Beginning Comprehension Ideas

comprehension- special education- reading

As you know, many special education students struggle greatly with comprehension skills. It is SOOOO important to work on comprehension skills in a variety of ways.

I start working on word meaning as soon as my students begin word work tasks. Many of my students struggle with reading and listening comprehension, so I want to know right away if they are understanding what the words mean. My favorite way to work on this during early word work is with this Beginning Sounds Fluency and Comprehension set. Students start by sounding out the word while touching each circle under the letters. Then, students slide their finger along the arrow while saying the sounds fast. To finish, students put the matching picture in the box.

letter sounds- sounding out words- fluency

For some reason I didn't take a picture of the wig card, but here is a different mat.

There are lots of ways to work on reading and listening comprehension: 
We sequence events with pictures or words and answering comprehension questions after reading texts. Here is an example of one of the comprehension sheets that we work on. This student is a writer, but we use pictures that the student chooses from for non-writers.

comprehension- reading- winter
This sheet is from the Winter Comprehension set.

Writing or telling about the book. We use journal starters a lot with our writers, but we change it to just drawing or stamping a picture for non-writers.

 This journal response was completed after reading the Pete The Cat's Easter book.
Make sure students can read and then do something based on what s/he read. We work on this in a variety of ways. 

During direct instruction, students practice reading a sentence or two and then doing what it says. Here is an example of something a student reads:

read and do- reading comprehension- direct instruction

Want a FUN way to practice read and do??? My kiddos L-O-V-E these playdoh mats!! They have to read (or listen) to the text and then make the mat look like it says. The class actually requests to use them, so I made a set for each season. Love when they don't realize they are practicing skills....I'm sneaky like that! LOL!

playdoh mats- hands on learning- reading- reading comprehension

playdoh task- comprehension mats- reading

These examples are from the Winter Read and Do Playdoh set.

The English language is tricky! My students need direct instruction on multiple meaning words. We work on matching the two meanings to the word with puzzles. For example:

multiple meaning-puzzles-comprehension

Once students are progressing with just the pictures, we move on to understanding the word based on the text. To do this, I read a short text and students have to point to the picture that illustrates the correct meaning.
For example:

context clues-multiple meaning-comprehension

Then, the student needs to point to the correct picture:

Lastly....Don't forget to ask therapists to target comprehension, too! It is a great way to ensure generalization in a variety of ways. For example, the PT writes 3 simple sentences of what they are going to do. Students have to read the sentence and get the materials or begin the task. Afterwards, the student puts a check next to the completed task and the read and do the next sentence. Having students practice this in different ways has greatly helped my students.


Sorry about the long post! I hope it sparked a new idea to try in your classroom!!

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