This week I’ve written about how to help your child read and read fluently. The final piece of the reading puzzle is your child understanding what he has read. We want children to read for pleasure frequently, but we also want them to be able to make sense of what they read. Reading comprehension is vital for succeeding in advanced studies.
Why Your Child May Have Poor Reading Comprehension
If your child is a beginning reader, there are a number of factors that work against her in understanding what she reads.
First, she must expend most of her mental effort in decoding words. Her attention is focused on the words rather than their meaning in context. If you’ve ever been nervous as you read something out loud, you may have noticed that you had no idea what you read. Divided attention can decrease reading comprehension.
Second, he has a limited vocabulary and literary knowledge. Parents may assume their child knows a word when in fact, he does not. To make matters worse, a beginning reader may not ask the meaning of words he does not know. Your child may also be unfamiliar with themes in literature that would help him make accurate predictions about what he will be reading.
Third, your child doesn’t have advanced reasoning ability. He is unlikely to make connections unless they are explicitly stated in the text because of his developmental level. This is also why word problems in math can be difficult for young students.
Regardless of your child’s reading level, there are a number of strategies you as her teacher can use to improve her reading comprehension.
How to Increase Your Child’s Reading Comprehension
Modify the SQ3R method.
Survey: Before reading to your child, look at the book together. Look at the front cover, any description of the book on the back cover, and any chapter titles or headings as you skim through.
Question: Based on your survey of the book, give your child questions that you expect the book to answer. If you will be reading a book about snakes and one of the headings is “Snake Habitats,” suggest that the book will answer the question, “What are snake habitats like?” Encourage your child to give you questions he expects the book to answer.
Read: As you read, point out the answer to a question you thought the book would answer. Be sure to define words that your child may not know. When reading fiction, ask your child what he thinks will happen. Use literary terms that are appropriate to your child’s level like character, antagonist, or climax.
Recite: Stop at the end of a section or chapter and ask your child to explain what happened or what was learned. For example, ask your child why she thinks a character did what she did. If she isn’t sure, review key passages together.
Review: Ask your child to retell the story or content to a family member later in the day. Continue to ask your child to recall key information from what was read later in the week.
Finally, use this Pinterest board for printables and activities that will help improve your child’s reading comprehension.
Follow Mary Engleman’s board reading comprehension on Pinterest.