Reading stories is a great way to explore and learn new things. It can be very enjoyable and entertaining. Children with reading difficulties, however, may not be able to comprehend stories well, and in turn, experience lesser enjoyment while reading.
Incorporating multi-sensorial elements into the process of reading has shown to allow learning to be more concrete and enjoyable (Korkmaz & Karatepe, 2018). This article will suggest ways you can engage the senses in the process of reading.
Being able to visualise the scenes in a story as it progresses can help readers to comprehend the story better. Try working with the child to identify the components of the story such as the setting, characters, and events of the story, and create these components using craft materials (e.g. creating sock puppets of the characters).
Through the reenactment of the story with the props created, it allows for the words in the books to come alive--leaving the children with a more memorable experience and understanding of the story.
Many stories have at least one mention of food or drinks. Preparing edible replicas of the food and drinks in the story and partaking them while reading the book allows the children to immerse themselves deeper into the story. The topic of food can be a conversation starter as a lot can be understood about a character based on the food they eat!
Children may comprehend a story better by listening to it. Audiobooks are widely available now, but if you do not have access to them, reading to the child can also produce the same effect.
As the story progresses, pause to ask questions to gauge the child’s comprehension. Examples of such questions can be “Why do you think this character is feeling scared?” and “What do you think will happen next?”. Asking these questions also encourages the child to think about the story and its characters in a deeper way, engaging their creativity and imagination.
There are many best-selling books that had been reworked for the big screen. After reading the book, children can watch the movie version of the book to have a more concrete visual of the setting and the characters. Ask the child if they noticed anything different or similar in the two versions of the same story to further reinforce their comprehension.
Children with reading difficulties may not be as interested to engage in a reading habit. As presented above, there are various ways to incorporate sensory activities into the reading process that introduce fun and memorable reading experiences.
Eblity Reading Program is another tool that uses the power of gamification and multi-sensorial stimuli to engage children with reading difficulties to build their interest in reading, and to help them become independent readers.