Ask Susan: My Daughter Struggles a Great Deal with Comprehension

Hello Susan

I was looking through your Q&A section and see you have additional support exercises for various disabilities. My daughter is 11 and we have never taken her to be officially diagnosed with anything, although she was slow to learn to read and struggles a great deal with reading comprehension.

We did your free assessment which gave her an excellent reading level, but showed:

Visual Sequential Memory – 5/9
Auditory Memory – 1/9
Eye Span – 2/9
Logical Thinking 4/9

These seem like low numbers for an 11-year-old, so we have signed her up for the Development Tutor, but I was wondering if you can recommend additional exercises that would be good for her.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts and/or ideas.

With gratitude,


Dear Margaret

The intention of Development Tutor is to develop the foundational skills of reading, reading comprehension, spelling, math and learning. Foundational skills include attention and concentration; accurate perception; visual, auditory, sequential and working memory; and logical reasoning. Auditory memory, which seems to be rather weak in your daughter’s case, can impact many areas including reading comprehension. I recommend that you do five Development Tutor sessions per week; each session consists of three exercises.

What is also important is to give your daughter opportunities for application, which means letting her do comprehension tests. Try to let her do at least two per week. There are thousands of free comprehension tests on the internet. Start with relatively easy ones and gradually, as she improves, move to more difficult ones. What is important is that the passage, questions and answers must be on separate pages.

Your daughter must now follow the three steps listed below:

1.) She must read the passage before reading the questions. Teachers always recommend that students read the questions before reading the passage. That is good advice when you are answering a comprehension test for a test or exam, but the purpose of this exercise is to also improve verbal and story memory.

Your daughter may read the passage several times. What is important, though, is that once she starts answering the questions, she may not go back to reread the passage or search for the answers. The questions must be answered from memory.

She must use a gray pencil to fill in the answers.

2.) She must then take a blue pen, reread the passage and self-correct her answers (she may now flip between the passage and questions).

3.) Lastly, she must take the answer sheet and, using a red pen, give herself marks based on the answers written in gray pencil. Only half-marks may be awarded for answers that were corrected in blue.



Hi Susan

Thank you for the guidance, I like the idea of self-correction and marking, it really will allow her to grasp how she is doing. She started the program last night and is very excited to improve herself!!!


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More about Susan

Susan is an educational specialist in the field of learning problems and dyslexia and has a B.A. Honors in Psychology and B.D. degree from the University of Pretoria. Early in her professional career Susan was instrumental in training over 3000 teachers and tutors, providing them with the foundational and practical understanding to facilitate cognitive development amongst children who struggle to read and write. With over 25 years of research to her name Susan conceptualized the Edublox teaching and learning methods that have helped thousands of children who were struggling academically to read, learn and achieve. In 2007, Susan opened the first Edublox reading and learning clinic and now there are 40 Edublox clinics internationally. Her proudest moments are when she sees a child who had severe learning difficulties come top of their class after one or two years at Edublox. Susan always takes time to collect the ‘hero’ stories of learners whose self-esteem is lifted as their marks improve.