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education.com asks:
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What else can I do to help my child with his reading comprehension skills?

"My son is in second grade. He was retained in the first and then again in the second grade. He is nine years old he turns ten in march. I'm really worried about him. He is struggling with his reading comprehension skills. He does good in math unless it's a reading math problem.  I read with him every day and try to make him understand what we're reading. What else can I do to help my child? I don't want him to be retained again. Thank you."

Asked by Leslie after reading the article, "2nd Grade Reading: What Happens":
http://www.education.com/magazine/article/secon...
In Topics: Helping my child with reading
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Sylvia HS
Sep 13, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Hi Leslie,

I'm concerned as well, Leslie.

I think that it must be very difficult for your son to be so much older in second grade, and to see himself still struggling with school work.

Do you have educational psychologists in your school district?  I think that your son should have an intellectual assessment to find out how he learns best, and to ascertain if he has a learning disability.  Also, I recommend that you have an academic assessment by a reading specialist, to identify his academic strengths and needs, and to detail an academic program that will address his needs specifically, rather than just having him repeat the same school tasks again and again.

Where I work, we have special education classrooms for students who struggle with academic tasks.  These classrooms have fewer students in them than a regular classroom.  They also have an educational assistant who works with the teacher and the students.  Both of these adults are trained to work specifically with special needs children.  These children require tailor-made learning approaches.  They can learn to read words and to comprehend what they read, but they learn differently.  As well, the teachers work with each child at his/her instructional level.  The lock-step grade level pressure is off the children, so that they can focus on learning at their own pace.

Your child is likely quite discouraged.  As are you.  It would be so much more helpful if he could be given access to all of the above services.

Sincerely,
Sylvia HS,
Reading Specialist,
Author

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Additional Answers (4)

BruceDeitrickPrice
BruceDeitri... , Teacher writes:
Every child is different but I understand that some schools still mix in a lot of sight words with phonics, which creates confusion. Don Potter, a phonics guru wrote this to me: "When I ask the teachers why they teach sight-words, they inevitably tell me because their students are going to be assessed on them. They are totally unaware that sight-words are positively harmful. They consider sight-words to be part of a good reading program that includes some phonics, not realizing that sight-words create a reflex that interferes with phonics instruction.” If a child has memorized sight words, the best remedy is to start over, learn to read using only phonics.  (For a graphic YouTube video on why Whole Word is a problem, you could Google "How Dolch Words Cause Illiteracy and Dyslexia." I also have many articles about reading on my site Improve-Education.org.)
> 60 days ago

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lawanz
lawanz writes:
Hi, Im Lawanz  and my child is in the 2nd grade also. He is having somewhat the same problem with cathching on. His teacher said he should have been held back in the 1st grade but he had good grades in the first. You may need to consider changing your child school because they just may not be offering the help he needs. They have failed him twice and he still having the same problem. Before he repeated the 2nd grade they should have test him. You probably have already done this but if not go in and talk with the counselor, teachers and get the school board involved. You is looking for answers that the school should have already given you. Don't let them keep failing him because, that will eventually create more problems later in his life!
> 60 days ago

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Jeanette38
Jeanette38 , Parent writes:
Leslie it is great that you are supporting your son with his reading skills. You say it is his reading comprehension - I assume you mean that he can read but doesn't understand what he has read. If this is the case then it is probably down to vocabulary. When you read with him ask him questions about the story/book, what does he think will happen next, what are the pictures showing him, what was the most interesting thing he remembers etc.
I found for my own son that he prefered non-fiction books. This made it easier to ask questions or to discuss what he was reading about. As an example he was reading a book about diamonds and we got out the weighing scales and compared other objects to the weight of the largest diamond. When reading about sharks we got out the measuring tape and placed it along the floor to see how long the longest shark was. For him it meant he could attach REAL meaning to the words that he had read.
Try to choose books with content that really interests him then he will be motivated to find out more.
Have a chat to his teacher and see what they recommend.  
Try online resources - reading doesn't have to just be about books there is lots of educational software and games to help children with their literacy skills.
Go on a trip to a museum and compile an interesting facts scrapbook. Or research his favourite topic on the internet and in the local library. This will help his skills in assimulating information and extracting relevant facts.
Good luck and keep up the support.
> 60 days ago

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m.nelson
m.nelson writes:
What kinds of books is he interested in?  Would he read comics or magazines, or is there absolutely nothing that can get him to read?

I'm using a program that integrates MP3 players with audiobooks into their program to correspond to their texts.  My students are middle school age, but are doing incredibly well with the audio element added to their reading.  Their interest level has definitely improved as well.  Maybe an audiobook would be worth a try for your son?

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