As children reach later elementary grade levels, reading comprehension becomes more complex. Children might need to understand more than just the basics of comprehension and think beyond the w/h questions. In fourth and fifth grade, students might be expected to make predictions and infer meaning from context.
Parents who find that they are searching for ‘how to help my son with school in reading comprehension’ can use these tips to provide comprehension help for children who are struggling with this literacy skill. Here are five ways to help a child with reading comprehension:
- Use visual aids like graphic organizers for reading comprehension bookmarks
- Teach re-reading
- Chunk the text
- Listen to the story and follow along
- Use a reading app that provides help with reading comprehension
Here’s How Visual Cues Can Help with Reading Comprehension
When children need to think beyond those w/h question (who, what, where, when, why and how), parents might use visual aids to help children think deeper about the story and have a reminder about what they need to look for while reading. Graphic organizers and reading comprehension bookmarks can serve as convenient visual aids that can help guide comprehension struggles.
Graphic organizers are worksheets that include spaces for children to write key details about a story. Graphic organizers can focus on characters, plot or other literary concepts. These visual aids might be used for each chapter to help children organize details about the book and think deeper about the meaning behind the story and its characters.
Parents can find graphic organizers for free online via sites like Reading A-Z. The site offers many different organizers that are grouped by two grade level options: Primary (Grades K-2) and Intermediate (Grades 3-6).
Children also could make their own reading comprehension bookmarks that can be used as a visual prompt while reading. These bookmarks might include questions related to comprehension, or they could offer spaces for children to write details about the book as they read. Parents can find free reading comprehension bookmarks online, too.
Re-reading requires children to go back into the story to read sections again to aid understanding. This is a strategy that can be taught to children to better guide their comprehension mastery. It’s easy to get distracted while reading, but children who realize that they missed some details learn that they can go back and re-read a portion of the text to guide their understanding.
Even adults need to re-read sections if they feel that they missed key details. If a child struggles with comprehension, parents can teach them to re-read portions of the story that they don’t understand. If they struggle with difficult words and the meaning of these words, parents also could keep a small dictionary on hand to help children look up words.
Chunk the Text
Some children who struggle with reading might feel overwhelmed when they see long sections of text. As children move from shorter books that are illustrated to chapter books that don’t feature illustrations, the massive amount of text could be discouraging.
Teach children to break up pages into manageable sections. This is called chunking. Parents can give children a note card to use to cover up the majority of text on a page and focus only on a certain paragraph. This allows children to think about sections of the story at a time and could help aid comprehension.
Chunking also could be a useful technique for children who struggle with decoding. Chunking allows them to only read a small portion of text at a time. Again, this technique can help children not feel so overwhelmed.
Listen to the Story
Some children are auditory learners. These children might understand a story better by listening to it. Thanks to audiobooks, listening to stories is now easy and convenient.
Parents can use sites like Audible or download audiobooks via libraries available on their smartphones. When children are listening to a story, they can follow along in the book.
Listening to stories also allows children to enjoy books that might be beyond their reading level. However, children who struggle with comprehension might focus on listening to books at their level to help them gain better understanding as they read.
In addition, audiobooks are placed at the right speed. Narrators don’t read too fast or too slow, and this could be beneficial for children who struggle to catch key details. Scholastic notes, though, that when children are reading at home, parents can encourage them to read books aloud to ensure that they don’t speed through the text. Reading too fast could cause children to miss details.
Use a Reading App
Children who struggle with reading comprehension also could benefit from using a reading app that offers a lesson-based design. Readability helps children who struggle with all aspects of reading, but it also can be used for children who only struggle with comprehension.
Readability is leveled for each child to ensure that they only read books that are suitable for them. Parents can set their child’s reading level, but the program also could determine the best baseline reading level to begin lessons.
At each reading level, children have a library of books that they can read aloud during lessons. The program offers a built-in AI reading tutor that is programmed with voice recognition software. This means that the AI tutor can identify when a child struggles with pronunciation or other skills.
The reading tutor also asks the child questions at the end of each book to determine the child’s level of comprehension. If the child answers a question incorrectly, though, the tutor helps the child understand that re-reading can help them gain mastery. The tutor will show them a section of the story with clues about the answer and read the section aloud. The child then has another opportunity to answer the question.
Vocabulary mastery also is a crucial component of literary comprehension. Readability includes a vocabulary list for each book in a child’s leveled library. In addition, children can tap any word in the story to hear the word’s definition or hear it used in a sentence. Children always have access to their comprehensive vocabulary list, and they can visit their word bank as often as they want to listen to the words and review the definition of each word.
Children who benefit from auditory tools to gain mastery can use Readability’s Storytime feature. This program provides a narrated storytime experience, and children can listen to all their favorite Readability stories. Through the Storytime feature, children can follow along as they listen.
Readability provides numerous tools that can help a child who is struggling with reading comprehension to gain mastery. Parents can also access their child’s reading data to understand progress and advancement through the program; Readability offers parents a private portal that displays their child’s reading level, comprehension data, reading fluency (measured in words read per minute) and also how long their child used the program.
Parents who need to help their child with reading comprehension might be unsure if a reading tutoring app is the best tool. Parents can sign up for a free seven-day trial of Readability to better understand the features and design of the program. The free trial provides access to all the app’s features including the AI tutor.
In addition to using Readability, parents also can utilize visual tools like reading comprehension bookmarks and graphic organizers to aid children as they read books at home. In addition, re-reading and chunking the text are two easy techniques that can help children gain a better understanding of what they read.
Teaching reading comprehension can be difficult for parents, especially as comprehension expectations become more abstract in later grade levels. Utilizing tools and techniques and even signing up for a reading tutoring app could help children who struggle with this aspect of reading achieve grade-level reading benchmarks.