7 Signs of Reading Comprehension Problems in Children and Adults

7 Signs of Reading Comprehension Problems in Children and Adults

Reading comprehension problems are lifelong issues that can truly hurt anyone’s learning process.

These problems can take many different forms, from ADHD to dyslexia. But, people with these learning issues typically show some of the same signs. It’s important to look out for these signs as an indicator of a comprehension problem.

If you believe that someone in your life is suffering from comprehension problems, there are always ways to recover. But, the first step to any recovery process is identifying that the problem actually exists.

Here are 7 signs of reading comprehension problems that anyone, from adults to children, might show.

1. Showing No Interest In Reading

Avoiding reading and writing is one of the most basic signs of a reading comprehension issue.

Much of this avoidance actually stems from a lack of self-confidence within individuals that actually have a problem. These problems make reading and writing difficult and frustrating, to the point where people avoid them altogether.

One easy way to notice these issues among younger children usually comes with assigned reading.

As part of their school tasks, children may be required to read for a certain amount of time each day. If your child struggles to reach that mark on a consistent basis, this may be a sign that they are avoiding reading because of their struggles.

2. Difficulty Following Basic Directions

While following directions does not necessarily need to be a reading comprehension issue, it is a sign of comprehension problems in general.

For example, your child or family member may easily be able to understand and follow along with “go to the car”. But, when the instructions become, “Go to the car and grab me a water bottle” they may not follow all the directions.

This difficulty in following directions may be caused by what their brain perceives as an “overload” of information to process.

It may seem like the information goes in one ear and out the other. But, the problem really it is an inability to focus on all the information that is manifesting itself as a lack of attention.

3. Difficulty Pronouncing or Recognizing Words

One way that reading comprehension problems manifest themselves is as a difficulty when reading aloud.

This usually happens because people with these issues have a hard time understanding when reading. So, it is even more difficult for them to project these words out to a crowd or when delivering a message.

These signs may be detected when you hear someone reading a news story aloud.

You may notice that they take a very long time to read it, or that they may slip up on many common words. You might also see them struggle to convey the message in the way that it was meant to be read or conveyed.

4. Issues Understanding What Was Read

At its base, reading comprehension is an ability to understand what you are reading.

For example, if I describe a blue house to you, you can visually picture this house. People with reading comprehension often have a difficult time processing and understanding what they are actually reading and conveying it back in other ways.

One clear example of a problem with reading comprehension is not scoring well on a reading comprehension assessment.

Another example may be a difficulty understanding exactly what a corporate email is trying to say and following the directions or processing the details in this email.

5. Taking Long to Solve Basic Tasks

Another sign of reading comprehension problems is an inability to complete basic tasks.

This is especially true when the instructions are something that is written. For example, if you find that a loved one has a hard time taking IKEA instructions on how to build a chair and putting them into proper action, this may be a sign of reading comprehension issues.

This issue is especially pronounced if the person you are looking after makes many mistakes in the process, especially things that may seem silly to mess up on. This may be caused by a difficulty understanding the instructions due to their comprehension problems.

6. Poor Penmanship

Dysgraphia is a disorder that makes it so that the person who suffers from it has very bad handwriting.

While some people simply seem to have bad handwriting, dysgraphia is special because it can be directly connected to other learning disabilities, especially those that impact the comprehension of words and letters.

Dysgraphia usually happens because patients have a difficult time writing and thinking at the same time. This is because of their learning disability, such as dyslexia, that makes it so that they need to focus more attention on what they are writing.

This leads to a lack of attention on the quality of the handwriting, which leads to significantly worse writing quality.

7. Family History of Reading Comprehension Problems

Unfortunately, one of the biggest telltale signs of reading comprehension problems is if there is a history of it in the family.

Most of these issues are passed down over generations and can even become more pronounced in the family over time. If you have a reading comprehension issue, it is fully possible that your child will too.

On the other hand, if you are noticing any of these signs in yourself, you should try to notice if your parents also showed signs of these disabilities. This may be a family problem that you should try to be prepared for and tackle as soon as possible.

