What Is S-RCD (Specific Reading Comprehension Deficits)?
There’s a lot of research on dyslexia, which simply means “trouble with words.” But there’s not as much 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.
There’s even a difference in the brain, which can be seen with neuroimaging when children with S-RCD read. According to a study collaboration between Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine/Kennedy Krieger Institute, in children with dyslexia, there are 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.
It’s common for S-RCD not to be recognized until about third or fourth grade, when teaching shifts from decoding to comprehension.
Obviously, poor reading comprehension can spill over into many aspects of life: homework, testing, college prep exams, leisure reading and, eventually, employment. And comprehension struggles will affect not only your grades in English class, but also 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 those looking to help their 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 student fill out the columns as they read. Here’s a simple example:
Somebody: Wanted: But: So:
Cinderella wanted to stay at the but her carriage so she ran out
ball with the prince would turn into a
pumpkin at midnight