Helping Comprehension

Alphabet blocks
An early interest in reading can sometimes be accompanied by comprehension difficulties

Tips to help comprehension

Some hyperlexic children have difficulties with reading comprehension (Zhang and Joshi 2019). If there are concerns over language, then a qualified SLT (Speech and Language Therapist) can assess the child to see if there are specific difficulties. They will give individual advice. However there are general tips below on helping comprehension that might be useful.

General tips to help understanding

These tips are adapted from speech and language advice from the NHS. There are online toolkits available which include comprehension activities such as this one from NHS Leeds Trust, click here for the website. There are also factsheets with general information from the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists UK; Factsheet on Developmental Language Disorder

See references here.  Date created: 1/4/2021     Date reviewed: 1/5/2022

Write it out
A hyperlexic child will respond to a written instruction or word, so write things out as much as possible.
Give the child time to respond
Patience is key with improving comprehension.
Simplify your own language
Match the child’s level or expand just a bit. If the child is only using single words, then use one or two words.
Listen more than talk
Giving the child room and time to talk has is very beneficial in encouraging their language to develop. Resist the urge to over talk.
Use words with pictures
If the child is motivated to read then words with pictures together is a good way to interest them.
Slow down your speech
If you slow down and give the child lots of time to respond, then they can process it better.
Subtitles on TV
This is a tip from some parents of children with hyperlexia. Try TV with subtitles on - such as: Alphabablocks and Numberblocks (CBeebies UK); Peppa Pig (Several channels); Storybots (CBeebies UK); SuperWhy (PBS Kids US and Netflix); all seem very popular with hyperlexic children.
Get your child's attention before an instruction, by saying their name or waiting for them to finish a game.
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