Recovering From Reading Comprehension Problems

Though reading comprehension problems can be a difficult disorder to cope with, there are some good strategies out there that will help make them livable. In fact, working with professionals can often make these problems almost completely disappear or irrelevant.

If you have identified any of these problems and are looking for professionals to help you get through them, you’ve come to the right place. Contact us to schedule an appointment with a therapist that will help you with your comprehension and learning problems.

How to Help Your Child Develop a Strong Vocabulary

How to Help Your Child Develop a Strong Vocabulary

Are you looking to help your child improve their vocabulary, but aren’t sure where to begin?

Helping your child build their vocabulary is one of the most worthwhile things you can do for them. Not only will a strong vocabulary help them in school, but it will also help them in everyday life.

A strong vocabulary helps foster communication, understanding, and critical thinking, both inside and outside the classroom.

And, the great news is that helping your child improve their vocabulary can be relatively easy and fun–if you know how to do it.

So, where do you start?

Read on to learn how to help your child develop a strong vocabulary.

Use “Grown Up” Words When Conversing With Your Child

Too many parents fall into the habit of talking to their child like they’re a baby. But, guess what, the more you talk down to your child, the less likely they are to develop a strong vocabulary.

Of course, you want your child to understand what you are saying. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t sprinkle in a few “grown-up words” into your conversations.

From now on, when you speak to your child, use some words that you would use in a conversation with an adult. After you use a big word, be sure to pause and see if your child needs clarification.

The more you use grown-up words in your conversations, the stronger their vocabulary will become.

Slow and Steady

When introducing new vocabulary to your child, slow and steady wins the race.

If you try to introduce them to 20 new words a day, they are never going to remember them. Instead, focus on helping them learn around 5 new words per week.

Or, you can think of it as one word a day for each weekday, and then the weekend can serve as a “review” time for their new words.

Multiple Exposure

It is also important to note that your child will need to hear a word more than one time in order to remember it.

In general, a child will need to hear a new word 4 to 12 times before they can add it to their vocabulary.

Therefore, when you teach your child a new word, make a mental note and try to incorporate the word into conversation throughout the week. And, make sure you aren’t the only one saying the word to them.

If there are other family members in your household, encourage them to use this new word around your child as well.

Reading, Reading, and Reading

It should come as no surprise that reading is the best way to help your child develop a strong vocabulary.

As often as you can, read books with your child. When your child comes to a word that they don’t know, give them a definition of it that they will understand, and then move on.

It’s important to avoid having a big pause over the word, as this will disrupt the flow of their reading, and it can make a fun activity feel like a chore. So, continue on with the story and them come back to the word at the end.

If your child is too young to read full stories, start by reading aloud to them. This can be just as effective in helping them develop their vocabulary.

Also, it is very important that you allow your child to choose the books you read together. Learning new words will be most effective if the child has an interest in the topic. Plus, allowing your child to choose their own books will help them develop a love for reading that they can carry through their whole life.

That being said, you should also encourage your child to pick out books that are challenging for them. Picking books that are slightly above their reading level will make for more opportunities to learn new words.

And lastly, make sure you interact with your child when you read together. Don’t simply read the story and be done with it. In order to make reading a more interactive experience and make sure they comprehend the storyyou can:

  • Ask your child about the pictures on the page
  • Allow your child to turn the pages
  • Ask them what they thought of the story when you’re done reading it
  • Try to connect the story to their own life
  • Ask the child questions about the different characters

By reading every day, you will help your child take their vocabulary to new levels.

Play Games

Playing games is one of the best (and most fun) ways to help your child develop a strong vocabulary.

Word games you can play with your child include:

  • Scrabble
  • Bananagrams
  • Boggle
  • Hangman
  • Apples to Apples
  • Word Stack

You can also print off crossword puzzles and word finds on the internet for your child. There are even phone apps that can help your child learn new words.

Take Them to New Places

Taking your child to a new place gives you an excellent opportunity to expose them to new vocabulary words.

