How to Teach Reading Comprehension in Children with ADHD
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder) is a challenge that unfortunately affects many kids in the US today. It interferes with a child’s ability to concentrate as well as their reading skills, which inevitably leads to comprehension difficulties and other challenges.
If your child or a child you are caring for has ADHD, knowing a few tricks and tips to help them learn how to read can make a big difference in their quality of life. The right techniques can increase comprehension in children and the speed at which they can read.
First, it is important to answer a few key questions. Who is affected by ADHD? What do kids with ADHD do differently than other kids? What can you do to help them work through this challenge? Let’s explore these questions and answers together!
Children with ADHD
If you have a child with ADHD, you are not alone! Families across the country are in the process of working through these challenges every day. How many families and children are affected by ADHD?
- According to the CDC, from 2016-2019, almost 10% of children in the US between the ages of 3-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD.
- Boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD (13%) than girls (6%).
- Over half of the children with ADHD have other types of mental, emotional or behavioral disorders.
- Thankfully, 3 out of 4 kids with ADHD are receiving treatment for their condition and 9 out of 10 of these kids have help in the classroom. This includes special accommodations and extra help from faculty.
Is Reading Harder for Children with ADHD?
ADHD can present itself in many ways. For about half of the children suffering from this condition, reading can become a real challenge. This is because it can be difficult for kids to concentrate on the text of the page they are trying to read, leading to comprehension difficulties. For hyperactive kids, the act of sitting still long enough to read can be challenging!
Helping Kids with ADHD to Read
For some parents, the idea of teaching their kids to read when they have ADHD can be overwhelming. No need to fear! There are plenty of tricks and other helpful ideas that can help your kids increase the speed at which they read, how much they enjoy reading and the overall reading comprehension in children with ADHD. How is that possible?
Read with your child
One of the best activities you can do to increase reading comprehension in children is to read with them. Not only do they get to see an example of someone reading and enjoying it, they also build good memories of reading with their family. Comprehension difficulties can be overcome by reading with your kids.
Establish a reading routine
Children thrive on routines. Establish a reading routine and develop a consistent reading habit with your kids.
Explain how books are organized
Structure and organization are important parts of the reading and comprehension process. Explaining how books are organized will help your kids understand the stories they are reading.
Discuss the book before reading, ask for predictions
This is a great way to get your kids involved in the reading process. It also helps build excitement and encourages them to be interested in the story until the end, to see if their predictions came true.
Encourage to draw after reading the book
Drawing pictures of what you just read will engage different areas of your children’s brains. This is a great idea that will help reading comprehension in children.
Explain figures of speech
Figures of speech can be confusing to kids when not properly explained. Discuss how they are different from other sentences and give examples of figures of speech and how they are used in everyday conversations.
Mix text and sound
Using multiple senses when reading also helps overcome comprehension difficulties. Sound and text books like those from Cali’s Books are a fun and exciting way to mix text and sound together when reading with your kids.
It is fine to reread and relisten
It’s ok if your kids miss parts of the story! Ask your kids if they want or need to hear the story again. By rereading and having them relisten to the story, you let them know it's fine if they don’t catch it all the first time and that it's ok to reread it if necessary.
Encourage note-taking (even if these are just drawings)
Visual note-taking is a great way for kids to retain and organize their thoughts. Show your kids how this is done and encourage them to do it after every reading session.
Make it Fun!
Be simple and clear
Reading should be an exciting adventure for kids. Don’t read over their comprehension level and read clearly, sounding out the words so they can understand what you are saying.
Use text and visuals
Make sure to engage multiple senses when reading with your kids. Most kid’s books have great illustrations so make sure that your kids get to see and touch the pages you are reading before moving on to the next page.
Break things up and make pauses
There is no reading race to win! Breaking things up and using pauses is a helpful tool for increasing reading comprehension in children.
Show your own excitement
Another great idea is to show your own excitement about reading. If your kids know that you are excited and looking forward to reading, they will learn to develop that excitement as well.
An activity I enjoy with my kids is role-playing while reading! Acting what you read with costumes or props can help their comprehension through multiple inputs and sensorial experiences. It can also make it easier for your little ones to engage with more difficult texts.
Reward good behavior
When reading sessions with your kids go well, give them rewards! Rewards are meant to solidify and encourage good behavior and if your kids are rewarded for their interaction in reading time, they will want to continue to be part of that with you.
Go Beyond Reading
Combating the effects of ADHD goes beyond simply using reading tricks and tips to help your kids. There are many different approaches and methods you can use to aid kids in their journey with ADHD. What kind of activities can be helpful?
Prescription Video Games
You read that right! Prescription video apps like EndevorRX are designed specifically to help children suffering from ADHD. Parents and children both reported significant increases in their ability to pay attention and decreases in other ADHD-related symptoms after using these types of games regularly.
Being active is one of the best ways to help kids with ADHD. Outside activity including walks, bike rides and regular outdoor playtime is great for all kids but especially those that are prone to hyperactivity.
Have a Schedule
Predictability and consistency are part of what makes an effective day. Kids with ADHD are particularly prone to having a difficult time managing their schedules. Help them by setting alarms, having visual schedules, and reminding them what is going to be happening next.
Be Aware of their Screen Time
Screen time is often considered a time to “zone out” or relax. However, kids with ADHD don’t always respond well to extended exposure to screens or electronics. Make sure that your kids aren’t getting too much screen time if it interferes with their ability to learn and play normally.
ADHD, while challenging, can be overcome with the right set of tools and approaches. Comprehension difficulties, reading challenges and other ADHD issues don’t have to be normal for your kids!Using a diverse array of techniques will give you the best chance at helping your kids live happy and healthy lives with ADHD. Cali’s Books is committed to making products that are helpful and fun for kids of all types and ages. Help you and your kids live their best life with Cali’s Books!
Hi! I'm Cali, Founder of Cali's Books
“I’ve loved books since childhood and wanted to transmit this enthusiasm to my children”
I'm a mom of two young children who trained as an engineer and worked in investment banking and at Disney. A French of Caribbean origin (Martinique to be precise!), I grew up in Paris. Los Angeles is now the place I call home!
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