Most people mistake reading comprehension with sight reading. The fact is, learning to read is a demanding process. Several complex cognitive functions are involved. It includes skills such as metacognition, visualization, drawing conclusions and navigating through information with personal experience. On the other hand, sight reading is characterized by decoding skills, phonetic and phonemic as well, which are usually strengths for students diagnosed with some form of autism.
Although some teachers believe reading comprehension is an intuitive process and hence hard to teach, with the right resources, improvements can be made. Here are five books which have proven to be successful in enhancing reading comprehension amongst children with autism:
7 Keys to Comprehension by Susan Zimmerman
This is an easy and interesting book to read as it provides clear examples and is based on years of research. Keys to comprehension are: Sensory images ( visualizing the meaning of the word and relating it to real-life sights, smells etc), Background knowledge ( Checking what the child knows about the topic and using it for the better understanding), Questioning, Drawing conclusion ( Concluding on something which is not explicitly stated), Choose the important information ( Recognize an important part in the storyline, Synthezing ( Putting pieces together in order to understand what the writer wanted to say), Fix-up strategies.
Autism and Reading Comprehension by Joseph Porter
It is a perfectly designed curriculum for children whose expressive language is a bit delayed. The main complaint about the book is that is starts with the presumption that the reader is at very low cognitive level. However, tasks are interesting such as Color the cat blue. What color is the cat? Many children enjoyed lessons and found it rather helpful.
Once the child has mastered basic comprehension techniques this site offers a wide variety of books which are suitable for child’s level of comprehension. Also, the site offers options such as read the book aloud, tape yourself while listening to the book aloud and answer many questions regarding the book.
Many children would make a progress in learning and reading if it was for the teachers to guide them properly. However, many teachers do have a confusing approach to this issue which results in children being ashamed of their disability to understand chapters and often discouraged. Significant progress has been made since the chapters have been divided into smaller parts.
It is an online library for disabled people which is completely free and accessible to students who live in the United States. Books can be read on computer, phone, tabled or some other electronics. Also, students can listen to the book while at the same time reading it, or pay attention to special or more difficult words.
Do you have a suggestion on how to improve reading comprehension among children diagnosed with autism? Do you have experience with sources listed above?