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Clarissa started speaking at the expected time, she was very social, she had no articulation errors (her speech sounds were correct), and she could read books that were close to her grade-level. However, she could not understand what she read. The level that she could comprehend was far below the level at which she could read. And she could not understand any directions that were more than a single, simple step.
So what did we do for dear Clarissa?
We started with an additional assessment by a speech and language pathologist (SLP), who determined that Clarissa has a language processing disorder and recommended speech and language services.
With these services added, I was able to collaborate with the SLP to reinforce what was being worked on there. My main focus was working on building up Clarissa’s reading comprehension.
I had Clarissa read texts in small chunks, just one or two sentences at a time. These texts were well below her reading ability level, and she read them multiple times.
Then we focused on visualization of these 1-2 simple sentences. I would have her describe what the sentences she had just read LOOKED like. At times, I would have her draw something she had just read about (she enjoyed art). She also would act out some of what she read.
We bolstered her vocabulary knowledge explicitly and had her act or draw out the vocabulary within the context of what she was reading.
We helped build connections between what she was reading and any other background knowledge she might need to better understand it.
And we focused on her interests- providing books that she wanted to read, and texts about subjects that she was interested in.
With time and a lot of patient practice, Clarissa began to more quickly comprehend what she was reading, and was able to comprehend most of what she was reading. She still had more to practice, but she was on the way!