Reading comprehension is the ability to understand a passage of text. It involves more than simply knowing how to pronounce the words on a page. Instead, it means your child is able to extract meaning from the words to understand the message the author is trying to convey.
Having strong reading comprehension skills is crucial to your child’s academic and professional success. But unfortunately, many children struggle to develop these skills. Parents, here’s how to help your child with reading comprehension at home:
How Do You Know If Your Child Has Comprehension Problems?
Don’t wait for a teacher to tell you that your child has a reading comprehension problem. Instead, be on the lookout for signs of a reading comprehension problem. Some of the most common signs include:
- Showing no interest in reading
- Unable to answer questions regarding what they just read
- Unable to focus on what they are reading
- Omitting important details when talking about what they are reading
- Inability to connect main ideas or events of a story
- Skipping over words, sentences, or entire paragraphs when reading aloud
If you spot any of these signs, your child may be struggling with reading comprehension.
What Are the 5 Reading Comprehension Strategies?
There are a number of strategies that kids can implement while reading to improve their comprehension skills. If your child is struggling to understand what they read, encourage them to use one or more of these reading comprehension strategies the next time they read:
- Monitoring: Kids should get in the habit of actively monitoring how well they understand the text as they read it. If they realize they don’t understand a passage, teach them to stop, reread the passage, or ask for help.
- Graphic Organizers: Some children are visual learners, so creating graphic organizers can help them better understand what they are reading. For example, tell your child to create a flowchart that illustrates the sequence of events in a passage. Your child can also create a Venn diagram to compare and contrast main characters.
- Questions: Teach your child to ask themselves questions about a book before, during, and after they finish reading. What do I think this book will be about based on the cover? Why did the main character do that? What will probably happen next? Asking and answering these questions can help your child gain a deeper understanding of the text.
- Visualizing: Tell your child to create mental images of what they are reading. This simple strategy will keep visual learners engaged.
- Summarizing: Teach your child to summarize the main events of a story either mentally or on paper. This exercise will help your child remember what they read, connect main ideas, and determine which details of the story are important and which are not.
Your child can use one or more of these reading comprehension strategies every time they read. By implementing these strategies, kids can drastically improve their comprehension skills.
What Can Parents Do to Help With Reading Comprehension?
Kids can use the strategies above whenever they read independently. But there are also ways for parents to work with their children to help them improve their reading comprehension skills. Follow these tips:
- Take turns reading aloud. Read a page aloud then ask your child to read the next page aloud. As you read, ask each other questions about the story to monitor your comprehension.
- Start a family book club. Get everyone in the family to read the same book on their own. Then, bring the family together at the dinner table to discuss the book.
- Help your child connect the text to real-life experiences. For example, if your child is reading a story about camping, remind them about the time your family went on a camping trip. Tapping into this background knowledge will help them understand the text.
- Use flashcards to broaden their vocabulary. The broader their vocabulary, the better they will be able to understand what they are reading.
- Teach them how to use context clues to understand the text. Show them how the illustrations and other words in the passage can be used to figure out what something means.
How Can Your Child Practice Comprehension Skills At Home?
When it comes to reading comprehension, practice makes perfect. Encourage your child to work on their reading comprehension skills using the Readability app, which is the only smart reading comprehension app your child can use anytime, anywhere.
This app is designed with an interactive voice-based questions & answers feature, which asks your child questions about the text to keep them engaged and improve their comprehension. Talking to the app is just like talking to a reading tutor! Download the Readability app on your smartphone or tablet today to start your free 7-day trial.