22 answers

Teaching an 8 Year Old Reading Comprehension

My son struggled all year with reading/writing activities. He can read about 2 levels above grade level, but cannot comprehend anything he reads. He "guesses" on all the answers to his tests and does OK at school. I talked with his teacher, but she said the scores on his tests are fine, so there wasn't much they could do. I just left it, since he was there all day. Homework is always a battle in our house! Since school has been out, I've been working a lot more with him, and he really doesn't understand anything that's going on in the stories he's reading (no wonder it was such a struggle during the school year to get him to read!) Does anyone have any strategies or suggestions to help him out this summer raise his reading comprehension. We don't have the money to do any private tutoring or classes, but I have time (and most days the energy) to help him at home. I just need a direction to begin. Any strategies would be much appreciated.

What can I do next?

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I am a certified Reading Specialist. I would love to help you and give you ideas. There are many ideas that I have, and would love to talk to you more if you would like. You can call me at ###-###-####.

N.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm not a teacher, but you may want to try breaking it down. Have him read a sentence and tell you what it means, then a paragraph, etc. Also, maybe if he wrote more, he would have a better sense of all this stuff MEANS something. The author didn't go through all that trouble to write stuff for nothing!

More Answers

I am a certified Reading Specialist. I would love to help you and give you ideas. There are many ideas that I have, and would love to talk to you more if you would like. You can call me at ###-###-####.

N.

1 mom found this helpful

People who have good reading comprehension create a movie in their head as they read. They watch it play out in their mind and that makes for good recall. Often people who have poor comprehension don't make the movie in their head. Each sentence is on it's own. They aren't connected for them into this flowing picture story.
There's a good book that any lay person can use that walks you thru teaching a person to have a movie in their mind when they read. It's called Visualizing/Verbalizing and you can find it at Gander Publications. www.ganderpublishing.com
N.

1 mom found this helpful

My son struggled as well and he is 8. Until we found "The Magic treehouse" series. He loves these books.. I can hardly keep up. For the summer, I can only suggest finding books he is interested in, the rest will come...

I'm not a teacher, but you may want to try breaking it down. Have him read a sentence and tell you what it means, then a paragraph, etc. Also, maybe if he wrote more, he would have a better sense of all this stuff MEANS something. The author didn't go through all that trouble to write stuff for nothing!

Can't help much with a strategy other than practice. They do get better with practice. Read short bits at a time, and then have him explain what is going on. He can either tell you, or write it in his own words.
I wanted to say, however, ask your school to have him tested for a learning disability. Our daughter has dyslexia, and comprehension was one of her big issues, too. When they tested her, they discovered she has an above average intelligence (way above average !) but her reading was way below grade level. They told us this is the earmark of a learning disability rather than a child who is just slow. From there, we were able to find strategies to help her cope and compensate, and she is doing very well now. In fact, at only 19 years old, she was made manager of the jewelry department at the store where she works. This stuff can be overcome !
I hope you get things worked out for your son, too.

Try going down two levels of reading. Find books that he will enjoy, interesting or fun. Read through the book first your self so you can ask question to see if he is comprehending. If there is something he is really interested, airplanes, trains, sports, animals you could make it a theme for the summer then read every thing on it you can. You could possibly do activities to tie in with it. Check with the librarian to make sure you are getting books with a level he can comprehend. As he comprehends these books move up to next level. If you have a bookstore that sells home school things you might be able to find specific comprehension workbooks to help if you can get him to sit down and do the workbooks.

You have to get him to listen instead of going in a zone and reading. Read together. And then ask questions when your done with your part so that he will have to listen to what's coming up or what the answer is. When you read - read with exaggeration so you suck him into the book with you. It works. And then when he's done ask questions about what he read.

L. B

Reading is so critical that I congratulate you on your insight. I kept my daughter home for 4th grade because she couldn't read, but she was dyslexic. We worked on many things, but it is important to find out his learning style. The library can be a great resource. My daughter is oral - she can remember most anything she hears. She is also tactile - learns by physically touching or doing a project. Spelling was an issue, too. That isn't as big a deal with spell check. My daughter's reading level greatly improved with my reading book after book to her till she began to be able to understand. For her it was a maturity thing and a little persistence. I'd have vision screened, too, as well as be attentive to dyslexia issues that can be of varying types. Best to you.

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