Comprehension can be tough for our kids in self-contained classrooms. I want to help you learn how to reach all of your students’ comprehension goals. Our students with Autism and other disabilities need leveled comprehension with lots of pictures supports. There are options from basic WH comprehension all the way to open response comprehension that will reach all of your students at their individual level.
WH Flip Cards
Let’s begin with the most basic WH. I love starting my students at this level to begin teaching comprehension. This is the basic level you can begin with, then you can move to more complex comprehension. We typically begin working on basic comprehension like this as early as kindergarten or first grade in my self contained classroom. I love this resource specifically because there are three levels of each set because they are broken up by type of question (who, what, when, where, why). You can find the WH Flip Cards here. These are also available in a digital format here.
I use this type of comprehension with my students before we begin working on sentence or story comprehension. I like working on one question type at a time. We begin with what or who, then we work our students up to the more complex WH questions, like why questions. We will start with errorless learning to teach the skill, then we move to discrete trial training for our learners. This is a great way to introduce comprehension and begin building the foundational skills needed for higher level listening and reading comprehension.
Once a student masters the WH flip cards, we will move up to sentence comprehension. You can find the Sentence Comprehension Task Cards here. This is a great way to introduce reading and listening comprehension to your students. This resource is perfect for our students because there are three levels with high levels of supports.
- 1: picture response field of 2
- 2: picture response field of 3
- 3: word response field of 3.
This is the perfect “in between” comprehension for your students that have mastered basic WH but aren’t quite ready to move on to story comprehension. I use the same teaching practice with this type of comprehension. We do errorless learning trials before moving to discrete trials. We use this resource all the time in my self-contained classroom! You can also find Digital Sentence Comprehension here.
This is probably my favorite type of comprehension to work on with my students. Once a student masters the WH Flip Cards and Sentence Comprehension, I move them up to picture comprehension. You can find the resource I use for Picture Comprehension here. This resource is great because is provides short stories of 2-3 sentences with 2 comprehension questions each. Again, this is a great “next step” resource for your students that have mastered sentence comprehension but are quite ready for longer story comprehension. There are two levels in the Picture Comprehension resource to meet the needs of your students and their comprehension goals.
- 1: picture response field of 2
- 2: picture response field of 3.
I use this resource in the print and digital formats for my students’ IEP goals. It is great to have the variety of print and digital, as well as different levels to reach all students. Some of my students respond better to the print version while some prefer the digital format.
The next type of resource you can use to meet your students’ comprehension goals are the Leveled Comprehension sets. These comprehension sets are a gold mine! There are 3 sets of comprehension all with 3 levels each. This is the perfect resource for comprehension for a beginning reader. With 3 sets, you’ll always have new stories to use with your students. There is a level to meet each of your students’ individual needs. Plus, with 3 levels, you’ll be able to work with this resource as your students move up through the levels. You can find the Leveled Comprehension Bundle here.
- First level: picture response field of 3
- Second level: word response field of 3
- Third level: open response
I begin with the picture comprehension I talked about above because the stories are 2-3 sentences and there are lots of picture supports. When my students master that, we move on to level 1 of this resource because the stories are 4-5 sentences. As they master each level we move on to the next level. The difficulty increases as you move up through the levels as the visual supports are faded.
It can be tough to figure out what level of comprehension is right for your students. I hope this helped make it a little more simple! Check out Alyssa’s post for more tips on Comprehension Strategies in the Special Education Classroom here. What questions do you have for reaching your students’ comprehension goals? Let’s chat!
Want a free week of comprehension materials? Download my Kindness unit here.