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Comprehension, Oh dear me it's really not happening.

(22 Posts)
IslaValargeone Wed 10-Aug-11 15:40:15

I have been doing some comprehension papers with dc (9) now she's not daft, but, she's not terribly good at reading between the lines or understanding clues. She always reads things in a very literal way, and so her interpretation of stuff can really make me go shock Will practise improve this or do some kids just not get it?

IndigoBell Wed 10-Aug-11 16:08:58

Which comprehension papers are you doing?

I did some of these these ones with my DS last year before he started Y5.

I thought he would never get it smile But at some point, early in the year he did.

His reading level (which is mainly based on comprehension, isn't it?) shot up from a L3 to a L5 over the year.......

I don't know if me doing work with him helped, (didn't really do that much - maybe 5 or 6 papers?) or if it was just luck - but he has def improved over the year.

IslaValargeone Wed 10-Aug-11 16:14:04

I'm doing that scheme Indigo, but book 2 which is supposed to be year 4. Perhaps I need to go down a level, but I thought that the vocab might be too easy? Did you go through the papers with him to help give him a feel of what they were looking for, and help point him in the right direction; or leave him to it and go through it afterwards?

IndigoBell Wed 10-Aug-11 16:30:09

I did start with Book 1, which was easy - but DS likes to be good at everything, so didn't want to do anything too hard grin

Some of them I went through with him as he did it, some I marked at the end. I only marked them at the end if I thought he'd get most of them right. So if I wasn't sure he'd be good at it, then I helped him with each question. ie I never let him write the wrong answer.........

He got very stressed at not knowing how to answer the question, so for example if a question starts 'Why' - then I told him his answer needed to start with 'Because'... He needed a few tips like that to be able to write his answers.

RWI also do comprehension books..... They're meant for Y3 / Y4 kids. They might be better? I don't know. They're more books to teach comprehension, then to test it IYSWIM........

IslaValargeone Wed 10-Aug-11 17:02:25

She did a paper today, and one of the questions was: Who is asking the questions? Referring to a story she'd just read where a girl was being asked questions by somebody. My dc answered, Schofield and Sims. I mean wtf?
Anyway, thanks for the tips I shall have a look at the RWI stuff.

IndigoBell Wed 10-Aug-11 17:05:24

But that answer's not wrong - she's 100% right - and probably is very clever to be thinking like that.

Sounds like you just need to teach her the technique of answering the question....... That you need to find the answer in the story.

You don't realise how much is a learned skill - because we learnt all these things so long ago.

IslaValargeone Wed 10-Aug-11 17:21:27

I know, that's the funny thing. I have to say to her, "erm well yes, but that's not quite what they mean" Dh and I have lots of moments like that where we just look at each other when she says something, he can't decide if she's a genius or a... whatever the opposite of genius is grin

spiderpig8 Wed 10-Aug-11 21:15:19

Isla ROFL laughing at that! I think your Dc is smarter than the examiner!

mom101 Wed 10-Aug-11 21:33:28

That was a fabulous answer!

sayithowitis Wed 10-Aug-11 22:58:55

How about these ? We use them at school for exactly the type of situation you describe. They start off quite gently, but by the end of book 6, they are quite challenging. You can choose whether to answer verbally or in writing and also, how 'perfect' an answer you want ( one word/full sentence).

IslaValargeone Thu 11-Aug-11 11:56:24

They look great sayithowitis.
I should be used to her by now, did some maths some time ago involving percentages and probability etc. I Said if the weatherman said there was a 70% chance of rain and 30% chance of sun, it meant there was a greater chance of rain. Then asked her, what would it mean if there was a 50% chance of rain and a 50% chance of sun? She answered "There will be a rainbow" grin

pinktortoise Thu 11-Aug-11 12:04:35

DS is like this, never seems to answer the question simply, almost like he thinks it can't be that it is too easy! His last teacher said he is a "divergent thinker" ......however he has got better. I have just reiterated that usually the answer is in the text and that he doesn't need to think up another reason.

pinkgirlythoughts Thu 11-Aug-11 15:25:22

I remember a boy in my class once refusing to write the correct answer in a SATs reading paper, even though he put his hand up to tell me that knew what the 'expected' answer was, because the way the question was worded made it slightly ambiguous, and he knew of a better answer. Problem being, his answer wasn't one of the options! Frustrating, because I knew he was correct, but couldn't tell him to just put the answer that he knew was really expected of him!

