Reading comprehension drives much of school based learning, making problems in this area difficult for parents and children alike. Intervention must occur in order to provide children with the best possible chance of coping effectively with these issues. Reading comprehension problems must be identified in order to treat them appropriately.
Individuals use decoding when they see pieces of information, such as letters or words, to interpret meaning, in this case in the form of reading comprehension. According to PBS sponsored Reading Rockets, children with issues in decoding may have trouble reading words they have never seen before, may get stuck on words consistently, or may have trouble with comprehension because so much time is being spent on sounding out individual words in a passage. Children may appear to not be paying attention or seem to gloss over details as they try to decipher the words themselves.
Dyslexia is a specific condition that deals with deficits in decoding. According to a 2008 study by the National Institute of Health, Dyslexia is a neurological condition that may show up as deficits in learning letters or the basic sounds of language, spelling problems and trouble with reading comprehension. According to WebMD, mixing up the letters of small words, reversing letters or words--such as ton and not-- or letter inversions--such as w for m-- are also common. These alterations in reading text can cause issues, including confusion about the meanings of words or sentences, which make reading comprehension difficult without intervention.
Working Memory Deficits
According to the National Institute of Health, short term or working memory is the system in the brain that stores and changes information into useable pieces, which is necessary to learn, understand language, reason effectively and for reading comprehension. Signs of working memory problems may include things like needing to reread information since it was not processed and retained the first time. According to a paper published by the Cardiff University School of Psychology, behavioral issues may also be seen in those who do not comprehend material, due to frustration or inability to focus on the material at hand. Research in the journal "Learning and Individual Differences' from 2008 indicates that activities designed to enhance working memory function may increase reading comprehension as well.
Attention Deficit Disorders
For some children, trouble with reading comprehension may be caused by difficulty concentrating during the reading itself. This inability to concentrate may be caused by Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). According to WebMD, children who have ADD or ADHD may show consistent inattention, impulsive behaviors, or hyperactive traits that are not expected of children their age. According to a 2011 study in the "New Horizons for Learning Journal," those with ADD or ADHD show difficulties with reading comprehension even if they do well with reading the words themselves. In 2007 research, the "Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry" suggested that this problem is possibly related to deficits in activation in the parts of the brain that control working memory functions.
- New Horizons for Learning Journal: The Effects of ADHD (Beyond Decoding Accuracy) on Reading Fluency and Comprehension
- National Institute of Health: Working Memory
- Cardiff University School of Psychology: Working memory and inattentive behaviour: The implications for children’s learning opportunities in the classroom.
- WebMD: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: Symptoms of ADHD
- Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry:Efficiency of the Prefrontal Cortex During Working Memory in Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- National Institute of Health: Perspectives on Dyslexia
- WebMD: Dyslexia: Symptoms
- Reading Rockets: Word Decoding and Phonics
- Learning and Individual Differences: Role of working memory in explaining the performance of individuals with specific reading comprehension difficulties: A meta-analysis
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