Reading Comprehension: An Overlooked but Obvious Learning Barrier

What is an often unnoticed but obvious learning barrier for adults and children alike? Reading a word without knowing precisely what it means.

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Here's an example, "He refused to compromise his values." If the student reading this assumed that compromise meant both parties to an agreement giving up part of what they want, he or she would be mildly confused. After all, where is the second person to the compromise? Isn't that like asking "What's the difference between an orange?" Huh? This insidious confusion would set the stage for a gradual drop in reading comprehension and become a learning barrier for the student.

Never present a problem without proposing a solution. That's my motto as a tutor. What is the solution? Use a dictionary or go to After the student reviews the definitions of the word "compromise" he or she would note that a secondary definition of the word "compromise" means sacrifice.

Let's return to the original sentence substituting the word compromise with the word sacrifice. "He refused to sacrifice his values." Now that sentence is a model of clarity. The confusion is erased from the student's mind and this potential learning barrier has been avoided. Your student's comprehension and confidence increases dramatically!

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