Comprehension

Jimmy reads really well. He makes hardly any mistakes. With a frown of intense concentration he shows off his skills and they are quite remarkable. The odd small word may be changed or deleted, but nobody notices. Parents and teachers are happy – not noticing that much of the comprehension is not happening.

There is so much focus on children learning to read, that comprehension is taking a back seat. Even if we ask afterwards some questions, there is enough of an idea about the content to make some sense of the story. If slightly different to the author’s idea, most people don’t notice. We are all busy and quite used to pay attention only partially.

When I listen to Jimmy, I ask very detailed questions, questions that can only be answered if the text is not only understood, but seen as a movie, clearly and very detailed. I prefer someone to slow down and take in everything: Pictures,  feelings, a sense of the story, a smell, the memory of a group of objects or ideas mentioned. Simply: everything.

If attention is paid to detail in reading, not only is our mind getting sharper and more focused, but that same attention often translates to other parts of our lives. Since most dyslexic learners are rather big picture and not so much ‘detail-oriented’, this can help them to master both. It is highly beneficial to have a big ideas-brain, the overview and a creative solution-based mind, it will be just as useful to have the stamina to persevere to a more detailed mind – to the left side of the brain.

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