Reading is taught throughout elementary school. In the early years, the curriculum is focused on decoding, which is understanding the sounds that letters make and knowing how to blend them all together to create words.
But reading curriculum begins to shift away from decoding and toward reading comprehension in 3rd grade. Many children—even those who are advanced readers—struggle to develop reading comprehension skills. So even if your child was a strong reader early on, they may hit a bump in the road during 3rd grade.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for parents to help their children overcome this obstacle. Here’s how to help your 3rd grader with reading comprehension:
Find Interesting Books
Some children struggle with reading comprehension simply because they aren’t interested in the books they are reading. To address this problem, let your child choose their own books or take the time to find books on topics that interest them.
Your child will be more excited to read if they find a book interesting. Since practice makes perfect, keeping your child motivated to read on a regular basis is an important part of improving their reading comprehension skills.
Provide Background Information
Before your child begins reading, provide them with background information on topics related to the book.
For example, say your child is reading a historical fiction story set during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. It may be hard for your child to understand the events in the story without knowing more about the movement.
To improve their comprehension, provide an overview of the Civil Rights Movement before they begin reading. Then, they can keep this information in mind when reading, which will help them better understand the events that take place in the story.
Read and Discuss Together
If your child is struggling with reading comprehension, make an effort to read with them on a regular basis. You can each read the same story independently or take turns reading aloud to each other. Regardless of which method you choose, be sure to stop after each passage or chapter to discuss the text.
Help your child improve their comprehension by asking questions such as:
- Why do you think this character acted this way?
- What do you think will happen next?
- What led to this event?
Discussing the answers to questions like these can help your child gain a deeper understanding of the text.
Many 3rd graders are more interested in drawing in painting than they are in working on their reading skills. But it is possible to combine these activities in a way that helps your child improve their reading comprehension skills.
Let your child flex their creative muscle by creating storyboards that illustrate the events taking place in a story. In other words, ask them to draw detailed scenes of what they are reading. This exercise will help your child learn how to visualize information they read, which is an effective way to improve reading comprehension.
Putting the storyboards in chronological order will also help your child understand the way that stories are structured with a beginning, middle, and end.
It’s impossible for your child to understand a story if it’s filled with words they don’t know, which is why building their vocabulary is such a crucial part of improving their reading comprehension.
Introduce your child to new words that they might encounter in the story before they begin reading. For example, if your child is about to read a story where a concert takes place, they may need to learn words such as “microphone” and “audience.” If they can’t read these words, they may not understand the text.
You should also encourage your child to write down new words they come across. Look the words up together so your child can learn what they mean. Then, ask your child to use each new word in a sentence. Doing this will ensure that your child commits the word to memory and understands the meaning of it.
Over time, this exercise will rapidly expand their vocabulary and improve their reading comprehension skills.
Download the Readability App
Let your 3rd grader work on their reading comprehension skills anytime, anywhere with the Readability app. Designed for children at reading levels K-5, the Readability app is the key to unlocking your 3rd grader’s true potential.
Readability’s Interactive Voice-based Questions & Answers (IVQA) feature will ask your child questions about the text and listen to their answers. This innovative feature keeps kids engaged while also helping them improve their critical thinking and reading comprehension skills.
You can even track your child’s progress on the parent dashboard so you can see how much their reading comprehension skills have improved by using the app. Download the app on your smartphone or tablet to start your free 7-day trial today.