It's All Greek to Me! Understanding Specific Reading Comprehension Deficits (S-RCD) in Children
Specific Reading Comprehension Deficits (S-RCD) is like being able to read a foreign language — because you know how the words are pronounced — but having no idea what the words mean. Research shows that there’s even a difference in the brain of someone with S-RCD, which can be seen with neuroimaging. A recent study found that while children with dyslexia showed abnormalities in the occipital temporal cortex (the area of the brain associated with recognizing words on a page), children with S-RCD had abnormalities in the region associated with memory.
There’s a lot of research on dyslexia, which simply means “trouble with words.” But there’s not a lot about S-RCD, or Specific Reading Comprehension Deficits. Where dyslexia is about reading the words, S-RCD is about understanding them. It’s like being able to read a foreign language— because you know how the words are pronounced—but having no idea what the words mean.
S-RCD and a child’s brain
Research shows that there’s even a difference in the brain of someone with S-RCD, which can be seen with neuroimaging. According to a recent study collaboration between Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine/Kennedy Krieger Institute, children with dyslexia showed abnormalities in the occipital temporal cortex (the area associated with recognizing words on a page). But in children with S-RCD, the abnormalities are instead in the region associated with memory.
In a previous study, neuroscientists found that, compared to children with word recognition deficits, those with S-RCD performed more poorly on tests of planning and spatial memory.
This is the reason it is common for S-RCD not to be recognized until about third or fourth grade, when teaching shifts from decoding to comprehension.
An exercise to improve reading comprehension
Obviously, poor reading comprehension can spill over into many aspects of life, including homework, testing, college prep exams, leisure reading and, and more. And comprehension struggles affect not only grades in English class, but in all subjects. Just imagine reading written math problems (or answers) but not understanding the question or directions on how to arrive at the correct answer!
For anyone who is looking to help a child or students increase reading comprehension, try this fun approach called “Somebody Wanted But So” (SWBS). Label four columns with the following: Somebody (characterization), Wanted (plot events), But (problem/conflict) and So (resolution). Have the child or student fill out the columns as they read. Here’s a simple example:
|Cinderella||wanted to stay at the||but her carriage||so she ran out|
|ball with the prince||would turn into a|
|pumpkin at midnight|
Brain training improves memory, logic, and more
Another way to improve reading comprehension is through a form of cognitive training call one-on-one brain training. LearningRx specializes in one-on-one brain training as a way of strengthening cognitive skills such as: memory, attention, logic & reasoning, and more.
LearningRx trains cognitive skills through game-like exercises that are both fun and challenging—and we do it with a unique personal trainer approach.