Reading Comprehension Classes

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Reading programs for rising 2nd grader over the summer

March 2009

Hello, My son had a hard time in first grade this year with his reading. While we never identified any learning disabilities, he did go to a private reading specialist and we've seen lots of improvement, he is finally up to grade level. But I''m worried about him losing ground over the summer. Between K and 1st, he forgot everything, and he felt really bad at the beginning of 1st when he couldn't read as well as his peers. It colored his whole year, and he is finally just feeling some self confidence in this area. My question is how do I keep him improving (or at least not forgetting) over the summer? We will read with him as usual, but I feel he needs something more. Can anyone recommend at home reading programs we can do? Maybe something we can do online or buy a kit? We would also be open to academic camps where he would be able to have a couple of intensive weeks of reading/writing. Any and all suggestions welcome. anon

Hi- I can recommend the Institute of Reading Development Summer Reading Program. It is offered for one day a week, for five weeks, at random times through the summer for pre-kinder students to Adults.My children have been involved in the program for the past 2 years and they not only love it and look forward to going every summer now, but they are now advanced in their reading/comprehension skills.(My daughter is in kindergarten and is now able to read at the 3rd/4th grade level). The web site is, good luck and hope this helps. Denise

Reading mom- You can find some programs for reading specifically-CSUEB has exactly the program you are looking for (am reading program for children your son's age)-the Athenian school in Danville has an academic program that incorporates standards-we are doing the let's get ready for 2nd grade-I have an incoming 2nd grader and 4th grader respectfully-both boys-both ''got'' reading'' in K-their father and I had them read to us EVERY morning over the summer-we spent some cash at Lakeshore and a lot at our local bookstore. I picked appropriate leveled books and both my sons who left K at level 3-6 started 1st at level 6-8-the now 3rd grader finished first grade at level 20-his brother just passed that benchmark (16 is required)-we have a remarkable first grade teacher and her methodology is quite simple-to learn to read you must practice reading daily until it clicks and then stay with it until you get really good-Testing in public schools starts looking at reading non-fiction in second grade-so it's pretty key to stay on top of reading.

It took me halfway into my son's second grade to find the genre my son ENJOYED reading-for us it was the Treehouse series, Jeronimo Stilton and his current guilty pleasure is the SECRET of DROON. He however has tested OUT of third grade reading at level 44 a month ago so his teacher told us we should ''push'' his reading level-The Phantom Tollbooth was our first more difficult read-he loved it. We now do my books m-th and his ''guilty pleasures'' Fri-Sun I loved to read as a kid so I was feeling that without my son's having books in their world (for fun) I was somehow failing them-

If you need a program because you can't/won't keep your son going by all means check out what I listed. However with a current library card, some time in the am you can maintain your son's reading without a program and definitely check out Lakeshore Learning in San Leandro off of Marina Blvd. for resources(sight word games etc) to back up your at home program. As we outgrew the items we passed them onto our local elementary school's Kindergarten classes and friends. mom of bookworm

My daughter's 3rd Grade teacher recommended The Storyteller's Summer Reading Program to us and we're sooooo glad she did! My daughter's have been enthusiastically participating ever since (this will be their fourth summer). My younger daughter started when she began to read. The Storyteller is a children's book store in Lafayette (worth the drive -- I promise!) Kids can sign up during the month of June and it concludes in the beginning of September. When you arrive at the store, one of the staff will talk to your child about what books they have been reading and enjoy. Then, your child (with guidance from the staff member) will select from which reading list they want to read, as well as the number of total pages. The reading lists are extensive, divided into different categories (nonfiction, diversity, mystery...), and every 5th book is ''free choice.'' There is a small fee ($15), but your child will get a golden coupon for that amount (good toward books at the store) when they reach their goal. They will give you a discount on any books you purchase at their store, but most of the books you can find at your local library.

My girls read a lot during the summers now, including many books outside of their favorite genre (mystery and adventure). Also, there is a party for all the kids who reached their reading goal, complete with storytelling, ice cream and receipt of their golden coupon! The Storyteller, 30 Lafayette Circle, 925-284-3480. Brenda

Help with reading skills for high school junior

August 2006

My daughter (and my oldest)will be a junior this coming school year and I am concerned for her because of the stressful year she is facing academically, SAT tests, gearing up for college planning,etc. She attends an extremely academic oriented school but is one of those students who works extremely hard for her grades. She has always had issues with time management and slow processing speed, slow reading comprehension, and for her freshman and sophomore years, she received extra help from her school's learning center (extra time on tests, etc.) I'd like to know: how can I REALLy help her with her time management issues (so far breaking down her work into 20 minute tasks hasn't worked like in business), and help her prepare for her junior year so she can succeed? Thank you, Concerned Mom

I would suggest either a program or a tutor that can help her with: Advanced reading skills, time management, note taking and other appropriate study skills.

Many bright hard working students do not read as well as you think. This makes it much harder to do their work - they read every word slowly - and often must reread since they will lose their place, drift off, or may simply be overloaded by the workload required.

This will not get easier as she goes along. And it is really OK to say, ''We need help''. This is the kind of help that schools usually do not provide.

