Why is my child struggling with reading comprehension and what will help?

Here’s a scenario. Kim is an 8th grade student who has just been diagnosed with dyslexia. Kim has always been very bright and curious. She asks great questions and has always really excelled in science because of the hands on projects and experiments. Kim is a natural leader and enjoys being actively engaged in many activities. Though Kim loves learning, she has never enjoyed reading for pleasure because it takes her a long time to read. Kim spends a lot of time on schoolwork and tries her best but can’t help feeling frustrated at how long it takes her to complete tasks. She often has to read things two or three times over again just to remember and make sense of what she’s read. Kim doesn’t remember having this problem in elementary school. Why is she having this problem now?

Recently, it seems I’m receiving more questions about reading comprehension. I work with children and young adults who have dyslexia. The three main characteristics of dyslexia are having difficulty reading words in isolation, poor spelling ability and poor reading fluency. There are many other signs and symptoms of dyslexia, but these are the big three. If you look at a more comprehensive list of dyslexic characteristics, you may see reading comprehension further down the list. If the characteristics are grouped by age/grade level, then further down the list would be later elementary, middle, high school and beyond.  What does this mean?

Dyslexia makes it difficult to read fluently which can make reading a chore. Often when this is the case, dyslexics decide they are only going to read what they absolutely have to read. This can present problems with reading comprehension, as a child gets older for several reasons.  The first reason being limited vocabulary and lack of background knowledge…

To be continued next Friday.