So, this is an area I’ve been
struggling with growing a lot in.
My son with special needs has memorized about 100 sight words and loves to read. He can “recite” upcoming pieces of a story from memory (through signing key words).
But, how do I measure how much he is understanding?
Can he tell me all the events in correct sequence? Can he answer basic comprehension questions?
I’m still learning new techniques (and if you have any, I’d love for you to share!), but we’re using a couple of methods so far.
One Method to Check Reading Comprehension with Nonverbal and Speech-Delayed Learners
I began incorporating a portion of this method when we started using Grapevine Studies, specifically for sequencing story events.
Today, we used this method with the book Happy Cat by Steve Henry. I suggest simple readers with less than 100 words to start with (but, of course, vary this depending on your child’s abilities and needs).
I took photos of the characters in the book and printed them out on regular paper, four to a page, making these flashcard or index card size. (For licensing reasons, I can’t make printables for you, but it’s a pretty easy method to put together for whatever book you’re using!)
We read through the book once (again) together, then I started asking recall questions.
Me: “Who gave Cat the book?”
This was too hard as an open-ended question, so I picked two of the characters cards I printed.
Me: “Who gave Cat the book – Dog or Elephant?”
His response: [points to the dog card, then signs and approximates “dog”]
Me: “Why did Cat go in?”
His response: [signs and approximates the word “cold”]
Then, I tried to see how well he would do with story event sequencing.
Me: “Who did Cat meet first?”
[Hesitation and no response.]
I grabbed two of the character cards. “Did Cat meet Rat or Rabbit first?”
His response: [points to rabbit, thinks about it, then points to rat]
We continued through each page of the story to place all the character cards in order.
We didn’t this time, but in the future, I’ll also begin to insert questions like, “Who was playing piano?” and “What made Cat happy?”
We can also incorporate matching activities where he can place the characters cards on the correct pages of the book.
By taking your own photos (for family use only, of course), you can also zoom in on particular parts of an illustration to pinpoint details within a story.
Providing these visual cues and multiple-choice answers do make the comprehension skills simpler, but for now, we want to see him be able to express the information I know he can recall and began to verbalize (or sign) contextual knowledge of a story. “Why” questions will come much later.
How about you? If you have a visual learner, how would this strategy help him or her? If you have a child with verbal delays, how do you check for reading comprehension?
This post is also linked up with The Homeschool Village’s Ultimate Homeschool Link-Up, Homeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten Corner, Tuesday Tots, Toddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-op, Show and Share Saturday, and Free Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party.