One of the struggles teachers and parents have with a student who has Autism and other learning difficulties is getting them to comprehend what they read. Children with Autism and other leaning difficulties may be able to read fluently, but when you ask them to tell you what they read, you may met with a blank stare or frustration. This can be challenging because you want to see the child succeed. So, what do you do? Well, here are some strategies for teaching reading comprehension to students with Autism to try:
Build Background Knowledge
If a student is reading something they have no clue about, it’s going to be harder for him or her to comprehend the test. Present information about the topic so the student can better understand. For example, you could show the student a movie related to the text, tell the student a story that is related to the text, or help the student create connections between his or her own experinces.
Talk Before Reading
If you already know the child can read, but isn’t understanding what he or she reads, you don’t want to jump right into reading. Instead, look at the book, talk about the pictures, and ask questions. Here are some questions that can help trigger comprehension:
- What do you think this book will be about?
- What do you think is happening in this picture?
- Who do you think that person/animal is?
- Where do you think the story is happening?
You can give options with your questions such as: Do you think this person is the mom, the dad, or the sister?
Read the Story for Meaning
Then, read the story to find out if the child was correct. Each time you find an answer to a question such as who is that person, stop the child from reading and remind him or her that they just got one of their questions answered. Try to make a list of questions before reading the story, so that each time you find the answer, you can stop and write it down.
Act it Out
Another way to help teach comprehension is to have the students act out parts of the story. You can give them a character to play, or you can just let them act it out as you read it. If a student is a little shy and doesn’t feel comfortable acting out the story, you can always have them act it out on paper. Drawing things they remember is a great way to help with that comprehension.
Play Games to Encourage Comprehension
Many times, children will get bored doing the same thing over and over. Playing a game gives the child a break, but can still be educational. You see, students don’t realize they are learning while they play. So, here are a few of my comprehension brain break games:
These strategies are great ways to help those with Autism learn comprehension. If you have a student that isn’t responding to these strategies, consider Reading Patch. This system is focussed on building confidence to enhance reading literacy.