In the 4th grade, your child is likely to learn much more advanced concepts than ever before. They are beginning to learn on their own in many ways and learning to think on their own. Much of their learning is likely to be taking place in the classroom.
However, the coronavirus has caused schools to closed. This disruption to the normal school year has caused many parents to turn to homeschool to supplement their children’s education at this time. Many important skills learned in school are now being taught by parents at home.
What is a 4th grade reading level?
By 4th grade, your child is learning many different ideas, concepts, and topics. Everything they are learning uses one essential tool: critical thinking. Before your child can learn to think critically, they need to learn to understand what they are reading.
Your child’s reading level by now means they are able to:
- Read a variety of different genres such as fiction, nonfiction, poetry, etc.
- Understand new materials and write about what they have read.
- Answer questions about the materials.
- Read materials and organize the information and ideas effectively.
What are the 5 reading comprehension strategies?
Reading comprehension relies on several strategies that can help your child understand their reading materials.
- Activate background knowledge – Children understand reading materials better when they have a frame of prior knowledge to work with. Just asking your child “what do you know about…” can help them think about the topic before they begin reading.
- Questioning – Before reading, also get your child to ask questions about the reading. Your child should have three questions in mind as they read: right now questions, analytical questions, and research questions. A “right now” question is figuring out what facts and information are being presented in the text. An “analytical” question is when your child needs to figure out “what is the author trying to tell me?”. A “research” question basically encourages your child to do their own research outside of the text.
- Analyze text structure– In order to analyze text structure, your child needs to be able to identify the various ways text is presented such as cause and effect, chronologically, or listing. They should also be able to find the different parts of a text and know what they are used for such as headings and subheadings.
- Visualization – Many teachers and researchers stress that reading comprehension also includes being able to visualize the text in some way. This might be by using graphic organizers such as mind maps or even just asking your child to draw what they think the story is about.
- Summarizing – Summarizing is a great tool to use to make sure your child is able to identify the main ideas of a text. If they are able to find the main ideas presented in a text, they are most likely also already using the other four reading comprehension strategies.
How can I Improve Reading Comprehension for my Grade 4 Student?
Now that we know the strategies that make up effective reading comprehension, how can we help our 4th graders to practice and actually improve their reading comprehension? Here are some activities and tools you can use at home to help with improving 4th grade reading comprehension:
- Read together – Reading together has several benefits for improving your child’s reading comprehension. It helps with creating a bond with your child as well as gives them a model for good reading habits. If you are reading together, you get a better sense of the materials they are reading and a sense of how their reading progress is going.
- Use cookbooks – The best way to improve reading comprehension is to have fun! Kids love to help in the kitchen, so why not incorporate some reading practice into the activity? Have your child choose a recipe they would like to cook and as the two of you cook have them read the directions to you.
- Find a good reading app – Technology is making reading practice much more fun and interactive. However, with the numerous reading apps out there it can be difficult to find the best one. Use an app like Readability that targets several reading skills at once. With Readability, your child is able to get instant feedback and error correction from the app. The app also provides you with progress reports, so you can track your child’s reading improvements.
- Talk about their books – The simple act of talking about what your child is reading can have a big impact on their reading comprehension. A conversation about their reading helps them to activate background knowledge about the topic and think more critically about what they read.
- Have a movie night – To help your child with visualization, have your child first read a book that has been turned into a film. Once they are done reading the book, you can watch the movie version together and talk about if the movie fits the visuals they created in their mind from reading the book.
Reading comprehension is an important reading skill that many 4th graders begin to master. However, some young readers might still be struggling with effective reading comprehension. Using these strategies and tools such as Readability makes reading improvement fun and interactive. These tips and tricks for improving 4th-grade reading comprehension can help your child get on track with their reading skills.