Reading Comprehension Problems


But our child can read, he just cannot comprehend what he read...

Comprehension is a generic term that includes both listening comprehension and reading comprehension.  If a child can comprehend the story that you read to him, but cannot comprehend what he read, he does not have a comprehension problem but reading problems. It is either he lacks fluency or he does not recognize the words he read. 

Fluency means the processing speed and accuracy to read words and knowing the meaning of the words. If the child has a problem with fluency it means that he has problems in sounding out and connecting the sounds of the words and small groups of words we call syllables in longer words. Because of these problems, the child does not have the time to understand the words because his mind is preoccupied deciphering the words - the reason why your child has reading comprehension problems.

Recognizing the words means to be able to read known and unworn words.

Solution if your child has problems with fluency and recognizing the words he read

Learning to read is like constructing our own house or building. We need a strong foundation at the very start of the construction and connect the pillars of the building the proper way or it would wither away and we cannot add more floors. The sounds of the English language are the foundation for learning to read and connecting the sounds are the pillars of learning to read. If an individual has problems with the sounds and connecting the sounds, he would have reading problems. Therefore, the solution to the child's recognizing the words and fluency problems is to go back to the basics - learning the sounds and connecting the sounds. 

Parents thus far, who have asked for our help thought that their child "can read" and/or their child is just reading poorly or is just a slow reader and his only problem is reading comprehension, but it is not the case most of the time, unless he has the syndrome of hyperlexia.

We may assume that the problem is one of comprehension but technically, the child cannot read because he can only "read" words he has seen, therefore he might have been memorizing those words and that is NOT reading at all!

To help you solve this mystery, have your child evaluated by a psychologist, but remember not all psychologists can diagnose dyslexia, therefore ask your child psychologist if he can help you with this matter.

For the time being, you can partly solve this puzzle.


Clues for Reading Comprehension Problems

1. Ask your child to read words that he has not seen

For younger children:

Ask to read the words such as zim, caf, pud, if he cannot read these words then he cannot read. Also, most children who cannot read just associate pictures with words, so do the following tasks and ask your child to match the pictures with the correct words they represent:

  • show your child the picture of a dog with the following words at the bottom of the picture: dop, bog, dog, dug

  • show your child the picture of a car with the following words at the bottom of the picture: can, car, cap, cam

The activities above it will also confirm if your child is just looking at the pictures to "read," if he cannot match the pictures with the right word. For example, with the picture of the car, your child pointed the word can. 

For older kids:​

  • scubber, groip, scrood, prommest, microintescular,


Difficulties with word recognition, accuracy, speed, and fluency- ALL contribute to poor reading and greatly affect reading comprehension, thus word recognition and fluency problems MUST be seriously and explicitly addressed in literacy instruction.


That is also the reason why COMPREHENSION is at the highest level and on top of the language system and phonological awareness is at the lowest level of the language system


Now you know that your child cannot read, your next step is to find a specific reading tutor to help him with his reading difficulties.



Remember, you are not looking for a typical tutor even if that tutor's rate is very cheap because in the end you are just wasting your hard-earned income and you are not helping your child to better himself.

to be continued...

 Your decision today is your CHILD'S tomorrow!

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Multisensory Reading Clinic Dyslexia Therapeutic Tutoring     Orton-Gillingham Instruction

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