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Comprehension - delay or disorder?

(9 Posts)
me55monster Tue 04-Feb-14 20:23:00

It's becoming increasingly apparent that my DS is struggling to make progess in reading comprehension and I'm interested to know if this is a developmental issue or could be some sort of reading disorder if there is such a thing related to comprehension. By progress I mean expected progress for him.

Relevant levels (quoted because they're the only measures I have):

End of Yr 2 - reading level given 3c
Mid-point Yr 3 - comprehension level given of 3a, reading age given as 10.6 and spelling age of 10.3 (age 8.2)
End of Yr 3 - reading/comprehension level given 3b
Mid-point-ish Yr 4 - just came home with assessment level of 3b

He is making good progress in Maths.

When we read together I've noticed that he sometimes misses out words or substitutes words of his own but on the whole he's a very able reader/de-coder. However, he doesn't have good recall of the story, particularly if e.g. I ask him the next day what we read about the night before. He also has a tendency in tests to race through and not read questions properly.

He's really upset tonight at his "score" and is unfavourably comparing himself to his friends. We have parents evening soon and I'm keen to have some input to help me know what to ask.

Thanks smile

me55monster Tue 04-Feb-14 20:31:05

Sorry, forgot something specific I wanted to ask which is can the skill of comprehension and recall be taught or is it developmental? Obviously we can try and work on the speeding through and not reading questions properly but I think it's more than that because it's not just apparent in test conditions!

me55monster Wed 05-Feb-14 09:32:51

Little bump smile

youhavetogothroughit Wed 05-Feb-14 10:29:30

Interesting one... does he have concentration/attention difficulties? Does he have inference and deduction issues? To achieve the higher levels I think inference and deduction comes more into play.

DS has sound comprehension, but does not like me asking questions (he tests well) and I think, although he can answer specific questions, is not particularly good at summarising. So I think your questioning does not necessarily tell you a lot - but if he cannot produce the goods in formal tests, then that is telling you something.

The school should be concerned about this apparent lack of progress - what are they saying?

thegamesafoot Wed 05-Feb-14 10:55:38

Hi me55,

I think perhaps the lack of responses might be because whilst you have seen a drop in levels, a 3b in year 4 is well within the expected level. If you follow this link and scroll to the second page you will see what I mean.

I can understand that you find his reported progress concerning, in that he went up to a 3a and then a year later has gone down to a 3b, however there are other possible explanations for this.

That he has any sort of delay or disorder when he has previously been assessed well ahead of his chronological age, and is now assessed within the expected level, seems highly unlikely.

However the expectation is that children will generally make 1.5 to sub levels of progress each year (although not necessarily in a linear fashion). So you may have expected him to be heading towards a 4c at the end of this year, given his previously reported levels.

Why he is reported as 3b now could simply be due to his current teacher having a much stricter approach to levels. However it could be that he is struggling with some of the higher order comprehension skills, or a range of other reasons. Have you been in and asked why his level has dropped from a 3A to a 3b? His teacher is best placed to advise you what, if any issues your son is having. I would doubt that recalling in detail a book read the night before is playing a part in this as I don't think that would be something tested in school (i.e. comprehension questions tend to be done with a passage in front of the children so that they can refer to it). On the other hand rushing and not reading questions properly might have an impact and as you say this is something easily worked upon.

There are also work books that you can buy from WHSmiths or Amazon, for example, that specifically work on comprehension. It might help you to search for workbooks that set out the required comprehension skills and indicate which exercises focus on particular skills (for example deduction or inference).

I hope this helps to reassure you, do remember that teachers do not always agree with each other on a child's level and children do plateau and then suddenly leap ahead again. However without having the discussion with his teacher first it could be tricky to ensure you are giving him the right sort of support.

me55monster Wed 05-Feb-14 11:11:52

Thank you both.

youhave yes he does have problems with concentration and attention and my DH pointed out last night that he also quite often gets words jumbled up when he's trying to explain something to us. In Yr3 the feedback was that he was OK at straight information retrieval but that it was the reading between the lines, drawing of inferences that he was having trouble with.

thegames thanks for that link. I was aware of the national expected levels which is why I mentioned progress for him smile. He's at a high achieving school where they expect 2 sub-levels a year in KS2 and by Yr 6 they're on-target levels are 4a and 5c and they deem high achievers as 5b+. I'm sure that is skewing my view although doesn't detract from the fact that I'm seeing DS continue to plateau in this area whereas I'd hoped that he'd done the plateauing last year and was going to leap ahead this year!!

Thanks for the pointers, I'll find out at parents evening what the teacher's thoughts are.

I think I was primarily wondering whether this is just a developmental issue or whether there is such a thing as a reading comprehension/reading processing disorder which might be worth looking into.

bkaz Wed 05-Feb-14 11:29:27

Thegamesafoot - Hi there, can you please recommend comprehension books ( I don't want to buy the wron one) for a year 4. I am slso having concerns with my son in this area. Your reply to ME55 has been very helpful to me as well. Thank you.

thegamesafoot Wed 05-Feb-14 17:50:09

Hi bkaz,

Not a teacher but start here as any additional work using these types of work book should help if done little but regularly.

My only caution with a book chosen by year is that it is worth knowing your DCs level because if it is significantly below the expected level (3b for year 4)? then you might be better off starting with the year below to ensure it's an enjoyable and confidence boosting experience for your DC.

me55monster Wed 05-Feb-14 19:17:00

Thanks for coming back with that link thegames - some of those look really good. I bought some old fashioned ones recommended by DS's last teacher but I think he needs more contemporary texts so these are a good selection smile

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