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Learning Disability Demonstration 1:   The Highty Marfus


  1. Read a short story ( 11 sentences ).
  2. Test your understanding of what you read ( 9 questions ).
  3. Read an evaluation and explanation of the demonstrated learning disability.

Step 1:   Read the story below.


Once upton a finble, there joved six highty marfuses. They joved in a marce tave. Now, marfuses were somewhent blodget and flocious. Marfuses often debrited or whorked with the neighbor farbles. One day the pecanious highty marfus whorked for sifty bunbons with a pecanious farble. The marfus begomed blodget with this farble. His mother had to gerfit and brented the pecanious highty marfus to his tave.The marfus tamted a while. Later the highty marfus pringed to the farble. Both the marfus and farble were able to whork without begoming blodget. The marfus and farble whorked for bunbons in the tave. (End of Story)

When you are finished reading the story, go to Step 2.

Step 2:   Answer the following questions to test how well you understood the story.   You can refer back to the story at any time for help.   Check your answers by clicking on the link below each question.

  1. How many highty marfuses joved?
        (View answer.)

  2. What are two characteristics of highty marfuses?
        (View answer.)

  3. Who are the farbles?
        (View answer.)

  4. What did the pecanious highty marfus do with the farble? How long?
        (View answer.)

  5. What did his mother do?
        (View answer.)

  6. Is it good to begome blodget with your neighbors?
        (View answer.)

  7. Was his mother angry or happy with the pecanious highty marfus?
        (View answer.)

  8. Was the highty marfus sorry for his actions?
        (View answer.)

  9. Did the farble forgive him?
        (View answer.)

After you finish the quiz and check your answers, go to Step 3 to read an evaluation and explanation by ReadingCoach.

Step 3: Explanation of Demonstration and Test Results

The Highty Marfus story is rated as being late 3rd to early 4th grade level on the Fry readability index.

Questions 1 - 5 test your understanding of the "facts" presented in the story.

Questions 6 - 9 test your ability to make "inferences" from the facts.

The most important thing to note is this: Even if you answered ALL the test questions correctly, you still have no idea what a marfus is, what a marce tave looks like, or how to jove or gerfit or brent. It probably feels like you are reading a foreign language. You may be able to pronounce the words and answer the questions on the test, but you really do not understand the meaning of the words or the point of the story.

This demonstration is designed to simulate the abilities and difficulties of children who have a language disability with respect to decoding and comprehension of written material. It shows how some students may get passing grades in school even though they do not really understand what they are reading. Without intervention and instruction that addresses their specific learning problems, these students may get passing grades in many classes but still remain functionally illiterate.

For more information, refer to the Glossary of Terms and the list of Reading Disability Resources on the ReadingCoach web site.

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