I like the Institute of Reading Development - their approach may seem corny but it works if you go to class and do the assignments. The majority of people who are not happy with this program are people that did not get their kids to class. The program worked for my child and me - they may have classes still available this summer: 1-800-964-8888

If not, look for private individuals or other commercial programs with outcomes that meet your need. When kids read well they love reading and they can read a book or more a day. It can make the whole study deal much less of a chore. It is possible that a little help will go a long way for your daughter anon

Institute of Reading Development for middle school boy?

May 2006

I am considering a summer speed reading, comprehension, study skills program for my middle school son. The course is offered by Cal State East Bay, Institude of Reading Development. Has anyone had experience with this organization or taken this course and found it helpful? Any feedback woud be appreciated.

We were very disappointed with the Reading Institute Program ''sponsored by Cal State Hayward.'' Two of my kids were enrolled in the program. We were interested in advancing our children's speed and comprehension. The class is aimed more for children with problems reading. We had to beg to move up our daughter to a higher grade level and even there it was geared towards problem readers. She learned very little with the program. They do not even let you keep the paper back books they are reading in the program even though you paid for them. They give you a reading list which you could find on any education website. We cancelled our second and third session with the program and they would not give us our money back. We found out later the teacher had nothing to do with Cal State and I think the whole program is private and uses the Cal State name with very little oversite. My advise is avoid this program at all cost. Spend the money for a private tutor or other program. We never got our money back.

I can personally vouch for the effectiveness of Institute of Reading Developments classes - my daugher took these classes entering fourth grade and entering 6th grade and gained about a year or a year and a half each time. She has some language delay due a disability and it slowed her interest and ability to acquire vocabulary and read the way she wanted to. She is now an Honors student, on the Dean's List at one of the most competitive High Schools in the Bay Area.

There is no course more effective, easier on your time schedule or checkbook with as much proven result for decades. I took the adult class and quadrupled my reading speed and recently retook the class for free to get a boost. Adults have lifetime retake priveleges. People wonder how I can get thru all the material I need to read every day, but most people will not believe such a simple effort will yield this result - people are full of excuses and bad things they have heard about other methods.

I recently gave my daughter the adult vocabulary workbook to help her study for the SAT. It is based on root words, prefixes, and suffixes - things they used to teach in school before ''whole language''.

Institute of Reading Development teaches you to read faster but generally you still read every word - they teach you how to prepare yourself to read, read more words at one time, stengthen your eyes and change your reading attitude and habits. When people take in more words their brains are more focused on the material, and reading is more fun.

After IRD my daughter picked up one of the Harry Potter volumes and read it nonstop in 3 days. Before this I could barely get her to read chapter books.She still devores novels, completely pulls out the most important quotes for history papers, digests advanced math and science texts, and has learned another language - she now knows three. She takes the best notes I have ever seen.

I also learned that whatever she wants to read it is fine as long as she is reading and have bought whatever magazine subscription she is interested in. There is a complete Parents manual that you need to take seriously too to support your child.

If this company was started today they would charge 5 times the amount and get it and it would be way worth it. You are getting an advantage in that the founder of the company Paul Copperman is very dedicated to making the classes affordable. They give enormous numbers of scholarships to anyone without income, or has a large family every year.

Your job will be to get your son to the class, make sure he spends some time on the homework. If you need to miss a class they will try to find one somewhere else to substitute if you give them notice. Your child needs to go to every class. My daughter was pretty good with her homework - I was pretty bad. We both went to class without missing and gained a great deal. Your son does not have to like it - he needs to go and not give the teacher a hard time. It is a private school, they don't put up with bad behavior in class. This class makes A students less stressed, and it gets underachieving students to excel.

I set up a reward system for my daughter. She did not like class, but she loves to read. She later said the classes made a huge difference.

Anyone else intrested they are enrolling now:

Registration & Information For more information or to register, call the Institute of Reading Development at 1-800-964-8888 8 a.m.\x96 9 p.m. Monday\x96Friday and 10 a.m.\x96 4 p.m. Saturday.

Go for it
IRD grad family

Summer speed reading/comprehension class for teen?

June 2000

Does anyone know of a speed reading/comprehension class suitable for teens this summer - preferably in the evenings? (She will never finish War and Peace for AP English next year!!!)

I know there are some Speed Reading courses being offered at Cal State Hayward this summer,specifically for kids and teens. Some of them are on weekends. I don't know if any are in the evenings. Contact them directly about it, as I don't have the information here with me at work.

I taught speed reading both here at Berkeley and at U.T. Austin. It is not a class I would recommend for anyone to take. The only thing you can gain from these classes is how to skim through books. For example, let's say you have to review lots of journal articles for your dissertation, then it's okay. You can get an idea of which ones you want to go back over more carefully, but that's about it. Anyone who thinks that speed reading will help them read their biology textbook more quickly or to read any sort of literature in any kind of meaningful fashion is mistaken. The only reason I think colleges offer this service is so that students don't waste their money paying for this sort of class somewhere else.

If a person has a reading comprehension problem, a speed-reading class is definitely not recommended.