Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is based on the comprehension of spoken language.  Reading comprehension deficits are often not identified until the student masters the basics of reading decoding.  This reading for meaning becomes the emphasis of reading instruction in the 3rd and 4th grades.  Reading comprehension is often difficult to measure if the reader has difficulty decoding words and identifying “sight” word; therefore, receptive language assessments can be used to identify language comprehension deficits and the basis of reading comprehension deficits.

Diagnosing reading comprehension includes a comparison of reading decoding and word identification (accuracy), reading fluency (speed) and reading comprehension.  This enables an accurate identification of the nature of the individual’s reading challenges.

  1. Reading evaluation that measures the differences between accuracy (word decoding and identification), fluency (speed) and comprehension.
  2. Reading Comprehension:
    • vocabulary comprehension
    • comprehension of spoken paragraphs
    • paragraph reading comprehension

Hispanic girl wearing eye glasses and reading bookAdditional evaluations may be recommended depending on results of diagnostic evaluations. Upon identification of reading comprehension as the primary area of difficulty, further evaluations for receptive language by a speech and language pathologist are often needed to explore the nature of the reading comprehension deficit.

Reading comprehension strategies include utilizing prior knowledge, identifying the main ideas and details, predicting outcomes, summarizing information, making inferences, and visualizing. Awareness and understanding of text organization is also an important role in successful reading comprehension.

These include text headings and subheading, graphs, tables and pictures.  Identifying the type of text as narrative (story) or expository (information) is also key to successful comprehension.

Vocabulary is based reader’s knowledge of word meanings.  Vocabulary knowledge includes understanding synonyms, antonyms, multiple meanings and everyday vocabulary. Subject vocabulary is also emphasized beginning in the upper elementary grades and is often of benefit in the high school and college level.