For your child, the ultimate goal of reading, of course, is comprehension. All the other core reading skills of phonemic and phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, and vocabulary are building blocks that support comprehension.
Many dyslexics are very good at comprehension because of the way their brains are wired for reasoning, telling stories, making connections, and seeing an entire scene at once. For many dyslexics the challenge lies in the skills leading up to comprehension: recognizing and distinguishing individual words, letters, and sounds. It’s important to help dyslexics connect with prior knowledge so they can actively draw on that knowledge to gain meaning. It’s very common for dyslexics to comprehend at a much higher level than that at which they can read aloud.
Reading for comprehension is a separate skill from reading out loud. Often students are asked to prove they can “actually read” a given text by reading a text out loud. For a dyslexic student this proves their inability to sound out words rather than their ability to comprehend, reinforcing their weakness and inadequacy. A better technique is to have the student read silently to themselves, then have them explain what they read in their own words using follow-up questions about specific knowledge. Requiring them to read aloud reinforces their weakness and inadequacy, while allowing them to demonstrate their comprehension builds confidence that they actually are readers who can get meaning from what they read. They should practice sounding out words at a different time. When they are allowed to read the text silently, rather than aloud, it often resolves many of the reading comprehension problems.
If your child has challenges with eye-reading, we strongly encourage the use of ear-reading, or listening to the text, as a way to build reading comprehension skills.
Dyslexics who also have an underlying language-based learning disability may need the help of a speech and language therapist who is experienced in building the receptive and expressive language skills needed for reading comprehension. If your student has difficulty with comprehension, whether they are listening or reading themselves, it is a good indication that this angle of intervention should be explored through a comprehensive speech and language evaluation.
Wings to Soar Online Academy offers a few programs which directly address reading comprehension problems and others include practice with reading comprehension questions that follow up on reading passages.
Here are a few reading comprehension strategies you can use at home. Some students with reading comprehension problems need programs that explicitly teach comprehension skills while others just need practice on using their comprehension skills (often paired with fluency practice).
At Wings to Soar Online Academy, we work with you to create a customized package that includes the programs that are just right for your unique situation. If you have curriculum that is already working for a particular learning area, we respect that and don’t want you to feel you need to enroll in more than you need with us. We want to come alongside you to help you fill in the gaps of what isn’t working. Please explore the menu of possible online programs that we offer at Wings to Soar that we could include in your child’s Path to Success™ Personalized Learning Plan on our Learning Solutions page.
Check out this recording of a recent Virtual Open House with our founder to get an overview of how Wings to Soar works.
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