Learning Disabilities

Curry School of Education

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Literal Comprehension

The primary step in reading comprehension is identfying facts directly stated in the passage. Listed on this page are some strategies to help students with learning disabilities in this area.

Direct Instruction

The following procedure can be used to teach understanding from fact-based questions. This method is effective because the teacher is leading the student through the cognitive process.

  1. The teacher has the students decode the passage until they can do so fluently.
  2. The teacher explains and tests the student's understanding of the instructions.
  3. The teacher has the students read the first item, asks if they remember the answer, and, if not, then directs them to re-read the passage until they come to the sentence that contains the answer.

Carnine and colleagues detailed scripts for teachers to follow to help students develop this and other skills. For a script for this particular skill, see page 294 of their book.

Carnine, D., Silbert, J., &  Kameenui, E..  (1990).  Direct Instruction
Reading. Columbus, OH: Merill


Story Frames

This strategy involves answering specific questions about the major elements in a story. It is best applied to fictional pieces. You may also know this instructional method as a story map or semantic mapping. There are also many other examples discussed under the topic of story grammar. Story frames can be developed in several formats, i.e. pre-printed worksheets, stair steps, pictorial representations. Some exemplar questions are: