How we use Visualising and Verbalising to help children overcome Reading Comprehension difficulties

What is the Reading Comprehension?

To understand the meaning of a story we must remember the details and connect them together. We might rely on our general knowledge to grasp these meanings. This process is called making inferences. Inferencing is one of the main skills required for reading comprehension. A comprehension disorder is when a person is able to hear or read the information, but has difficulty remembering it in relation to prior knowledge.

Reading comprehension relies on (a) word recognition and (b) listening comprehension. If a child has difficulty decoding texts (seeing print and producing the correct sound) or reading fluently (reading aloud smoothly) they will have difficulty with reading comprehension. Therefore assessment is important to determine which skill needs further development.

Who is it for?

Reading comprehension difficulties are common among children with speech and language impairment. This often creates difficulties understanding stories they have heard or read.

How is Reading Comprehension assessed?

To assess reading comprehension, a Speech Pathologist will provide a text for the child to read, whether it’d be a sentence, paragraph, or short story, and ask the child specific questions about it. The quality of the answers gives us an indication of the child’s level of understanding. At Speakable we use norm-referenced texts, which measures a child’s skills based on the performance of many other children who have been assessed using the same text. All tests are administered the same way and can be used to measure improvements over time.

How does Speakable treat reading comprehension difficulties?

At Speakable we use the Visualisation and Verbalisation Program (VV) which was formed by Nanci Bell, a Special Education teacher. It works by strengthening the connection between spoken language and visual imagery. In VV, the specialist teaches the child to use mental imagery to remember texts. There are different levels depending on the length, and complexity of the texts. They encourage the child to remember features such as size, colour, shape, location, movement, mood, perspective, and sound, to name a few.

Research has shown this approach assists: • Comprehension

• Auditory memory

• Critical thinking

• Vocabulary

• Writing

VV is designed to help all ages. Those who will most benefit from the program may: • Have to re-read texts a few times to remember what they have read

• Has difficulty understanding spoken language

• May remember details (the "parts") but have trouble remembering the whole

• Appears to have difficulty sustaining attention

• Often ask the same question repeatedly

Where can I get more information?

Reading Rockets

ABC’s Reading Comprehension Strategies for Parents

Visualizing and Verbalizing Program for Cognitive Development, Comprehension, and Thinking

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