Reading Comprehension for Students with Dyslexia

Students with dyslexia often focus so much on sounding out each word they miss the meaning of what they are reading. This deficiency in reading comprehension skills can cause problems not only in school but throughout a person's life. Some of the problems that occur are a lack of interest in reading for pleasure, poor vocabulary development and difficulties in employment, especially in job positions where reading would be required.

Teachers often spend a great deal of time helping children with dyslexia learn to decode new words, decoding skills and improving reading fluency. Sometimes reading comprehension is overlooked. But there are many ways teachers can help students with dyslexia improve their reading comprehension skills.

Reading comprehension is not just one skill but a combination of many different skills. The following provides information, lesson plans and activities to help teachers work to improve reading comprehension skills in students with dyslexia:

Making Predictions A prediction is a guess as to what will happen next in a story. Most people will naturally make predictions while they read, however, students with dyslexia have a hard time with this skill. This can be because their focus is on sounding out words rather than thinking about the meaning of the words.

Summarizing Being able to summarize what you read not only helps in reading comprehension but also helps students retain and remember what they read.

This is also an area students with dyslexia find difficult.

Additional: A Language Art Lesson Plan on Summarizing Text for High School Students Using Texting

Vocabulary Learning new words in print and word recognition are both problem areas for children with dyslexia. They may have a large spoken vocabulary but cannot recognize words in print.

The following activities can help build vocabulary skills:

Organizing Information - Another aspect of reading comprehension that students with dyslexia have a problem with is organizing information they have read. Often, these students will rely on memorization, oral presentations or following other students rather than internally organizing information from written text. Teachers can help by providing an overview before reading, using graphic organizers and teaching students to look for how information is organized in a story or book.

Inferences - Much of the meaning we derive from reading is based on what is not said. This is implied information. Students with dyslexia understand literal material but have a harder time finding hidden meanings.

Using Contextual Clues - Many adults with dyslexia rely on contextual clues to understand what is read because other reading comprehension skills are weak. Teachers can help students develop contextual skills to help improve reading comprehension.

Using Previous Knowledge - When reading, we automatically use our personal experiences and what we have previously learned to make written text more personal and meaningful.

Students with dyslexia may have a problem connecting prior knowledge to written information. Teachers can help students activate prior knowledge by preteaching vocabulary, providing background knowledge and creating opportunities to continue building background knowledge.