Topic | Middle Schooler and Reading Comprehension

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  • Tracey Long

    I have an 8th grader suffering form selective reading incomprehension and I’m running out of ideas.  What I mean is he will read an assigned history or literature reading and when it’s time to narrate he draws a complete blank.  I ask questions from the text and he can’t answer them.  But when it comes to free reading he has no trouble following the story and telling me all about it.  We’ve tried taking notes, making outlines, and mind mapping, but he can’t seem to hold onto the information.  I’ve tried giving him easier books and slowing down how much he reads each day.  Nothing is helping.  He is autistic, but on the high functioning end of the spectrum, and I don’t know if that plays a part.  If you’ve dealt with this challenge I’d appreciate any advice.


    I just have a few “brain storming” questions and hopefully others will chime in with some thoughts and suggestions.

    Have you noticed if it matters if he reads the books to himself, or if he listens to the book being read?

    Does it seem like a choice, for example, he expresses that he does not care for a subject or topic and then you notice that that is what he struggles with narrating?

    Does the subject matter ever come up later and you realize that yes he did retain the information, just struggled with putting into words at the time? For example a few days later he mentions that something he heard or read reminds him of something from a previous reading.

    Tamara Bell

    To add to the other questions above, have you modeled narrating to him?  There is often a feeling of pressure with children when it comes to formal school subjects versus free reads.

    Are you guys having a quick recap of what was read the last time and what is to come in today’s reading?

    There is a wonderful Narration Q & A in the Learning Library.

    This article in particular addresses what to do if a child cannot narrate after a reading:  Setting Them Up for Success  

    Don’t give up Momma.  You have seen that he can narrate, he’s just struggling with assigned work.  🙂

Viewing 3 posts - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
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