There are two main components to reading. The first is decoding, which is pronouncing written words, and the second component is reading comprehension.
Many parents and teachers focus heavily on improving children’s decoding skills, but reading comprehension is just as important. In fact, it’s considered one of the most critical skills that people need to achieve success in their academic and professional careers.
If your child is experiencing reading comprehension difficulties, it’s important to ensure they get the help they need to improve this crucial skill. Here’s how to help your child comprehend reading:
How Do You Identify Reading Comprehension Difficulties?
The first step in helping your child improve their skills is learning how to identify reading comprehension difficulties. Don’t expect your child to tell you when they don’t understand what they’re reading. Instead, be on the lookout for these warning signs:
- Your child cannot explain what a character might have been thinking or feeling in a specific situation.
- Your child is unable to tell you what a story was about.
- Your child never makes connections between what they are currently reading and what they have read in the past or experienced in real life.
- Your child cannot describe the most important points of an informational passage.
These are all signs that your child is struggling to understand what they are reading.
What Causes Problems With Reading Comprehension?
It’s important for parents to identify the underlying issue that is causing their child’s reading comprehension difficulties. A number of issues can lead to reading comprehension difficulties, including:
- Dyslexia is a learning disability that makes reading more difficult, so it can impact a child’s ability to understand the text they are reading.
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that affects a child’s ability to concentrate, which makes it harder for them to pay attention to what they are reading.
- Issues related to speech, vision, or hearing can also have a negative impact on a child’s reading comprehension skills.
- Having a limited vocabulary can make it impossible for a child to understand the words they are reading.
- Poor syntax skills can impact a child’s ability to understand the structure of sentences and paragraphs, which makes it harder for them to understand the content.
These are some of the many issues that can cause reading comprehension difficulties.
What Are the Five Reading Comprehension Strategies?
There are five strategies that parents can use to improve their child’s reading comprehension skills, including:
- Create Links to Background Knowledge
- Ask Questions
- Analyze the Text Structure
- Visualize the Content
1. Create Links to Background Knowledge
Try to find a way to connect what your child is reading to something that he has already learned about or experienced in his life.
For example, say your child is reading a story about a family that is on a camping trip. Remind your child about the time your family all went camping together. Creating this link between the text and real-life will help your child gain a deeper understanding of the story.
2. Ask Questions
After reading a story, kids should ask themselves questions to increase their comprehension. Some examples of questions may include:
- What did the author want me to take away from this story?
- Why did this character act this way under these circumstances?
- If the author were to continue this story, what would happen in each of the characters’ lives?
- What were the main events that led to the story’s conclusion?
Answering these questions will help your child dive deep into the story to gain a better understanding of what they read.
3. Analyze the Text Structure
Help your child understand a story by analyzing the structure of the text together. If your child is a visual learner, use flow charts, lists, or story maps to make this exercise easier.
For example, use a flowchart to illustrate a cause-and-effect or problem-solution pattern from the story. This is a great way to help children analyze and understand the content they are reading.
4. Visualize the Content
Encourage your child to visualize images in their head as they are reading. Instruct them to use the author’s words to create this visual image. For example, if the story is about a brown dog with long, shaggy hair, they should use this to create a mental image of a dog that fits the author’s description.
Ask your child to summarize what they have just read whenever they are finished reading. Kids with poor reading comprehension skills may struggle with this task at first, but over time, they will eventually improve.
See A Dramatic Improvement in Your Child’s Reading Comprehension Skills
Help your child improve their reading comprehension skills by downloading the Readability app on their smartphone or tablet. The app, which is a convenient alternative to private tutoring, uses advanced speech recognition and artificial intelligence to create an interactive and engaging learning experience for your child. Thanks to Readability, kids can connect with a virtual reading tutor anywhere, anytime.
It only takes 90 days to see a dramatic improvement in your child’s reading skills with the Readability app. Sign up for your free 7-day trial to get started today.