Every time you go to a new place, talk about what you see and what you experience. Discussing your new surroundings will help your child learn new words that they wouldn’t learn at home or at school.

Different places you can take your child to learn new words include zoos, museums, aquariums, parks, restaurants, and even grocery stores!

When you are in a new place, try to bring certain objects that they may be unfamiliar with to their attention in order to stimulate conversation.

Relate New Words to Known Words

When trying to teach your child new words, one of the best ways to help them learn is to relate the new word to a known word.

This way, they can make an association with the word in their brain that will help the word stick.

For example, let’s say your child knows the word fruit and they know the word apple. Knowing these words can help them learn other fruit-related words like grapes, peaches, or limes.

Or, let’s say your child knows the word mad. This can help them learn the word upset or angry.

Are You Ready to Help Your Child Develop a Strong Vocabulary?

As you can see, there are many fun and easy ways to help your child develop a strong vocabulary.

If you have any questions about the techniques listed in this article, please let us know in the comments below.

And, if your child has a language disorder, click here to learn how online speech therapy can help.

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6 Tips on How to Improve Reading Comprehension in Your Child

Any child can read a book, but it takes good comprehension skills to be able to absorb and retain the information. If your child has this skill, it will carry them through their entire school career, from preschool to college. It also means they are less likely to get bored with reading.

Sometimes children struggle with this a little bit and it’s up to parents and teachers to work as a team to get them on the right track. Here are 6 tips on how to improve reading comprehension and ensure that your child won’t just be reading books, but thoroughly enjoying them and increasing their vocabulary.

  1. Point Out Connections

Many parents elect to read out loud with their children. This opens up great learning opportunities. One of those opportunities is to make connections.

For example, if you’re reading a book with your child about a beach, and you and the family have been to the beach on vacation, you can bring that up. The child will be able to make a connection about the reading and identify with it a bit more.

You can talk a little bit about the memories you had there, or what the beach looked like. This will make the child more focused on the reading and helps with improving reading comprehension.

  1. Stop and Ask Questions Often

When you’re reading out loud with your children, you can stop and ask questions. This will encourage the children to backtrack and reread to search for answers. It will also leave them wondering about the content they just read.

Allow them to ask you questions and discuss possible answers, as this helps with improving reading comprehension.

If your children are reading a book by themselves, you can still be involved and ask them a question. When you notice your children reading a new book, you should ask them questions about it. This will make them really think about what they’ve read so far so they can give you satisfying answers.

The questions should cause them to think. For example, asking them what they enjoy about a book will make them think of common themes in the story.

Ask them what’s going on in the book because then they will have to think of parts that they read recently and revisit them to tell you. When they’ve finished the book, ask them if it ended the way they thought it would, or to summarize it.

  1. Make Inferences

To make inferences is to guess how you think the story will go based on the clues it’s given you so far. For example, if character A is blushing while talking to character B, we can infer that A has feelings for B. You may guess that they will get together before the end of the story.

Don’t be afraid to make these inferences out loud so your child can make their own. Respond to their inferences as they would yours. This stimulates conversation and will help the child pay closer attention to the plot and characters.

  1. Have the Child Read Out Loud

When a child reads out loud they read a bit slower which allows them to really take in the information that they are reading. Also, many people learn easier when they aren’t only seeing information but listening to it as well.

Even as adults we tend to catch things that we wouldn’t when hearing it aloud. This same idea works for a child. Listen to the child read, and help out when you can.

By doing the things we’ve listed so far while reading out loud, you will stimulate learning and change the way the child reads. They may even find a lot more enjoyment from it.

  1. Find the Right Reading Material

It’s important that your child is reading books that are on their reading level. If they stumble on words that are too big for them, they may become frustrated, and the reading won’t be enjoyable. Not only will the reading not be enjoyable, but the frequent stops they will have to make will prevent them from absorbing the information.

On the flipside of this, if the reading is too easy for the child, they will become bored because they aren’t being given a proper challenge.

