Wednesday, October 3, 2012

31 for 21: Reading Comprehension

I have always heard that reading comprehension for kids with T21 lags behind their ability to decode words.  I have been earning my "teaching reading degree" as I go, so I didn't really know how to address this in the beginning. It's really been trial & error but I think K comprehends what she reads quite well now.

 I think one of the things that really helped is using lots of pictures on our flashcards.  Until K was about 3 or 3.5, we made all of our flashcards with the word on one side & the picture on the other. It was more work, as well as expense to make them this way, but she really understood the meaning of those cards. ....& she refused to look at anything that didn't have a picture on the other side. As long as there was a picture, she loved doing cards. Once we started doing the dolch words & sentences, it was much more difficult to match those words with pictures, so we didn't, but by then she had such a good understanding of most other words in the sentence that it didn't affect her comprehension. By then she also didn't mind some words without pictures as long as we still showed her some.

When  reading books, we talked a lot about the pictures & the specifics of what the text was about. We really explored the story to help give K a better understanding of it.

We also try to relate what we are reading to daily life, as well as to choose stories that somehow connect to what we are doing.  For example, if we were going on a trip to the zoo, I would try to find a story about the zoo.  Likewise, if we read a story about something that we can do, I will often try to do so.  For example, the other day, K read a story about a little girl who had a tea party, so we had a tea party too.

We have also used stuffed animals, puppets, toys, or even ourselves to act out stories as we read.
I notice that when K is reading, she will backtrack  reread a word when it doesn't make sense in the context of the sentence, then continue on with her reading.

K has a daily reader that has a short story with questions about the story after.  The stories are at a 2nd grade level. I notice that in the last 6 months, she is getting more & more of the questions correct on the first try, & after going through them once, she usually gets them right if we read the story & go through the questions later that day.

About a month ago, K had another neurodevelopmental evaluation.  Her vocabulary tested partway through the 3rd grade level & her comprehension is at a mid 2nd grade level. This was the first time her comprehension has been tested so I am pretty pleased.  I had been guessing at about this level though because when she reads for fun this is most often the level she chooses.

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