PERSONAL STORIES

“Casey is a smart girl, she just flip flops the letters when she sees them on the page. She gets so frustrated when she tries to read on paper. If she hears me read something, she can almost always answer questions I ask about it!”

“At the end of each story we do, I ask the students recall questions and critical thinking questions.  When Abigail answers hers, she almost always remembers some parts of what we read. However, there is also always something missing. She can hone in on some of the most interesting details, but then will miss the big picture entirely. This shows up even more with those critical thinking questions.”

“James is a pretty good reader.  He can spell almost anything you ask him to. But he cannot tell a story in a straight line. Whether he’s retelling a story he read or telling something from his own experience or imagination, he always goes off on a tangent and never gets to the end.”

 

These stories show the challenges these students are facing. Some look like fluency struggles- when a student has a hard time reading the words on the page. These students sometimes are suspected of or have a diagnosis of dyslexia. 

Other stories show the more nuanced struggle of comprehension. Oral and written comprehension and verbal expression are both vital to success in school and everyday living. Students with comprehension deficits often don’t have an official diagnosis and can look like they have given up or stopped trying.


Common signs of fluency struggle:  


- bright, yet unable to read, write at grade level
- “not trying hard enough"
- learns orally
- difficulty attending
- reports feeling “dumb”
- difficulty spelling
- good at hands-on activities
- avoids reading out loud
- learns best when read to them



Common signs of comprehension struggle: 


- reads accurately, unable to summarize story
- difficulty retrieving words, “it’s on the tip of my tongue”
- hard time understanding humor
- difficulty following directions
- challenge following conversations
- struggles with transitions, changes
- difficulty with critical thinking
- social interaction does not come easily
- better understanding facts rather than concepts
- difficulty memorizing
- sometimes repeats last phrase someone said instead of answering question
- hard time holding attention

 
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