Doesn’t Remember What He Reads!
When a Child
When a child or teenager regularly reads a passage well but “can’t remember
what is said,” we know that he is using an inefficient strategy for comprehension.
One of the most puzzling situa- tions a homeschooling moth- er finds herself in is when she has a child who can read the
words in a book but cannot answer the
questions or tell her what has just been
read. These moms frequently hear the
phrase “I don’t remember” when queried
about the reading material.
When working with bright, hardwork-
ing fourth- through eighth-graders in my
reading class, I often had students who
were experiencing this particular reading
difficulty. I realized that these students
were not proficient at converting the
words they were reading into a “movie”
in their head, as the rest of us do when
we read. They were merely doing “word
calling” much of the time. I found that
“movie making” was a skill that could be
developed in them, using an easy fifteen-
minute-a-day exercise. This exercise did
not involve paper or pencil but only the
use of the brain.
Converting Words to Pictures
When a child or teenager regularly reads
a passage well but “can’t remember what
is said,” we know that he is using an in-
efficient strategy for comprehension. He
often is trying to remember the exact
words he read, rather than converting
the words into pictures. Whether he is
reading for recreation or information, he
must change the words he reads into im-
ages in his mind. The more these images
involve the senses (sight, sound, smell,
feel), the greater will be the comprehen-
sion of the passage.
Daily Training Sessions
The following steps can be used with a
student to develop his ability to change
the words he hears or reads into pictures
for good comprehension. You will be
surprised how fast his comprehension
skills will improve after just a few weeks
of these “training sessions.”
This method works well with one child
or a group of children or teenagers.
Step 1: Parent/Teacher Reads a
Choose material to read to the child
that is interesting and very descriptive.
Standing in front of him as you read to
him, have the child sit upright and keep
his eyes upward, creating a “movie” in
his mind. You can pretend that you are