Reading comprehension issues come in a variety of shapes and forms. A lot of people struggle with comprehension for one reason or another. However, there are children and adults whose struggle is more extreme, largely due to learning disorders that affect reading comprehension.


Most Common Reading Comprehension Issues

As with many learning disorders, little is known about the exact causes of reading disabilities. Same way as why the effects vary from one individual to another. Some only need to worry about one issue at a time while others must combat a combination at once. The one thing that is understood and agreed upon by most medical experts is that early recognition of the existence of reading comprehension disorders is the best chance of treating them. ChatEbooks lists some of the most common issues that children and adults often struggle with:


Phonological Processing

Phonological processing is an auditory processing skill hence, people who suffer from this struggle to process speech sounds. A phonological processing disability makes it difficult for a reader to decode words. Having difficulty with phonological processing is one of the many common symptoms of dyslexia, a reading disorder that affects millions of people.

Language Processing

Children and adults with language processing disabilities have a difficult time reading, writing, speaking and spelling.  It can affect expressive language (what you say) and receptive language (how you understand what others say). People with language processing disorders can function in normal situations where additional clues are provided to make the meanings of certain phrases clearer. However, they will struggle when it comes to simply deciphering the meaning of a sentence laid out on a piece of paper. Speech-language pathologists can be sought to help those who struggle with this type of reading comprehension disorder.

Memory Retention

Reading comprehension issues and memory retention problems go hand in hand. As a reader, you must first place information in your memory before you can make sense of it. People with proper comprehension skills are able to effectively shift back and forth between what they are reading and what they’ve already stored in their memories.  This allows them to extract meaning from entire sentences. Those who struggle to retain information aren’t able to decode efficiently and they have difficulty comprehending the material they’ve read.

Attention Disorders

The inability to focus is one of the most common causes of reading comprehension issues. For one to decode a word and determine its meaning, they must be able to focus on it. More importantly, you must be able to ignore distractions in order to comprehend what you are reading. If you or someone you know cannot seem to focus on the task at hand when reading, they might be suffering from a common attention issue – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD. 


Fluency issues are usually synonymous with word recognition problems. Most individuals eventually reach a certain phase where they are able to recognize words at a glance. However, those struggling with fluency never reach this stage and must sound each word out before reading it. And because they need to sound out each word, it takes them longer to construct sentences they can comprehend and understand. Those who have succeeded at overcoming fluency issues have done so by doing repetitive exercises that help improve word recognition.  In time they are able to read with speed and accuracy.

There are a myriad of exercises out there designed specifically to treat a variety of comprehension obstacles. The most important thing is to understand the exact nature of the reading challenges that you or someone you know is facing.  Doing so will allow you to seek the proper resources for treatment that can help.


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5 Reading Comprehension Issues that Affect Adults and Children
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