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#1 Hypnic Jerk

Posted 19 December 2012 - 03:37 PM

Can someone put me on to a good evidence - based website with information about:

how children learn to read?

What is indicative of problems?

Comprehension vs ability to read (say) the word

Relevance of pictures in learning to read.

#2 firstatforty

Posted 19 December 2012 - 09:20 PM



Hi Duffy - I haven't looked at these pages in depth but thought they might help you. I know my son's reading is behind due to his autism and verbal apraxia. His speechie has been helping him with his speech and literacy problems and has also given us activities to do at home. He's 5. If you have any questions about what we've doing please ask.

#3 Hypnic Jerk

Posted 20 December 2012 - 07:32 AM

My feeling is that reading will help his speech - it's a visual cue (or prompt, I get confused between the two).

I spoke to his teacher, he is reading well at level 2, including comprehension and answering questions.  I'm concerned that this is not far enough advanced for a child who is going into grade 1.  Hence I want to educate myself up on the reading with comprehension.

I'd like to know what you are doing with your speechy.  Ours has been targeting articulation at my insistence.  His quality of the speech tap hat he had was so poor that it was only me that could understand him, and that put the pressure on by his dependence on me.

#4 baddmammajamma

Posted 20 December 2012 - 08:17 AM

Slightly off course, my friend, but I think we ASD mammas have to be several steps ahead of the game. wink.gif

If you haven't already done so, you might want to consider consulting a good educational psych -- one who has experiences working with kids with ASD -- to more accurately gauge your son's capabilities, get a better sense of learning style, and develop strategies that can be used at school & at home to support his learning.

I appreciate that some teachers and schools are hesitant to raise a red flag about potential learning disorders/issues when a child is just finishing their FYOS, but when you have a child with ASD, there's a decent chance that you are going to be dealing with -- at the very least -- learning "differences" throughout their schooling.

I've just seen one too many friends be told not to worry/it's too soon to be concerned when their children were struggling with reading or other foundational skills, only to later discover that there were other issues in play.

#5 Hypnic Jerk

Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:21 PM

K, his ABA team consults at the school.  I've just checked and his supervisor has her BA in psych, but the other supervisor who works with the older kids has a masters in educational and developmental psych.  She also did his IQ assessment for school funding.

His teacher was very quick to give me detailed answers on his reading - it's clearly something she is watching closely and she seemed ok with the level 2 because of his comprehension and ability to answer questions about the text.  

It's rather hard to have a conversation about a text with someone who can't speak well,  even his speech path misunderstands words he says.  But I don't want his (in)ability to talk to hold him back unnecessarily from developing the skill of reading.

So before raising the matter past the cursory 'what do you think of his reading'? I want to get myself better informed.

I was referred onto 'how to teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons' which uses direct instruction.  This was by another psych friend of mine, who takes her evidence base very seriously.  We are up to lesson 5 and it is more like speech therapy so far (in a good way).

#6 baddmammajamma

Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:42 PM

Glad that you guys have such good support in the school!

Could you ask the supervisor (the one who is the edu/dev psych) to make some recommendations? I'd be happy to shoot a note out to my outside-of-EB contacts to see if anyone has concrete suggestions for resources.

#7 Lyra

Posted 20 December 2012 - 12:59 PM

Please ignore me if I am off track here! If there are issues around speech could you give him some visual cues? For example: if I were about to read 1:1 with a child a book about pirates I would ask: What kinds of things might you find in a book about pirates? What do pirates wear/do/say? etc etc If he is having speech issues could you give him some pirate and non-pirate pictures and ask him which of these pictures might be in the book?

At the end of the book I might ask: what do you think might happen next? But you could give him a few options as pictures and ask which of these pictures might be next?

Obviously, level 2 books are not known for their great narrative arcs LOL but you might do better testing his comprehension with pictures rather than words. Sometimes as teachers we need to ask ourselves:What am I testing here? The ability to say the words correctly or the the comprehension?

#8 Hypnic Jerk

Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:08 PM

Lyra, your brain works better than mine for ideas.  His teacher is obviously focused on the comprehension, but I feel that because his speech is so poor he can comprehend more than we realise.  And I want to develop both comprehension and the ability to say words properly.  I knew a mum who's son had poor speech, but developed the ability to type his thoughts, then read them back.  This worked better for him than trying to directly speak.

K, thanks, ask away.  I will follow it up next year when school goes back, I just want to arm myself with a bit of info first.

Lyra, you must be a teacher.  Where does level 2 sit for preps in vic?