UniS Sun 14-Aug-11 22:19:24

Answering Comprehension tests is a skill that can be learned.

I learnt a LONG time ago age 16 and its stood me in good stead through A levels and NVQs.

key things for me were

read the questions first - so you know what sort of information you are looking for.
Read the teat.
read the questions again.
THEN work on each Q in turn
Remembering that the answer is to found in the text. Its not about your opinions its about what is written ( or not written) in the text.

hocuspontas Sun 14-Aug-11 22:24:57

Are you feeding a baby by any chance Uni? grin

UniS Sun 14-Aug-11 22:39:17

oopps- no, just not very good at spelling. Thought I'd got it all with spell checker but that one slipped through.
This is why I was learning to do comprehension at 16, Dyslexic and proud, but having some tutoring to get me through A levels in one piece mentally after I'd spent 10 weeks off school having broken a major bone.

Malaleuca Mon 15-Aug-11 07:05:44

For children this age, Headsprout have got a Reading Comprehension programme teaching these strategies: finding facts,making inferences, identifying main idea and figuring out what a new word means.
There are 50 half hour lessons. It does need adult supervision to get the most out of it.

http://www.headsprout.com/parent_comprehension_results.cfm

candr Mon 15-Aug-11 18:48:54

Try doing it with a story she already knows and ask her to find the answer on a certain page ie 'on page 16 what does John say about the weather? ' Then discuss how you can use the question as part of the answer. 'John says the weather is........' The other way to get them to understand is for them to give you a page to read (that they have already read) and they write some questions for you to answer about what happened on that page, it helps them understand how the questions work and what answers are expected. This will help you see what areas make sense to them and what needs work.

sayithowitis Tue 16-Aug-11 13:15:48

UniS, sadly there are often questions which ask for the reader's opinion about a text or event. Not all answers can be found in the text. Frequently a year 6 SAT paper will ask '.... the author describes Joe as 'gangly'. Why do you think the author chose that word?' or '...how do you think Fred felt when he fell over in front of Jennifer? Why do you think he felt like that?' and similar questions which require the reader to 'read between the lines' if you will. It is something we practice a lot with children at my school, because it is a difficult skill for them to acquire.

I would agree though, with your 'action plan' about how to go about answering questions.

UniS Tue 16-Aug-11 19:20:13

arrr, interesting how they differ at primary school and NVQ ( admittedly a few years ago), NVQ English literacy competency stuff was all very fact based. I guess trainee electricians are not expected to think too hard about the feelings of things :-)

mrz Tue 16-Aug-11 19:51:48

The expectation in primary is that children can

= uses a range of strategies, including accurate decoding of text, to read for meaning

= understands, describes, selects or retrieves information; uses literal comprehension skills

= deduces, infers or interprets information; uses inferential and deductive comprehension skills

= comments on the structure of text; uses evaluative comprehension skills

= explains and comments on writers’ use of language; uses evaluative comprehension skills.

= identifies and comments on writers’ purposes and viewpoints; uses evaluative comprehension skills

= relates texts to their (the texts’) social, cultural and historical traditions; uses evaluative comprehension skills

applepies Tue 16-Aug-11 22:54:14

My son is/was very weak at comprehension, could never work out who was doing what to who, would get it all muddled up.

I have noticed that the Americans cover comprehension slightly differently, they have about half a dozen strands (forget what they are) which are very distinct and concrete skills that children can be helped with.

I found this set of books and have got the inferences and conclusions one - the child doesnt actually have to write anything to do the work in this particulkar title , but they get lots of comprehension practice. this book is us grades 4-8 which is year 5-9, and they do a lower level series as well

www.amazon.co.uk/Inferences-Drawing-Conclusions-Passages-Comprehension/dp/043955411X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313531551&sr=8-1

if you go on the us amaon site i think you can search inside the books as well

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