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Strategies for Reading Comprehension for Students with LD

Hi group user,

Do you have students with LD in your adult education class?  Of course, I would be very surprised to find any adult basic education or GED teacher that would answer that question with a simple NO.  

I am including information from Robert Head and Raymond Leblanc on reading comprehension that might give you some additional techniques to try.  For more ideas, go to http://ldatschool.ca/classroom/literacy/effective-instructional-vocabulary/ >

Vocabulary is one of the five core components of reading instruction, along with phonemic awareness, phonics and word study, fluency, and comprehension.  Vocabulary holds communication and comprehension together.  For many LD students, vocabulary acquisition and instruction are most challenging.  Educational research suggests that vocabulary should be taught both directly and indirectly, using multiple strategies simultaneously and/or consecutively.  Unfortunately, one teacher can't teach students all the words they need to learn.  Teachers can expose students to new words by requiring a lot of reading, and including new vocabulary into instruction and everyday usage.

The following best practices have been reported to improve vocabulary acquisition for those learners with LD that have reading comprehension deficits:

  1. explicit instruction

  2. increasing practices

  3. engaging in intervention frameworks such as the Tiered Approach

  4. utilizing multi-modal processes

  5. conducting semantic mapping and summarization

  6. adopting cooperative learning strategies

  7. answering questions and question generation

  8. learner self-questioning

  9. teacher (non-assessment) feedback

  10. repeated exposure to new vocabulary

By using visual organizational strategies, asking questions, elaborating on meanings, and engaging in cooperative dialogues, student outcomes will improve.      

For vocabulary acquisition, research has shown that multiple strategies including those below will be successful:

  1. explicit instruction

  2. increasing the practice

  3. engaging in intervention frameworks

  4. utilizing multi-modal processes

  5. conducting semantic mapping and summarization

  6. adopting cooperative learning strategies

  7. answering questions and question generation

  8. learner self-questioning

  9. teacher (non-assessment) feedback

  10. repeated exposure to new vocabulary

  11. computer-assisted instruction

  12. fluency-building vocabulary activities

  13. mnemonic instructional strategies

  14. concept enhancement instruction

  15. reading aloud

  16. including figurative information such as definitions and context information about word meaning

  17. involving children actively in word learning

  18. promoting reading widely

  19. providing multiple exposures to meaningful information about words

  20. exposing students to high quality targeted oral language

  21. encouraging word consciousness

  22. directly teaching word meaning

  23. teaching word-learning strategies, and more.

Research-based components for effective vocabulary instruction include:

  1. reading widely (a variety of types and genres of reading selections)

  2. teacher-modeled high quality targeted oral language (set the bar ever-higher)

  3. being word conscious (speak well)

  4. teaching word meaning (stop and explain)

  5. teaching word-learning strategies (suggest strategies as they may be applied)

Keeping word diaries or to keep charts check-listing new words is a technique that can be especially useful in adult education.

For teachers using direct vocabulary, the following steps are suggested:

  1. Preview the text, even when using text that has pre-selected vocabulary words.

  2. Read the passage and identify vocabulary words students may find unfamiliar.

  3. Select words that are key/important to understanding the text.

  4. List words that may be challenging for students. Do not worry about teaching all of them – a few before reading are sufficient.

  5. Determine which words are defined in the text by direct definition or through context, and expand on these post-reading.

  6. Identify words students may know based on their prefixes, suffixes and base or root words.

  7. Consider students’ prior knowledge.

  8. Determine the importance of the word. Will word knowledge be helpful in other content areas?”

  9. Teach words before students read that may include words that will be encountered in other texts and content areas; words important to understanding main ideas; words that are not a part of student’ prior knowledge; words unlikely to be learned independently..

If you have used these techniques/strategies successfully, please share your experiences.

Thanks,

Rochelle Kenyon, SME