Causes of Reading Difficulty

No Little Voice

“No Little Voice” issues show up when a child’s reading is good, but they have next-to-no comprehension of what they have just correctly read. It is quite rare.

“No Little Voice” Syndrome explained

We see this when a child is definitely decoding, but not understanding anything they have just read. It does not apply when a child is guessing or sight-reading, which inevitably leads to poorer comprehension. Or when a child is in the early stages and decoding very slowly, which can impede clearly understanding a full sentence.

When you or I are reading silently to ourselves, we can hear a little voice “saying” the words in our head. When you skim something you might not get this, but when you are reading normally it is always there. For a small handful of children, it’s missing, which completely disrupts the comprehension link that comes through the auditory cortex, in a bit called Wernicke’s Area.

It’s actually one of the reasons that comprehension is pretty low (or non-existent) when you skim-read something!

Fixing “No Little Voice” Syndrome

The key is to find a way to get the child hearing themselves read in their head — activating Wernicke’s Area — when they are reading silently. We ask them to do the following, on the Easyread intervention:

When you are reading a book, I want you to imagine that you have a little gathering of friends, or teddy bears or pet dogs or whatever you like, sat in a circle inside your head. They are very small, of course, but you can talk to them inside your head. So now you are going to read the book to them, as if it was story time at school. You need to voice the book out loud, but just in your head. Does that make sense?

It can be a tough one to crack, but usually it is achievable with a bit of work.

Interested in learning more? We literally wrote the book on it! Our Amazon bestseller on The 9 Main Causes of Reading Difficulty pulls back the neurological curtain on why YOUR child is struggling, and how to fix it.

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