Do you find that your child or teenager is unable to retain information in the book or chapter of the textbook? Do you hear them say “I can’t remember what was said” a lot? If so, your child might have trouble understanding or reading comprehension. Parents are often baffled. They know that the child knows how to read! And you hear them do that out loud all the time. The problem arises when the child cannot answer any comprehension questions or retell the plot of the book.
Why does that happen?
The child fails to understand the text and tries very hard to remember the exact words on the page. Very quickly, the brain becomes overwhelmed, reaches its maximum capacity and stops assimilating new words. The child’s brain can only hold about seven words at a time. Unless they process or understand these words, the brain has no additional “space.” As a result, the part of the brain responsible for comprehension shuts down completely.
Meanwhile, the left part of the brain remains active. She continues to automatically “read” the words on the page. This “reading” in nothing more than word calls. Word calling is a left brain auditory task that is easy to do and does not require comprehension. Just like anyone, you can start reading German text if you know the German alphabet and German phonetics.
If you just read that: Lassen Sie mich in Ruhe!; doesn’t mean you understand. I entertain my friends by reading German newspapers out loud. The sound of the German words and the melody of the language makes my friends laugh a lot. My dirty secret: I have no idea what I’m reading, but my pronunciation is perfect! I am calling the words.
In order for children to remember the information they read, they must first have a clear understanding of it.
I discovered that many of my clients who are bright, hard-working kids (5th through 8th graders) were experiencing this particular problem. They were not competent to turn the words they read into cartoons or movies. They just spoke the words most of the time. Instead, I’d like them to learn to turn words into a continuous stream of images and not just sounds.
I found that “making movies” is a skill that can be developed in them, especially in children who are likely to be visual thinkers.
Every time you read for recreation or information, you must change the words into pictures in your mind. The more these images engage the senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch), the greater the comprehension and retention of the text.
Another important thing to keep in mind is changes over time. As the author takes the reader through the plot, the time frames move a lot. When his son is creating a movie in his mind, he can place events accordingly on the timeline. Which event happened first?
It is very useful if you do it several times together with them. Take a piece of paper and a pencil and draw your movie just as you describe it in your own words. Also draw a timeline, if the weather changes a lot. It will help your child realize that understanding doesn’t happen by magic and that he has to work hard to build it in his mind.