Yesterday we focused on how vocabulary can get in the way of our children understanding what they are reading and today we are going to look at another important element that drastically decreases comprehension. Try reading this paragraph from Hello, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
She said we didn’t see you doing any tricks now go and put away the hose and the wheelbarrow and sweep up that broken glass dinner will be ready in about five minutes and it’s your favorite.
Now read the paragraph again, but this time with the correct punctuation in place.
She said, “We didn’t see you doing any tricks. Now go and put away the hose and the wheelbarrow and sweep up that broken glass. Dinner will be ready in about five minutes and it’s your favorite.
Did you notice the difference in how you understood that one paragraph with inserting the correct punctuation?
I have found that no matter how many times you tell a child to stop at a period and pause at a comma, that it doesn’t really sink in for them. So, here is what I do to make the period and the comma become real living things. I have the child knock twice at the period and knock once at the comma. Since I do all of my tutoring online, I am actually able to introduce this idea by drawing on the commas and periods. I will physically put two backslashes on the periods and one on the comma so that it pops out at them a little bit more. When the child forgets to stop or pause correctly after we have worked with this method for awhile we are able to simply go back to the “Try again” model. We ask them to try the sentence again or try the paragraph again.
You will be amazed at how much more information your child is able to retain as soon as you begin implementing this method. It is amazing. Here is to fluency and here is to comprehension! Keep reading.