  1. Talk to Their Teacher

Some children struggle with reading comprehension more than others. If you notice your child isn’t grasping it, don’t be afraid to schedule a meeting with their teacher. Together, you might be able to come up with a plan to help them.

This doesn’t end with reading comprehension.

If you notice that your child really enjoys reading, but isn’t doing as well in other subjects, you can meet with the teacher to find out what they are currently studying.

For example, if your child is failing in science, you can ask the teacher what subject they are covering in their science class at the moment. Get a book that revolves around this subject but is interesting to read. The child might be able to understand the information better this way.

Steps on How to Improve Reading Comprehension

Taking these steps on how to improve reading comprehension will help open new doors for your child. They will be able to take this skill and soar to new heights throughout their entire educational career. All it takes is reading with them.

Are you ready for your child to start back school? Visit our blog for great tips for back to school success.

Mastering Reading for Academic and Life Success, online speech therapy

Read to Succeed: Mastering Reading for Academic and Life Success

“There is no such thing as a child who hates to read; there are only children who have not found the right book. “

—Frank Serafini, author


Kids generally learn to read until third grade. After third grade, they read to learn.

Reading is the basis of learning and the benefits are many. On a practical level, reading helps us navigate life. Following recipes, taking medications and obeying written traffic signs all require the ability to literally read and understand what we are seeing. On a more cerebral level, reading advances our mind, teaches us language skills, expands our vocabulary, builds our listening skills and develops our imagination and creativity.

Now just imagine a child who is experiencing difficulty reading.

Research has proven that struggling with reading is not a sign of a lack of intelligence. Nor should children who be labeled as lazy or unmotivated. Often, they have just fallen through the cracks. Sometimes it is simply a matter of finding the right approach.


“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

—Frederick Douglass, escaped slave, activist and abolitionist leader


Literacy extends to all academic areas, including math, where understanding the word problems are as essential as computing the correct numerical answer.

Difficulty reading not only affects academic abilities but also self-esteem. When reading skills are deficient, grades may suffer despite average or above average intelligence and self-confidence can go right down the tubes.

Our Reading Skills Mastery Program

has been developed to address grade-specific reading (literacy) skills and strategies. Our therapists are trained to assess each student and identify the issues before implementing a monthly individualized program tailored to the age of the child, the amount of intervention required, and the goals set in the initial session. Each session is 45 minutes with a minimum of three sessions per week.


From helping children acquire and master basic reading and writing skills to teaching compensatory strategies, decoding skills, essay writing and note taking, the Great Speech Reading Skills Mastery Program focuses on identifying missing skill sets and creating a targeted program using the check list below.

Literacy Skills:

  • Recognition and understanding of letters and letter sounds
  • Reading comprehension
  • Reading accuracy and fluency Recognition and use of letters and letters sounds
  • Learning and application of phonics rules
  • Automatic recognition and reading of sight words
  • Word attack skills (how to read an unfamiliar word)
  • Word study (root, suffix, etc.)
  • Reading speed and accuracy

Writing Skills:

  • Handwriting or typing of letters
  • Learning and applying spelling rules and patterns
  • Learning different writing styles and purposes (e.g., persuasive, descriptive, etc.)
  • Using various aids when writing (e.g., graphic organizers)
  • Learning and applying planning/organization strategies (e.g., outline, brainstorm, timelines, etc.)

Vocabulary Skills:

  • Definitions
  • Word Relationships (compound words, antonyms, synonyms)
  • Contextual Word Lists
  • Derivational Word Lists
  • Semantic Mapping and Feature Analysis


“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”

 – Victor Hugo, French poet and novelist

Lighting the fire and keeping the spark alive is one of our areas of expertise. Word power is brain power and has been linked to improved health, socioeconomic status and creativity.  We are proud of the success of those who have enrolled in our Reading Skills Mastery Program and would love to provide services to those who are experiencing academic difficulties due to poor or limited reading skills.

Request a complimentary screening today and ask how we can help!