#9 Lyra

Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:16 PM

Yes, I am a teacher. But can't tell you where level 2 sits for Vic as I have been out of the classroom for awhile and am a bit rusty on all that. Also, I tend to teach upper grades. My previous school had a lot of ESL students so I well versed in a student's inability to properly get their message across

I like the idea of typing the words and getting him to read it back. The major downside with that is kids can be such slow typers. I would be more inclined to use cards with words on them that he can choose or a combination of picture and word cards ie if I wanted a student to write a narrative I would have some sentence starters, and then some boxes with pictures in. Do you want write a story about a dragon or about space? Each box would have words relevant to that topic and then I would have conjunctions, adjectives etc on other cards. Does that make sense?

Have you looked into cued articulation? That focuses on teaching each individual sound but can be a great boon to kids who are having trouble with forming words

#10 Expelliarmus

Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:24 PM

Asking a child on level 2 to type would be extremely problematic. They generally don't have that skill yet, nor handwriting ability to that level.

I don't know where level 2 sits in vic specifically but IIRC others on EB have said level 5 is the vic benchmark for end of FYOS. Level 2 seems low for me, but if your child does have speech issues it could indeed be masking his ability to successfully express comprehension and thus move up the levels.

You are probably right in that he comprehends more than has been discovered thus far due to difficulty expressing it through speech. But if that is the case I would expect that measuring his comprehension would have been adjusted to take his speech into account.

This is a website that might help with comprehension teaching and practice ideas http://www.readwritethink.org/parent-afterschool-resources/

#11 Hypnic Jerk

Posted 20 December 2012 - 01:53 PM

Sorry, should add, the child who typed his thoughts and read was much older, and it really something that I thought 'we'll good on them for thinking outside the square'.  I'm not thinking of teaching him to type yet.  Waaaay much more work to do with the speech path.

He was doing PROMPT therapy with the speechy.  But she found that he was responding well to imitation when she works with him, so just pulls it out as needed.  Next year we will move forward from articulation and tackle pronouns and language use.  We were just looking at artic because I was frustrated that my mother couldn't understand his efforts, which must be encouraged.

#12 0zeKid

Posted 20 December 2012 - 02:42 PM

How children learn to read?
If you have time to read a book (which I rarely do with two children!), take a look at Proust and the Squid. It covers the science behind reading. I downloaded the audio version which was very handy.

Also look at this site which explains the most modern type of phonics, synthetic phonics (the synthetic label can be misleading but it has nothing to do with being fake). This method of teaching reading gets kids up and running from day one and sets them up for life.

What is indicative of problems?
Comprehension vs ability to read (say) the word
Relevance of pictures in learning to read.
This site has articles, research and white papers which will be useful in answering these three questions. http://www.getreadingright.com.au/synthetic-phonics/. This program is also useful for children with learning challenges so you may want to fish around here in general.

Finally, an Essential Baby article which talks about the benefits of reading daily to children as a way to help them learn to read, understand comprehension and increase their word bank.

And if you want to get tips, downloadables and free reading 'lesson' plan ideas (which I just did at home with my two). Sign up for this newsletter:

Good luck.

#13 Hypnic Jerk

Posted 21 December 2012 - 07:42 AM

Thanks Ozekid, I've looked at you links.  It looks like the book I have is the same sort of stuff synthetic phonics is, perhaps just a little older!

Interestingly enough, even though he was read to heaps as a child he now hates his school readers and I have less trouble getting him to do the lesson plan with '100 easy lessons'.  I think it's his style of learning, it is highly structured where as the readers are more unpredictable.

I think, for comprehension I need to find a reason for him to read and give him texts that are outside the prep-level readers.  Ideas I have for this are (feel free to add):
Cooking - following the recipe
'Treasure hunt' - hide his toys and he has to find them by reading and following the directions - 'look under the table, open the door'
Work out his interests and get books on those topics

Just as an aside, I read an article of a married couple who both had CP.  I recall her saying she felt that too much emphasis had been place on teaching her to speak at the expense of learning for the sake of learning.  As much as I want him to learn to speak, I want him to learn, and to love learning.

#14 0zeKid

Posted 21 December 2012 - 10:35 AM

Pleased the links help.

I love the cooking idea! My DD1 had a similar problem with the readers (ADHD child) and comprehension, she just didn't see the point of many of them with random sentences and the ones in the classroom were too easy for her so for a while her reading started slipping. Thankfully for us a local author who happens to write stories about two cats (she looooves cats) did a reading in Dymocks and his has given her a chance to talk about the books with her.

Talking and discussing the books can help with comprehension too. I am trying to encourage DD1 (she is a little older BTW, 8) to write her own stories too and we are discussing the characters, the problem and how it might be solved.

I have purchased a pretty blank drawing pad for her to put her story thoughts on it. Also asked the family to buy books for Christmas on topics she likes. That was hard for some who think the cat obsession should not be encouraged (haha to them)!


#15 Chaos in stereo

Posted 21 December 2012 - 10:48 AM


Edited by Chaos in stereo, 26 August 2013 - 05:15 PM.

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