Ricki Linksman addresses common question on tips to improve reading scores.
My son’s state reading test scores are low. When I listen to him read he stumbles over many words. How can I find out what the problem is. What can I do to help him?
LINKSMAN: There are four main areas that could be causing his problem. They are phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency.
A reading diagnosis needs to be made to determine:
a) whether he can sound out or decode the words at the level at which the text is;
b) whether he understands the vocabulary words at that level;
c) whether he comprehends what he reads; and
d) whether he can read fast enough to complete the test in the given time.
I suggest that you select a book at his grade level and listen to him read to you. If he is struggling with many words, then a more thorough reading diagnosis needs to be made to determine which of the above four reasons are causing the problem. Once that is determined, then he can get help in the appropriate area.
My daughter was diagnosed with ADD two years ago. She is on medication, but I feel that she has not shown any gains in reading in those two years. Is it hopeless, or is there something that can be done?
Many people assume that the medication for ADD is suddenly going to make someone a good reader. The medication may help the child focus better, but the child still needs to receive reading instruction in the areas that he or she is lacking. The medication does not teach reading; it helps the student stay concentrated.
If your daughter is not reading well, then you must find out why. A reading diagnosis can determine her gaps in the different areas of reading. Once that is done, then systematic instruction to fill in those gaps can be provided. It is definitely not hopeless.
Ricki Linksman is an advisory board member for ACN Latitudes. She is Director of the National Reading Diagnostics Institute ReadingInstruction.com.