6 Common Reading Comprehension Mistakes 6th Graders Make

6th Grade Reading Comprehension common problems and mistakes and what you can do to help solve your child’s reading problem.

Reading comprehension can be a struggle for kids, especially if they have learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, ADHD, and the likes. Having knowledge of what skills are involved in reading comprehension can help you help your child or student build their reading skills, whether they are in school or outside of school.

This is also an effective way for tutors to help students, especially those in the 6th grade to improve their 6th-grade reading comprehension. In 6th grade, students are just out of elementary and entering middle school that has different and more challenging skills they must learn for 6th-grade reading comprehension. If you are a tutor, parent, educator, or would like to be one and make some passive income, then this article was written for you.

Mental Programming: Explaining What’s behind 6th Grade Reading Comprehension Mistakes

We’ve tutored 10’s of thousands of kids over the years. Often the reading comprehension “problem” is blamed on the child’s disability. It can cause strife and trouble within the family as parents’ struggle to help (and sometimes even worsen) the condition. But, what if the problem lies elsewhere? What if the problem is one that is learned, reinforced and can be unlearned? We call this Breaking the Mental Programming.

Mental programming is a term to explain how the brain is wired. Let’s say a child is struggling early on with reading. The teacher one day calls on this struggling reader to read in class. The child becomes anxious, even scared to read. Their hands begin to sweat and they become unfocused and un-concentrated. They feel embarrassed and disheartened as they begin to read out loud to the class, struggling with each word – a dagger to their heart.

Each time they have to go through this experience the programming – the wiring of the brain – is reinforced. The child slips into the experience and frustrating condition of “I can’t read.” Each and every word on the page is now a reminder of this “programing.”

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The signs of Mental Programming and Reading Comprehension Problems

The reasons listed below are common mistakes – really manifestations – of a child experiencing the challenges of reading comprehension brought on by the mental programming they’ve experienced. A child may be exhibiting one or any of these listed below.

  • Disinterest brought on by unconcetrated and unfocused reading style
  • hesitancy
  • Vocabulary
  • Working Memory
  • Background Knowledge

Disinterest (unconcentrated or unfocused)

Disinterest is one of the manifestation as kids  struggle with the interest of reading. A struggling reader will become unconcentrated and unfocused in their reading style. When this happens, the reader is no longer comprehending the sentence or paragraph they are reading. A sense of disinterest in the text becomes apparent. The child is no longer in an experience of enjoyment or learning. They are instead in a feeling of frustration. As long as they stay in this state of mind, they will not share or show an interest in reading. This is a significant part of comprehension problems, which blocks the reader from increasing their reading comprehension.


Many students are taught to “sound out” words. This phonetics approach also creates reading comprehension issues. Imagine reading a sentence or paragraph and having to stop at every word you don’t know to sound out the word. This creates hesitancy; a stopping and restarting of reading that can be painful to experience. This hesitancy creates a problem for comprehension because each time the child reads, they are forgetting what the paragraph or story is about and instead focusing on just trying to get through the words.


When we enter the 4th grade, we are expected to now not only read a word fluently but understand its usage, context and meaning. This is where reading comprehension can really start to manifest for some readers.

In order to understand and comprehend text, one must understand the word and it’s meaning.  Limited vocabulary restrains kids from understanding the text, and they may focus on decoding most of the time rather than paying attention to the text and comprehending the message in it.

Additionally, most schools only introduce 10-20 words a week in a classroom setting. These words are often only taught once by the teacher and children are expected to learn their spelling and meanings on their own. however, this 10-20 words is a very limited introduction to the expansive library of english words (some estimates range to 100,000+ active words). However, as the kids are not receiving repetition of the words and meaning, they are learned and quickly forgotten.

This lack of exposure to vocabulary is creating what some teachers call a “word gap” and some studies suggest that the gap is only widening.

This mistake in reading can be corrected by increasing new vocabulary in disguise as word games and having conversations on different topics. Stopping and defining unfamiliar words while reading is also another way to build vocabulary on the spot.

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Working Memory

Working memory is a vital yet basic mental skill. It helps us do many different tasks. Working memory is the ability the brain has and permits new knowledge to be held in short term memory, give meaning to it, and build understanding from what they are reading, then transferring it too long term memory. Some students have a working memory deficient, especially those with ADHD. Therefore, for these students, reading comprehension becomes much more complicated and makes it an obstacle for them to understand what they are reading. Readers should be able to identify what they don’t know. To help improve working memory, some many games and activities can help construct and better the students working memory.

Background knowledge

In an article by Natalie Wexler called, “Why American Student’s Haven’t Gotten Better at Reading In 20 Years“, speaks of an educator who’s a 6th-grade student was frustrated over a repeated word that was unfamiliar to her while she was reading. She tried to decode it, repeating, roog-bye. The educator, Ian Rowe, asked her to spell it and he realized the word was rugby. The point of this story is that background knowledge from history, science, literature, and other subjects are so important to know that it can help not only with a world view but with reading comprehension.

Changing the Mental Programming: The Dicker Reading Method Reading Tutoring Program

Is your 6th Grader experiencing Reading Comprehension Problems? The good news is, we can help. The Dicker Reading Method is a proprietary, science-based reading tutoring method designed to accelerate reading and reading comprehension. We change the mental programming from the frustration of “I can’t read” to the joy and ultimate satisfaction of “I can read.”

Free 15-minute consultations are available. Students experience changes in their very first sessions. Get the finest online reading tutor now. Or call 1-888-701-3223 for help.


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