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Reading Comprehension Programs
Q: What do you think of the Visualizing and Verbalizing Program for assisting a 10-year-old child who has a weakness in reading comprehension? Are there other recommended programs to enhance reading comprehension?
A: I like Visualizing and Verbalizing, the reading comprehension program from Lindamood Bell, a lot. It capitalizes on the need to "make a movie" in your mind about what you are reading. The program guides you through a basic picture level of visualizing through single sentences, multiple sentences, paragraphs, and longer pieces of text. I have found it particularly helpful for children who have expressive language difficulties. You can get more information about this program by going to the Lindamood Bell website or calling their publisher, Gander Educational Publishing, at 1-800-554-1819.
There are many other comprehension strategies that are effective, but I can't think of another program like Visualizing and Verbalizing that I could recommend. Use of graphic organizers for both content area text and stories can be useful to understand the underlying text structure (e.g., setting, characters, problem, actions, solution/resolution for stories; some text structures for content area text include compare/contrast; descriptive passages; cause and effect passages, etc.). You can find examples of graphic organizers for different text structures in the computer program, Inspiration. You can download a 30-day trial copy from their website. Understanding this structure helps students to make sense of text better.
There are many ways to help kids to comprehend better, but first you need to know what is getting in their way. For many more ideas about this important topic, have a look at Katherine Maria's book, Reading Comprehension Instruction: Issues and Strategies published by York Press. You can also find information and strategies to improve reading on FamilyEducation.com.
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.