PDA

View Full Version : Comprehension issues



hreneeh
10-11-2011, 02:06 PM
Okay so we've been homeschooling for all of 8 weeks now and it has been going along pretty well. But, there has been a marked up tick of requirements from our curriculum (MBTP) for reading comprehension and my son is failing miserably. Here's an example:

Today we were doing biographies of leaders and he chose Barack Obama. We read through once. Then as we read through the second time I stopped and elaborated on the areas I knew the questions were going to cover. We specifically talked about troubling things in childhood, what being charismatic meant etc. . . He seemed really interested and asked questions. Then I ask the questions. Get blank stare. I mean one question was "how did this person struggle or overcome difficulty as a young person?" We must have talked for 5 minutes about Obama going to a school where there were only 3 black kids and him being poor but still going to college. The kid just stared at me. I sent him back to read it on his own (I had read it to him previously) and he came back and just shrugged his shoulders.
When I finally gave him the answer he said, "oh I but he was 10 then that isn't young!".

I'm just at my wits end. It pervades everything from math to now MBTP. He just absolutely can't seem to get it unless it is written so point blank that it leaves no doubt. Part of it is he's afraid to get it wrong but the other part I just don't get. He can have a conversation with me about the subject but can't answer questions that cover the topic we just talked about for 30 minutes.

Is there something I'm missing in my newness. Is there something I can do to get him out of this. At this point I don't even feel we can continue with the curriculum because I'm having to answer all the questions.

HELP! I"m sorry Ithought I put in that he's on MBTP 6-8 and he's 7.

dbmamaz
10-11-2011, 02:51 PM
First of all, please put your child's age in your posts or in your signature so we have some idea . . cuz i, for one, have an awful memory and cant remember how old anyones kids are.

And the only other thing I can say is that my son struggles too - we dont do too much with it, but i'm working on asking him questions while we are reading and right after, so it maybe will settle in to his brain better. He remembers things better when he is interested, of course . . . which limits him to math and astronomy atm . . .

dragonfly
10-11-2011, 07:00 PM
I had similar difficulties throughout the years with my son (now 14). I often had to re-phrase questions several times before he understood what was being asked of him. Particularly troubling were questions that started with "How...". Substituting "In what way," or something similar would sometimes help. Occasionally I would literally go over the question word by word, and ask him if he understood each one, or what they meant by each one. Sometimes the oddest word would trip him up, whether because he had never seen or heard it before, or because it was being used in a way that was unfamiliar or didn't make sense to him in the context of the rest of the question.

I think that these types of critical thinking and comprehension skills take longer for some kids to develop. You might have to ask some questions in several different ways, and explain what is being asked so that he'll know what he's supposed to say. It sounds like your son is having more trouble making the link between the question and the answer than understanding the reading...?

It's frustrating, and I'm not sure that there's a magic solution. Try not to force it, because that will just lead to frustration and resistance on his part. Do your best to make sure he understands, and it will get better in time.

Lak001
10-11-2011, 07:20 PM
My dd has okay comprehension skills, but bad in articulating what she reads. i know she understands the context, and knows the answers. But to articulate it in a simple way is challenging for her. I don't know if it is due to the fact that we speak a different language at home. She only speaks in English, but can comprehend my mother-tongue very clearly. i was wondering if i should stop talking to her in my mother-tongue :(

farrarwilliams
10-11-2011, 08:41 PM
I think that's normal. My 7 yos are like that. Sometimes they're so insightful and make these amazing connections. Other times I'm like, but I just read that! How do you not remember?!? Just keep practicing it. Do narrations. It'll help.

Teri
10-12-2011, 12:01 AM
We, too, use MBTP. I think what you are experiencing is perfectly normal at 7. MBTP introduces those kinds of questions early on, but it can take a while before a kid starts to think that way. I can tell you that my 9,10 and 11 year old are really good at it now, though. ;)

lakshmi
10-12-2011, 01:34 AM
That happens sometimes.

I sometimes ask very easy questions that I can point to the answer. And other times I just talk to them about stuff that is in there. And get them talking too. My kids never went to school so they didn't get into staying quiet about stuff, they just blurt out stuff.

hreneeh
10-12-2011, 09:45 AM
@drogonfly - yes I think you have it correct. He understands what he has read so it doesn't seem to be a comprehension issue (as I wrote it was) he just can't take what he understands an answer a question about it.

If I'm understanding everyone correctly, this is pretty typical. For now do I ask the questions, give him a chance and then prompt with the correct answer and where I got it from? This is not a new problem. Last year in school he would leave many questions unanswered because he said he didn't get it. Now I am starting to understand the issue. But, I still don't know how to help him. Is it a time may tell sort of thing?

farrarwilliams
10-12-2011, 10:48 AM
I think it's more related to cognitive development than anything else, so yeah, time will tell. Obviously if you don't practice doing it - asking questions and so forth, then you don't get a chance to develop those skills though, so I think you just keep at it, but don't let it upset you or worry too much when he struggles to do it.

Teri
10-12-2011, 12:27 PM
Can you give an example of the questions he is struggling with? There is so little reading in the 6-8 level, that I am having trouble remembering what kinds of questions that they asked back then.
You might try approaching the question with questions that will lead up to it. For example, if it asks, "How do you think the character felt when.....?"
Start with the facts. What happened to the character? Where was the character? Who was involved? then maybe relate the event to something he has gone through....Has anything like that ever happened to you? or if that is too much Do you remember when xxx happened to you? Ask him how he felt and THEN you can ask how the character felt.
Some kids have a hard time with the really ambiguous questions that ask you to infer something.

lakshmi
10-12-2011, 12:44 PM
I think it's more related to cognitive development than anything else, so yeah, time will tell. Obviously if you don't practice doing it - asking questions and so forth, then you don't get a chance to develop those skills though, so I think you just keep at it, but don't let it upset you or worry too much when he struggles to do it.

Great advice


Can you give an example of the questions he is struggling with? There is so little reading in the 6-8 level, that I am having trouble remembering what kinds of questions that they asked back then.
You might try approaching the question with questions that will lead up to it. For example, if it asks, "How do you think the character felt when.....?"
Start with the facts. What happened to the character? Where was the character? Who was involved? then maybe relate the event to something he has gone through....Has anything like that ever happened to you? or if that is too much Do you remember when xxx happened to you? Ask him how he felt and THEN you can ask how the character felt.
Some kids have a hard time with the really ambiguous questions that ask you to infer something.

Also great advice.

The thing that stand out for me is this....."but 10 years old isn't young" To me it seems there is some need to clarify terms. And to expand the discussion like what Teri was saying. And agreed the more practice, the better. I know that when I ask the leading questions it seems to work wonders. And in co-op I've found a common thread with Star Wars and I ask questions about SW and they "get" it. And then relate it back to the current book.

As in, "What is the setting?"
"uh, i don't know."

"What is the setting of SW?"
" uh i don't know.."

" Oh what happens on that big floating thing."
". Oh the death star?"
"yeah, the death star"...

"Could that be the setting?"
" Oh yeah."

" So if the action is happening on the death star and the death star is the setting, then what is the setting in this book"
" uh, a farm?"
" Yeah!!! a Farm."