Comprehension skills: WH questions

Teaching comprehension skills to students with disabilities is often a very challenging concept to teach.  We all know that comprehension is the reason we read. We aren't really reading without understanding what we read. I have come across many students in my years of teaching that have  excellent word calling or decoding skills, but  extremely limited comprehension skills. It is often  easy to assume that students who can  read words are understanding what they read. I  have had more children that are excellent word decoders or word readers than I have had kids who have good comprehension in my special education classes. How do we help them?

Today I want to start a series of posts on comprehension skills in the special education class. Today I thought we'd start where I usually start with my students - the WH questions, WHO, WHAT, WHEN, and WHERE.

Here are 3 things I do when teaching WH questions.
First, start working with pictures then gradually move to simple sentences using the WH questions. I always start with a simple picture. Select a basic picture without  extraneous activity in it. Can the student express in some way what is happening in the picture? Who is in the picture? What are they doing?  Using a picture that depicts a common activity in the student often takes part in is very useful.  A picture of student saying the Pledge of Allegiance or playing outside at P.E. What is happening in the picture? Where is the person in the picture? These are also good questions to pose and  can all lead you to determining where the student is functioning in comprehension. By eliminating the text and using pictures, you are focusing just on the basic information.
2) Use of a visual prompting card for the information you are asking is often beneficial. If you were asking about who is in the picture then a card with the word who and pictures of people might help them to understand what type of information you want them to give you. If you were asking about WHEN something is happening in the picture for instance if it is a picture of somebody eating breakfast then on the prompting card you might have a calendar or a clock or an hour glass in order to queue them in a little bit better regarding what information you're asking for. Here is an example of one I have used.

For the WHAT question I use a visual of things such as desk, pencil, backpack.  For the WHEN Question I use a visual of a clock, a calendar, a watch to symbolize that when answers are going to address time.
 Check it out in my TPT storeWH Reading Comprehension
You can get your copy here 

3) Use picture cue cards for answers to the questions that you're asking for the comprehension. For instance,  if you're asking who is getting on the bus for a picture of a person getting on a bus then you might have 2 or 3  choice cards from which the student can select the correct answer. This is extremely helpful when you have a student with limited verbal ability or often with students who have issues with extended processing time.

Next Comprehension skill:
Sequencing with first, next, last

Thanks for dropping by.
Hope to see you next time

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