How To Teach Your Children To Pass A Reading Test: Problem and Solution

 Part 3

A reading test can prove difficult.   Part 1  and Part 2 of  “Children Can Pass Reading Tests”,  details the importance of reading comprehension. As explained, reading comprehension is a major component of reading.  When a good reader starts to read, the brain begins to think, imagine, and illustrate , the connections of ideas in a story. Those connections form a map called a story map.  

Story Maps

A story map connects ideas in a fiction or non-fiction story.  This writing will focus on a fiction story map.  These ideas fall under specific categories such as information about the characters, the setting ( where the story takes place), the problem and solution in the story, and the plot.  All of these ideas the author connects carefully to tell a story.  The reader must put all these ideas together and visualize the story the author wants to convey.

Problem and Solution in Reading

This section will cover the problem and solution in a story.  A good fiction story always has a problem and solution.  Otherwise, the reader is bored and uninterested .  A problem almost always centers around opposite circumstances.  The circumstance may involve  opposite ways of thinking, opposite reactions, opposite expectations, etc..  Whatever the circumstances , they are opposite to each other and that is what causes a problem.

Examples

On a reading test a question asks to identify the problem in the story.  For example, Sarah and Judy both have the same friend. Her name is Sally.  Sally invited Sarah to her birthday party but did not invite Judy.  Sarah is happy for Sally’s party but Judy is not.  This is a very simplified example but it helps illustrate the explanation. The challenge for the reader is to identify a potential problem.  The reader must be able to use their own experience (background knowledge) to understand how Judy feels.  Using this experience the reader  infers (guesses) that Judy is sad because she was not invited to the party and that is a problem.  So, the problem is that Sarah was invited to Sally’s party but not Judy. Why is that a problem?  Judy is not happy for Sally’s party because she did not get invited.

DIY

You can teach this skill at home.  Sometimes, our daily lives can present small problems. For instance, a  uniform is dirty and your child has to play in a sports tournament. Problem:  No uniform , no tournament?   Your child does not understand the homework and cannot complete it.  Problem: No homework, teacher is not happy. These are opportune times to teach your child how to identify a problem. Talk with them about the problem and how to solve it. 

 For instance problem 1: Call the coach , explain the situation.  Get permission to play without a uniform. On the other hand, the coach , may have an extra uniform (problem solved).  Problem 2: Call a classmate , maybe they  explain the home work and the homework can be completed (problem solved).  You are teaching your child two things, 1 how to identify problem and solution on a read test.  Here is a bonus , you are teaching them how to solve problems.

In Summary

A reading test will require the reader to  identify the problem and solution in a fiction story.  The earlier your child learns to analyze a situation and identify the problem the better.  Always remember a reading test question almost always asks why .  Make sure your child can identify the problem and explain why the surrounding circumstances cause a problem. 

L. Hughes-Page, M.Ed.


L. Hughes Page is a Field Supervisor to student teachers in the Graduate Department of Education at Gwynedd Mercy University.