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Author Topic: Reading but not comprehending?  (Read 10204 times)
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IrisGranstedt
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« on: April 02, 2014, 09:16:25 AM »


My 3 year old (just had his birthday) has been reading (decoding words) since 1.5 but I am not sure whether he is really comprehending and understanding the story. He is now reading rather fluently and if I point at pictures etc, he can tell me what is going on. But once he has turned the page or finished the book, he doesn't seem to be able to tell me what the story was about.

Anyone had that experience? Any suggestions on how to improve his comprehension? I try to summarise the story for him at the end but he may not want to listen but want to move on to the next book.

Thanks.

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Korrale4kq
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« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2014, 06:22:25 PM »

There are several things you can do. Cut out some pictures, draw them, or use books. Write a bunch of couplets or sentences on a strips of paper and have your child match  them to a variety of pictures.
For example start simple. Red balloon, green ball, orange car. Then make the sentences more complex, like The girl is brushing her teeth. Or He picked a yellow flower.

Secondly you can write a series of instructions for her to do. Once again start simple with sentences like Roll over. Clap your hands. Then build up to Go to the bathroom and brush your teeth. Draw a circle with a purple crayon. Go and give daddy a three kisses.

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« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2014, 08:08:25 PM »

My almost three-year-old daughter is reading through some second grade readers, and I just ask her a few simple questions at the end of each day's lesson, like: "What happened to Ruth's and Naomi's husbands?" or "Where did Naomi and Ruth go?" Sometimes she answers correctly and sometimes she doesn't. If she doesn't, sometimes I have her go back and read the sentence that tells the answer, but really I don't try to press it too hard. I found the less I interfere (both while she's reading and after), the more she engages with the text.

Really I think the trick is just letting them read read read. The more they do it, the more they will comprehend. DD and I have our daily 10-20 minutes of reading in a reader, and beyond that I put books in her hands whenever I can and just let her discover them for herself. For a long time she would just look through the pictures or  even just goof off pretending her books were plates of food or something else. Eventually she started looking at the words and enjoying them by herself. I really noticed her beginning to improve when I'd occasionally throw in a second reading time with mommy--like if she woke up early from her nap--but instead of reading the reader, we'd pick one of the children's books from her shelf that had been read to her before.  Some of these books she knows very well, and I was surprised at how much work it took her to read them herself. BUT I found them highly motivating for her. Something seemed to click like she started to understand what reading by herself could really do for her. We don't do this every day, but I wanted to mention it, because I noticed she began to really take ownership of reading when we started doing it.

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luv2laugh
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« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2014, 08:06:47 PM »

I will come back to this topic later (not a lot of time right now), but Lindamood Bell's Visualizing and Verbalizing program is excellent for reading comprehension.  You can get the textbook on ebay that tells you exactly how to do it. 

Some great strategies for forming a picture in your head as you read - also pretty fun and painless to do! 

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IrisGranstedt
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« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2014, 11:43:19 AM »

Many thanks for the tips. I will check out the Visualizing and verbalizing program!

I have tried to cut out words and sentences to get my lo to match to the correct pictures. He seems to be able to do that with no problems at all. I have also cut out sentences with instructions for him to carry out simple tasks and he didn't have any issues with those neither.

I guess my problem is mainly to get him to summarise what he has read in his own words. He doesn't seem to be able to recall what happened in the book, in fact, in everyday situation he never seems to be able to recalll what we have just done.  Sad

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kiwimum
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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2014, 08:42:56 AM »

IrisGranstedt my girl is the same, she has her 3rd birthday this month and she is a great reader and talker but still wont tell me what she has just read or what happened in the day unless I prompt her lots. I think its just her age, they live for the moment and explaining what happened isnt relevant in their world right now. I find with my daughter it will totally depend on her mood, some times she just opens up and shares so much of her knowledge to me that I'm blown away and then sometimes she acts like she doesnt know and goes all shy. I put it down to her age and I've got over my need to know that she is comprehending because she just has to be.

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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2014, 10:51:26 AM »

With my son I will often retrace the steps of our day before bed. What did we do when we first woke up? Then what? Etc. I think this kind of summarizing will help him think sequentially. Of course work on other more direct methods too, but that's an easy way to enhance your efforts.

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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2014, 03:37:05 AM »

Comprehension and summarizing are two very different skills. I would start with some easy passages. A simple paragraph from a book. Choose something well below reading level and then start asking questions.  Give answer prompt. And if you still get the deer in the headlights look, provide the answers and ask it that is so. After you feel like he is following your answers, throw in a silly statement. The more absurd the more obvious.

Also work on summarizing events. Things like going to the park. Talk about what was seen. What was done, how did one feel, the weather, the sequence of events. Ask the same kind of question prompts. It is good to try this several times a day in short spurts. And go over a special event over and over again until they can summarize the entire thing. Use exaggerated words, silly words that will stick in their heads.

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IrisGranstedt
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2014, 07:23:25 PM »

Many thanks for the tips! I have already been trying to incorporate the suggestions in my everyday life. So far my boy still gives me the blank look and if I give him multiple choice answers he still gets it wrong more than half of the time. I guess persistency is the key!

I am eagerly waiting for the "Visualizing and verbalizing" book to arrive so I can carry out the tips and suggestions in there.

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luv2laugh
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« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2014, 12:44:43 PM »

So glad you got the VV book.  There are some structure words in there that you should find helpful in summarizing and describing. 

I've also found timelines helpful in practicing summarizing.  For time sake, it can be helpful to just print out PECS icons or make your own.  With older kids who enjoyed the process, we also just sketched out a picture for each item in our schedule on paper each day, talking about each one as we went.  "So, first we are going to eat some breakfast - do you want to draw that picture or should I?"  For an active 3 year old, I would probably use the pre-made PECS icon and just point to it and say, "Let's see what we are doing today!!  First, Breakfast, then story time, then art" etc. etc.  I wouldn't put more than five things on the schedule, maybe even starting with only three.  You could even make it specific to a certain activity.  What did we do in art?  First, color, second, cut, third, paste.  Then, afterwards review the timeline.  When a sibling or spouse comes home, you can have him explain it to that family member.  He can use his timeline and hopefully be super proud of himself. 

I used to laminate my own schedules for the PECS icons and use Velcro to switch from day to day.  Kind of like this one, but a little cuter.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/145944844147756365/

I became familiar with PECS icons when I was in the field of Autism, but there is really no reason why you can't use them for a variety of things.  I work with students with specialized learning needs (both who are delayed and advanced) and I have used PECS icons with both sides of the spectrum. 

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