Much of the curriculum in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade is focused on decoding, which is the ability to understand the sounds that letters make and blend these sounds together to create words. But in third grade, the curriculum shifts to focus more on reading comprehension.
Reading comprehension is defined as extracting meaning from text. In other words, it’s the ability to understand what you read. Learning how to understand and analyze text is challenging for many children—even those who are strong decoders and fluent readers.
If your third grader is struggling, it’s important to help them overcome this bump in the road so they don’t fall behind. Here’s how to help your third grader with reading comprehension at home:
What Are the Signs Of Poor Reading Comprehension Skills?
The first step in helping your third grader is knowing how to spot the signs of reading comprehension difficulties. After all, it’s hard to help your child improve their reading comprehension skills if you aren’t aware that there’s a problem. Here are some of the signs that could indicate your third grader is struggling with reading comprehension:
- No interest in reading
- Unable to answer questions regarding what they are reading
- Difficulty following a simple set of instructions
- Cannot summarize the main events of a story
- Leaves out important details when discussing what took place in a story
- Retells stories out of sequence, meaning the events are not in chronological order
- Struggles to connect the main ideas of a story
- Poor writing skills
Remember, many children with strong decoding and fluency skills struggle with reading comprehension. Because of this, you should never assume that your child is not experiencing reading comprehension difficulties simply because they are strong readers.
How Can I Improve My Child’s Reading Comprehension?
There are plenty of strategies that you can implement to help your third grader improve their reading comprehension skills at home, including:
- Form A Family Book Club
- Use Graphic Organizers
- Let Your Child Choose
- Tap Into Their Background Knowledge
Form A Family Book Club
Helping your child become a better reader is a team effort, so get everyone in the family to come together for a weekly book club. Choose a different book for your family to read every week. Then, bring the family together to discuss the book as a group.
Use this time to ask your third grader questions, share opinions, and make predictions about what would happen next if the story continued. This exercise will help your child improve their reading comprehension skills by challenging them to think about and analyze the text in a new way.
Use Graphic Organizers
If your child is a visual learner, creating graphic organizers is an effective way to help them improve their reading comprehension skills.
For example, work with your third grader to create a Venn diagram that compares and contrasts the two main characters in a book. You can also create this type of diagram to compare and contrast a book to its movie adaptation.
Flowcharts can be useful, too. For instance, create a flowchart that shows the sequence of events that took place in a story. This will help your child break down a complex story, identify the main events, and put them in chronological order to better understand what happened in the text.
Let Your Child Choose
Some children struggle with reading comprehension simply because they are not interested in what they are reading. To solve this problem, let your child choose their own reading materials. It will be much easier for your child to focus and extract meaning from the text if they are genuinely interested in the topic.
However, make sure the books that your child chooses are on grade level. Trying to understand the text in a book that is too advanced may frustrate your child and hurt their confidence.
Tap Into Their Background Knowledge
Before your child starts a new book, ask them to think about what they are about to read. Encourage them to use their background knowledge on the topic to better understand the text.
For example, say your third is about to read a book about a family that takes a camping trip. Before they begin reading, ask them to talk about what they know about camping. Remind them of the time that your family went camping together and get them to talk about their own experience on this trip.
Tapping into this background knowledge will help them extract more meaning from the text once they begin reading.
What is the Best App to Improve Reading Comprehension?
Let your third grader work on their reading comprehension skills anytime, anywhere with the Readability app. This app’s Interactive Voice-Based Questions & Answers feature is designed to test your child’s comprehension and keep them engaged as they read. It is also designed to read aloud to your child, listen to your child read aloud, and correct their pronunciation errors, which can help them improve their decoding and fluency skills.
Get your third grader the reading comprehension help they need to succeed by downloading the Readability app today.