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Learning and Sharing

Reading Comprehension and Social Thinking

on July 10, 2017

There is a connection between reading comprehension and social thinking.  Children who struggle with reading comprehension usually have difficulty using social judgment on the playground and when working in cooperative groups.  Children who have social learning challenges usually struggle to make inferences and draw conclusions as they read.  Both social thinking and reading comprehension require a high level of perspective taking.  When we are around other people, we need to think about their thoughts, motives, and intentions.  When we read, we have to get into the characters heads and imagine what they are thinking and what they might do next.

In social settings, children must read the facial expressions and body language of others in order to make a smart guess about which groups to attempt to enter and which ones to avoid.  They need to be able to anticipate how problems can occur in order to take steps to solve them.  They must be able to compromise, negotiate, and be flexible thinkers in order to make and keep friends.  To comprehend what they read, children must imagine what their characters are thinking.  They must use the words to create a picture or use the picture provided to imagine what the characters are thinking.

I use a variety of strategies with my clients who struggle with reading.  I have found great success when I help them make the invisible visible.  I Get It! by Audra Jensen gave me a kick-start on how to apply the Social Thinking® vocabulary and concepts to reading comprehension.

 

http://www.socialthinking.com

 

I’m a Frog! by Mo Willems is an example of a book that I would use when working on the concept of a shared imagination.

 

                                                         

In this book, Piggie understands what it means to pretend and wants to help Gerald share in his pretending.  Gerald just doesn’t get it!

I hide the text and ask my clients to make smart guesses about what the characters are thinking.  I ask them to think with their eyes by pointing out facial expressions and body language.

 

 

 

 

Then we look at the text to see if our guesses were correct or close.

 

Wambat Walkabout by Carol Diggory Shields and illustrated by Sophie Blackall is the perfect text when working on the concept of keeping your body in the group.

 

 

For an extensive list of books to support reading comprehension and Social Thinking® concepts, visit http://www.ausomelysocial.wordpress.com

 

We, educators and therapists, must be careful that we do not assume that reading comprehension is not a concern if students have high cognitive skills, a robust vocabulary, can decode, and are able to answer general WH questions about what they read.  We need to help them dig deeper and help them to put themselves into a story and understand perspectives and how different people and situations affect each other and their environment.

My Best,

Robin

 

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2 responses to “Reading Comprehension and Social Thinking

  1. mhkeiger says:

    Thank you, Robin! These are some great ones to add to my list. Very helpful post.

  2. Absolutely! So true that the connection between social and literary intuition is connected all the way to the core! Would love some data on how this correlates with decision-making skills in the teen years!

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