My son has problems with reading comprehension which is hurting him in all subjects. He wants me to do all his work. Please help!
My son is 12 years old and has always had trouble with comprehension. But I can't make him read. He is having trouble with reading, english, and math because he doesn't know what some of the words mean so then he can't answer the questions. I don't know what to do. I sometimes let him do his homework on his own and tell him he can only do what he can. I have helped him before too, but and then he wants me to do all his work. I don't want to get him hooked on that. Please help!
Is your son able to read the words in his textbooks? That would be the first thing I would want to know. Do you know what your son's "instructional" (or comfortable) reading level is? If he's finding too many of the words hard to read, then his comprehension will be greatly affected. Could you get your school to find out what level of word reading skill your son has?
If his textbooks are too hard for him to read himself, then I suggest that you read them to him. That way he will be able to get comprehension from listening to you read the words correctly.
If he CAN read the words but doesn't know what they mean, I suggest that you teach him the meaning of unknown words by having him sketch a simple, but meaningful, picture that shows him the meaning of the word. When we make a personal picture of a word in our head, and then draw a sketch of it, that seems to help us remember what words mean. It's certainly much more helpful than looking up the definition of a word in a dictionary.
The other strategy that I would try is to have your son (or you) read the comprehension questions before you read the passage/story/chapter. That way your son's attention is drawn to listening or reading for specific answers. It would be helpful if you, or his teacher, could teach him the difference between literal and inferential questions. If a question is literal, he'll be able to find the answer in the passage. If the question is inferential, he'll need to think about the answer. He could circle or underline the answers to literal questions when he finds them in the passage. This way the job of comprehension is simplified for him.
With arithmetic story problems, I would sketch them as well, so that the picture shows your son which numbers are most critical and what operation to use.
Sounds like you are in a sticky situation. I know what it's like not to want to read. I was and still am a slow reader. Back then the books were not of interest to me. I found them boring. I now love to read and chose books that I want to read! For reading have him picks books he can read. A lot of times schools give students books that are too difficult. Talk with his teacher and share your frustration, as well as his. As for not knowing words. Let him know that nobody is expected to know every word they read in a book. I am surprised he hasn't been taught a strategy we call "using context clues." This means that he reads a sentence or paragraph and when he comes to a word he doesn't know, he skips it. He "reads around" the word and finds meaning in the sentence or whole paragraph. For instance, if he reads something that says, "There were in infinite number of people in the crowd. The crowd was so large we couldn't see the people standing in the back." If he doesn't know the word "infinite" but he can read further and find out that infinite means just by continuing to read the sentence and paragraph.
As for his other work, again I urge you to talk with his teacher(s). They might have some ideas for you. Let him know he mustn't give up. He needs to know you believe in him. Remind him you are not doing his work for him, you will help but not do it. Stand firm in this so he has to take responsibility. I would also break the homework up into sections. Give him breaks while doing it. Let him work for 15 minutes and take a 5 minute break. He may be able to clear his mind!
I have read the two responses. I agree with the idea that your son should pick the books he likes,becuase he will find them easier to understand.surely reading will be a nightmare for him ,if he comes accross with too many unkown words at once. he should read giving short breaks. My husband is my son's own teacher.my son is a first grader now. 2 weeks ago he gave him "Robin Hood" to read. My son found it very boring,and said he had lost the book,we did not insist on reading it. When ı had a look at hte book , ı agreed that it could not attract his interest at all: 30-40 pages reading with no pictures!
I told my husband that it was not suitable for him. at home ı make him read 16 pages of short stories, everyday. he easiliy reads them.
he chooses the book from the shelf , I do not interfere,but he likes reading.
I myself encourage my students to read their english books (my students are turkish) by saying "you don't have to uderstand every word,or simply just don't understand anything but go on reading till the end. Finally you will have something about the book ,more or less, read for the second time ,give yorselves a chance, and this time you can look up for the words you really have to."
I hope I can be helpful.
Some children with reading comprehension issues do not make pictures in their minds as they read: visualization. Lindamood Bell has a great program called Visualizing and Verbalizing that teaches a child how to create those pictures when they read. www.lindamoodbell.com