My first student read at an 8th grade level, just low enough to squeak into the literacy program. He was a successful, traveling chemical salesman. He wrote sales proposals and reports and most of them were passable, though he struggled with some of the more complex concepts. No one suspected he had reading problems, especially in a country where an 8th grade level was actually pretty good.
John’s real problem was comprehension. Aside from his familiar work material he couldn’t understand much else. The words came easily, he could pronounce them all right. He could even understand them…a little, but they meant almost nothing past the utility of his career. He dreamed of reading classics to keep him company on long, lonely road trips. He wanted to read Arthur Miller or William Faulkner. Television didn’t hack it anymore. He wanted, as they say, to take things to the next level.