to make sure there isn't a subtle phonics problem.


If there is a problem, her reading speed with slow down at first while you're remediating with phonics, then it will speed up as decoding becomes more automated. However, even during the slow down, comprehension should increase.


Here’s a post by a teacher who remediates a lot of students, and why she believes there aren’t any students without other problems who are great decoders but poor comprehenders (and she offered money for anyone who could find one!):



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I think I'll do this with her tomorrow. We had borrowed the Phonics Game and started earlier this year, but it got pushed to the back burner with everything else we had going on. It wouldn't hurt for us to start back with that.


Thanks for the websites. Keep the ideas coming!



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You're welcome!


For phonics remediation, I recommend my online phonics lessons, they're geared for remedial older children and adults.


Webster's Speller is also good, here's a thread about how to use it:




I also like Don Potter's Blend Phonics reader, the words are arranged to help them see the problems caused by guessing at similar words (Near the bottom,l under Blend Phonics supplements):




And, my concentration game makes both real and nonsense words, I've found nonsense words helpful for remedial students:



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