Of children with reading difficulties, almost half have problems that are not apparent until 4th grade. From Kindergarten to Grade 3, focus is on ‘learning to read’. By 4th grade, now the focus is on ‘reading to learn’. Some students have no difficulties with letter or word recognition or phonetic decoding. Yet, their reading difficulty is that they are unable to read fluently or comprehend what they read.
Linguistically, we know that a word has three parts: what it looks like (spelling), what it sounds like (pronunciation), and what it means (definition/picture sense).
A learner who is struggling with comprehension is probably lacking knowledge of what the word truly means.
Words without ‘meaning’, the third part of the word, hamper access to getting ‘the picture’ the author intended. Often our picture thinking or our non-verbal intelligence demands more than the ability to recognize how to say a word.
Sometimes it’s the small words we see everywhere (the, so, for, yet) or words with multiple meanings (run, of), or look like other words (on/no/one, of/if/off) that create confusion. For picture thinkers sensing no picture or uncertainty of which picture associated with a word, is like reading a sentence with holes in it, like swiss cheese. Another analogy: like viewing a movie where a few frames are missing every few seconds – would you stay for the whole movie?
I recall a 17 year old who could read, and did so with such great expression she often read aloud in class. The problem she experienced was that she did not understand what she read. The resulting stress and self-doubt hampered her ability to use the information she read in discussion and testing.
What to do: Take this learner through Davis Orientation Counseling® with the understanding that their great brain (so good at turning on its picture thinking) turns on automatically - and they can turn it off when it gets in the way of seeing the actual words written on the page. Introduce Davis Symbol Mastery®; this is an excellent method that helps the learner to integrate the three parts of essential words. Practice the Davis Sight Exercises - they increase reading fluency.
Learning Options matches short term programs that provide life-long results to take advantage of our natural way of thinking. When a screening determines hands-on picture thinking strengths, acceptance into the program guarantees changes for the better.