Some kids have a harder time in school than others. If you’ve homeschooled more than one child, I’m sure you know this very well. And their struggles can be so different from the other one.
I have one child that has difficulty with reading comprehension. I could see there were problems with understanding when they were younger but as they’ve grown older, it’s manifested itself more clearly.
I made mistakes along the way and would say things like, “You’re not paying attention,” “How are you supposed to learn if you don’t pay attention?” This only damaged their confidence.
I have been thinking about this comprehension problem for a while and have reflected that if something’s not getting through to the child, it’s the way it’s being taught. Quit blaming the child and find what works for them.
Recently, I decided I had to figure out what I could do to help this child. About.com was absolutely no help. In response to a mother asking about her child who has already been diagnosed with a learning difficulty, the only suggestions they could give were to tell me what could be wrong with her child, that she might have attention or language deficits.
Tell me something I didn’t know already!
Excuse my rant but the lady already knew her child had a problem. She needed some concrete help. Seriously, About.com is mostly fluff on all subjects in my opinion.
So I kept looking and I found a most helpful and informative article “How Can I Help My Child With Reading Comprehension” by Christine Woodcock.
(Bold highlights are mine)
Comprehension is NOT natural for many people.
Many children are decoders, not readers. Children must know that text is supposed to make sense. Similarly, lots of children, unfortunately, simply don’t know how to comprehend, merely because no one has ever showed them how to make meaning from a text. The connections come easer and quicker for some than others. Most adults cannot point to a specific time when they learned to comprehend. It is something we just… did. The problem is that some youngsters need and deserve explicit instruction in how to comprehend. When this happens, they can grow up loving to read, and seeing the value in reading! Not surprisingly, folks who have severe difficulties comprehending hate to read. It’s a safe bet to assume they would love to read if they had explicit comprehension instruction.
Comprehension is an active, inner conversation
Unlike passive activities such as playing video games or watching TV, reading is an active process in our brains. Strategic readers address their thinking in an inner conversation that helps them make sense of what they read. Help to foster these inner (and outer) conversations with your children by discussing their texts with them.
I know this may seem overly simplistic, but…
Your children need books that they can actually read! When considering your child’s reading comprehension difficulties, the difficulty level of the text may be more than 90% of the battle. When a book is too hard, your child is using up all of his/her brain power on decoding the words, that he/she simply cannot make any sense of it. On the other hand, when your child reads books that are comfortable, he/she can have the inner conversations and attempt to make sense of the text in an enjoyable and much less agonizing way.
“Your children need books that they can actually read!” How true! What purpose does it serve if they “decode” the book and have no understanding of what they just read? I want my child to read with understanding.
I have ordered 2 books that I’m hoping will hold my hand through this next part of our homeschooling journey of learning to overcome reading comprehension problems. Usually I find that help comes from many sources, so having only 2 may not be enough but it’ll get me started.
My guides are going to be:
How to Read a Book (this book is touted as a modern-day classic that everyone should read. interesting.)
A child knows when they are not able to grasp what others their age are doing. They need our help, not a label. It is up to us to give it.
Read the whole article here.
Oh yes, in the interest of helping others, I also bought Created to Need a Help Meet: A marriage guide for men by Michael Pearl.
I’m helpful that way.
Actually, my husband requested it. Uh-huh. He’s been after me to get it for him.
I wonder why?
Tagged with: reading comprehension
Filed under: Homeschooling
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