Homeschooling is now the new reality for many kids and parents. With thousands of schools closed because of the coronavirus outbreak, many parents are left to teach their own children and homeschool reading comprehension, math, science, and other subjects.
Reading comprehension is an important skill that many young children learn in the classroom. Mastering reading comprehension is important because children will eventually use this skill as the main way they learn. If your child is struggling with reading comprehension, then they will likely struggle in other subjects and areas as well.
Although parents are not expected to be replacing their children’s teacher at home, they can help make sure their children are staying on track while they are not in school.
What is reading comprehension?
The simple definition of reading comprehension is the ability to understand what you are reading. However, it is a very intricate process that involves several skills working together.
Reading comprehension is important for your child because it is what will essentially help them to learn new concepts in the future. When they are able to understand what they are reading, they are able to learn and understand new concepts about any subject or theme.
Reading comprehension is composed of these three elements:
- Reading fluency – Reading fluency is being able to read at a natural pace. This involves being able to recognize words easily and quickly. If your child is able to identify words quickly, then they will be able to understand what they are reading easily.
- Vocabulary knowledge – Vocabulary knowledge is a highly important element of reading comprehension. The more words your child knows and is able to recognize, the better they are able to understand sentences. Sight words are often the first kinds of words your child learns. Sight words are commonly used words in a language and are often those that help with giving meaning in a sentence.
- Text comprehension – Text comprehension is being able to recognize how those vocabulary words are arranged in a sentence in order to put meaning into a sentence.
How do you teach reading comprehension?
Having your children at home right now does not mean they need to be without education. While parents should not expect to be able to create a replacement for school, they can do educational activities every day.
These activities may help children to continue to learn and create a more interactive version of homeschool. Reading comprehension is something your whole family can practice while staying at home together.
Here are some tips and strategies for families to learn together reading comprehension:
- Read what your kids are reading- You are probably spending a lot of time with your kids right now. Working from home and having them at home can put a lot of stress on your family. Instead, you can combat this stress by reading books as a family.
- Discuss readings – Your family can create stronger bonds and help your children with their reading comprehension by talking about your shared readings. Talking about the reading can help your child understand the texts more and also share what they understood.
- Mind Mapping – Using graphic organizers are a great way to help check for reading comprehension. Mind Mapping is one form that is fun and easy to use. Essentially your child organizes their ideas about the text and makes connections between ideas. There are many mind mapping worksheets you can use or even mind mapping apps.
- Break the reading into parts – Before your child begins reading something that might be a bit advanced for them, you can help them break the reading into smaller parts so that they are able to read one part at a time. After they read one section you can have them summarize or just discuss what that specific section is about.
- Post-its – A simple way for your child to enhance their reading comprehension while they are reading is to simply use post-its. While they are reading they can write some keywords or a sentence about what they understood from specific sections. When they are done they can collect the post-its and you can help them organize them and discuss what they understood from the reading material.
- Visualize – Visualizing the reading material is similar to using a graphic organizer. Visualizing the reading material helps your children put what they understand onto paper. You can have them draw what they think the story is about and you can even have drawing contests or have them make a comic version of the story they are reading.
- Use reading apps – A great tool that is available to parents that teachers often use in class is a reading app. There are many different kinds of reading apps out there that are all meant to help with the various reading skills your child needs to master.
What is the best app for reading comprehension?
Reading apps are great tools to use for your child when homeschooling There are many reading apps that help with various reading skills. Finding the best app for your child will depend on what they need to focus on improving. However, there are some apps like Readability that can help with multiple skills.
Readability essentially acts as a private reading tutor for your child. The app has a large library of reading materials at various reading levels that are all original content and is constantly being updated. Your child can have the option of having the app read the story to them as they follow along or also they can read the story aloud and have the app listen to them read. With the listening option, the app uses speech-recognition technology to listen to your child read and give them immediate feedback to help them improve. This way your child gets reading practice through listening and actually seeing the text. This will help them improve their reading comprehension quickly.
The coronavirus outbreak might have changed your child’s education for the time being, but it is important that you still continue the learning process at home. Homeschool can be tricky for parents who have never done it before but using a combination of strategies and taking advantage of online tools available to you can help the process be easier for you and fun for your child.