Reading Comprehension – Essential Forerunner Skills

Comprehension –  Forerunner Skills:  Punctuation, Fluency & Expression

These skills need to be intentionally taught to weak readers – the incidental approach doesn’t meet their needs.

Punctuation: Inform the student that a coma signifies a short pause and a period a longer one and that in both cases the voice is slightly lowered; the length of a question mark’s pause is the same as that of a period while the voice is slightly raised.

The following techniques develop all three forerunner skills.

Modelling: The tutor reads a short sentence or part of a longer one and then has the student re-read it. Continuing with the text, the procedure is repeated 1-2 times more. This is followed by solo reading by the student. If needed, carry out this exercise 2-3 times during a session.

There is no cause for concern if the student appears to be reciting the text from memory as mimicking will still develop the required skills.

Joint Teaching: Here the tutor reads a couple of sentences along with the student. The tutor could either inform the student that s/he will be doing this or s/he could jump in whenever the need to do so arises.

Students appreciate these approaches as the built-in assistance promotes success. In addition, the environment produced by these techniques tend to be stress-free – another factor which encourages learning.

A word of caution: Techniques such as attempting to improve fluency by reading against the clock has a testing element to it. Therefore, it’s recommended that it only be used if it does not cause the student to become apprehensive.

Side Note: Please note that if the efficacy of an approach has been questioned by professionals but is working well for your student/child (there is progress without undue stress), by all means use it.

Simplicity – The Mainstay of a Rapidly Effective Remedial Reading Program

As too much information tends to overwhelm struggling students, remedial sessions should be as simple and concise as possible. Consequently, until a student has made genuine progress, only the truly essential skills should be focused on.

The essential skills consist of the short and long vowel sounds, syllabication (the bane of weak readers of all ages) and comprehension.

This information is based on the exciting results the Darwin Reading Program has been achieving for over a decade.

Remedial Reading Program: 70% off Sale Ending Soon

The 70% off Back-to-School Sale of our excitingly effective Remedial Reading Program will be ending on October 19th.  Reminder: There’s no charge for shipping or handling during the sale.

For info on the Program, visit www.abcofreading.com as well https://youtu.be/AIQBLnyfgj0 – a teaching video depicting an illiterate seven year old start on the path to reading within 10 minutes of her first session.

To place an order, go to www.abcofreading.com – Book Orders.

Here’s to strong literacy skills!

Learning Disabilities: The Importance of Obtaining an Official Diagnosis

A diagnosis by a psychologist who is an expert in the field of Learning Disabilities is needed as it would provide an official diagnosis. Such a diagnosis would not only identify learning problems but it would also entitle a student to receive special accommodations – accommodations that could involve:

  • in-school remedial services;
  • a reduced workload;
  • extended time for exams;
  • oral exams for those with written communication difficulties;
  • permission for the older students to use note-takers or record classes.

This assistance would be applicable throughout a student’s academic career and this includes his/her college and university studies as well.

Re Pre-School Children: Warning Signs of Impending Reading Difficulties

Warning Signs

The child has:

  • difficulty verbally communicating his needs, wants, … ; 
  • a limited vocabulary;
  • difficulty articulating sounds.

Parents, should you wish to have information on timelines for language developmental, refer to the internet. However, do understand that the information you will encounter is not set in stone.

Should your child’s seemingly limited language development cause concern, don’t hesitate to discuss this matter with your child’s physician and/or a speech and language specialist.

 

 

 

Learning Difficulties – When to Start Remediation

As the demands for testing children with learning problems are heavy, it could take many months or even more than a year before a student is evaluated. Consequently, it is not advisable to wait for an official diagnosis before starting remediation.

In fact, remediation in the hands of an effective tutor should be started as soon as its need is evident – even at the pre-school level if necessary. For tips on choosing a tutor go to www.abcofreading.com, blog # 10.

Learning Difficulties: Overcoming Diagnosing Problems

Parents, if you suspect your child is not progressing at a normal rate, do not hesitate to consult a professional – a teacher, pediatrician, psychologist or a speech & language therapist.

If a professional dismisses your concerns, seek a second opinion. If the second opinion is also dismissive, set up another consultation within two to three months.

This appointment should preferably be with one of the previously seen specialists. Meanwhile, keep notes on your child’s school performance and overall behaviour as this could aid the professional in his/her diagnosis.

Remedial Reading – Syllabication

Remedial Reading  – Syllabication

Syllabication is the process of dividing a word into its parts. This process makes it easier to read challenging multi-syllable words.

A syllable is a word or part of a word that has a vowel that can be heard. For instance:

  • pet has one vowel and therefore is a one syllable word;
  • boat has two vowels but as only the ‘o’ is sounded, it is a one syllable word;
  • contain has three vowels but as only the ‘o’ and ‘a’ are sounded, it is a two syllable word – con/tain.

Syllabication tends to be the bane of weak readers be they 8 or 80.

As there are many exceptions to the syllabication patterns, the objective is to teach the concept that words that can be divided into parts rather than stressing particular patterns.

For exercises that allow students to grasp the concept of syllabication, you can refer to the Darwin the Dragon Reading Program or prepare your own.

Syllabication should be introduced when the student starts to encounter multisyllable words.

Side Note: As the Program also accommodates adults, it has two sets of teaching instructions as well as two titles – the one mentioned above and the Vowel First Method.

Remedial Reading: Parental Participation – Help or Hindrance

  • Parental tutoring should only be carried out if the sessions rarely result in unduly stress and frustration for either the child or parent. The reasoning here is that negative emotions not only inhibit learning but, more significantly, they can also affect the child/parent relationship.

    Therefore, if parental tutoring isn’t going well an alternative approach should be considered. For instance, parents could:

    • hire a tutor – see blog entry 10 for tips on choosing a tutor;
    • look into having a trained school volunteer assist their child;
    • use the services of a reputable learning centre;
    • consider linking up with parents whose child also has a learning problem and tutor each other’s children.

Parents as tutors

 

Incidentally, a child’s limited progress doesn’t rest on his shoulders but on the shoulders of the teaching system. A system where far too many teachers graduate from university without sufficient knowledge on how to assist students with persistent learning problems and where the some teachers aren’t keeping up with their professional development..

The next posting will address tips on choosing a tutor.