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How Adults Can Support Verbal Reasoning


^21st Century Skills All Ages Strategy


Verbal Reasoning

How Adults Can Support Verbal Reasoning

If your student is struggling with verbal reasoning

When It Matters

Verbal reasoning refers to how comfortably you draw inferences based on what you read or hear, without needing a detailed explanation.Students use verbal reasoning when they are reading, following a complex story line, or understanding the nuances of a conversation. Supporting a student with weaker verbal reasoning is important across subjects, not just in reading comprehension but in any area that involves word-based learning.

What To Keep In Mind When Supporting Your Student

  1. A student with weak verbal reasoning may feel like everyone else understands except them.
  2. In many cases, the student will nod or appear to be following along, but is really lost in the lesson or a conversation. The student may be embarrassed to ask you for more explanation.
  3. Check in more frequently or create ways to check for understanding without calling out a specific student.

Top Go-to Strategies

  1. Encourage all students to ask questions. Start by modeling this yourself.
  2. Practice with your student how to connect new material to what they already know and build understanding from there.
  3. Support language-based lectures, discussions and text with pictures. Teach students to create and use mind maps, learn visual note taking, and create mental pictures of concepts being presented.
  4. When reading, teach students to, stop and summarize after several sentences or a paragraph.
  5. Remind your student to read aloud to help him understand a complicated passage. Hearing it spoken and forming the words can help a student understand it.
  6. Have students learn and memorize extra vocabulary words so they have a better foundation with which to build understanding.
  7. Encourage reading for pleasure and support students in choosing the right-fit books to maintain motivation.
  8. For students who have reading difficulties, they can try audio books. While assigned reading should not be replaced with audio books, they can be used for extra reading to build verbal reasoning.
  9. Ultimately, it is most important that your student begins to recognize and adapt when a weaker skill is interfering in learning. Middle or High School students can use this checklist to become more self-aware of their verbal reasoning. Find additional ideas for a student who has an IEP or 504 Plan here.