Tips to Help Special Needs Students With Reading Comprehension

Note-taking and attention to descriptive words may lead to improvement

Mother and son reading together on porch
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Adults and children with learning disabilities in reading comprehension and basic reading skills struggle with finding meaning in stories, but a number of strategies can help special needs students improve their literacy skills. This quick list of tips can help readers with learning disabilities gain a better understanding of the details of the texts they encounter.

Read Grade-Level-Appropriate Books

Children with learning disabilities should read books that are grade-level appropriate.

Just because a child is in third grade doesn't mean she's reading at that level. If it's unclear what grade level a child is reading at, a number of assessments can give educators and parents the tools they need to make that discovery.

Once a reading grade level is determined, teachers should take care to select books, stories and other content that suit the child's abilities. Librarians can also help children choose appropriate reading materials.

Why Parents Should Read With Children

Parents can give children the one-on-one reading time they need to improve their literacy skills. By reading books, stories, and articles with children, parents can make sure youngsters comprehend the materials at hand. For example, they can share the Detail Detective worksheet with children while reading and tell them that they're going to re-read the text after finishing it the first time. During the second go-round, parents can tell children to be sure to pay attention to the items the characters see, smell, hear, touch and taste in the text.

Attention to Adjectives and Adverbs

Parents can also instill skills such as note-taking into children as they read. Parents can tell children to note the descriptive words, such as adjectives and adverbs, they read in the text. These words help to explain the characters' experiences and engage the five senses of readers.

While reading with children, parents can pause to talk about sensory experiences.

Why Note-Taking Helps

When parents read with children, they can help them write brief notes on the Detail Detective worksheet. If a child cannot write notes independently, parents should provide assistance. Note-taking will help children remember the descriptive words they read in the text as well as details about the character and plot. All of this information improves reading comprehension.

While the Detail Detective worksheet is an educational activity, the goal is to keep the experience light and game-like. If a school and reading, in particular, is a source of stress for a child, parents should not make the worksheet activity feel like a drill or test of sorts. They should encourage children as they build their literacy skills rather than barking orders or scolding them for making mistakes.

Wrapping Up

The more parents and educators practice reading activities with children, the more progress children will make spotting detail in stories. In fact, they may even begin using more detail in their own writing.

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