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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. In listening, comprehension means understanding the meaning of the words, sentences, or text that is being read while in reading, comprehension means understanding the meaning of the printed words, sentences, or text. If a child can comprehend the story that you read to him, but cannot comprehend what he read, he does not have comprehension problems 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 a child has no fluency problem, he is reading the text rapidly in an unconscious manner and can understand what he is reading, except if a child has hyperlexia.


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

Recognizing the words means being able to read known and unknown words. If he can read known words he might be memorizing or familiarizing what these printed words look like because he has seen these words several times. If he cannot read words he has not seen, then he has reading problems---the root cause of the reading comprehension problems.


The solution to your child's problems with fluency and recognizing the words he read

Learning to read is like building our own house. We need a strong foundation at the very start of the construction and connect the pillars of the building correctly or our house 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 is the pillar 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, the phonological awareness level is the lowest level of the language system. 

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's psychologist if he can help you with this matter, but 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 him 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 will help to confirm if your child is just looking at the pictures to "read," if he cannot match the pictures with the right word then he cannot read such as with the picture of the car, your child is pointing 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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