Learning to read is a major milestone in every child’s life. But eventually, every child must shift from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Making this shift is incredibly difficult if your child does not have strong reading comprehension skills. Fortunately, it is possible for parents to help their kids develop the skills they need to blossom into better readers. Here’s how to improve reading comprehension at home.
What is Reading Comprehension?
Reading comprehension involves more than simply being able to read the written words on a page—it involves processing and understanding the meaning of the text. To comprehend text, children must be able to decode the words, understand what they mean, and determine the ideas that the author is attempting to convey by using these words.
A child with strong reading comprehension skills will be able to accurately answer questions about the text they are reading. For example, a child should be able to tell you about the characters, the main events, the conflict, and the resolution of a story. If they aren’t able to describe these key elements, they may not actually comprehend what they read.
Why is Reading Comprehension Important?
Developing strong reading comprehension skills is not easy, but it’s important. Why? These skills are crucial to:
- Reading textbooks and studying for other classes, such as history, science, and English
- Performing well on standardized tests
- Learning about current events by reading newspapers and magazines
- Communicating with others in writing
- Extracting important information from memos, reports, and other written documents
Your child will need to use these skills in order to interpret and understand text throughout their academic and professional career. That’s why it is so important to ensure they are not falling behind when it comes to reading comprehension.
How Can You Tell If Your Child Has A Reading Comprehension Problem?
Don’t wait for your child’s teacher to tell you that your child is struggling with reading comprehension. Instead, keep an eye out for these signs that your child has poor reading comprehension skills:
- Your child shows no interest in reading.
- Your child is unable to summarize a story they read.
- Your child can tell you about the main event of a story, but not what led up to the event or why it happened.
- Your child cannot relate what they are reading to events occurring in their own life.
- Your child does not understand a character’s thoughts, feelings, or motivations.
If you spot any of these signs, it’s possible that your child has poor reading comprehension skills.
How Can You Improve Your Child’s Reading Comprehension Skills?
Like any other skill, reading comprehension skills can improve as long as your child is willing to put in the effort. Follow these tips to improve your child’s reading comprehension skills at home:
- Ask them to read aloud. Kids tend to read slower when they read out loud, so this will give them more time to process each word.
- Ensure they are reading books on their grade level. It can be hard for children to comprehend text that is written above their grade level.
- Ask them questions before, during, and after they finish reading. This will keep them engaged and actively thinking about what they are reading.
- Use flashcards to improve their vocabulary. Children cannot comprehend words that they don’t know, so broadening their vocabulary can improve their reading comprehension skills.
- Create graphic organizers to help your children understand the text. Use Venn diagrams, flow charts, and storyboards to illustrate the main events in a story.
- Give your child background information on the topic they are reading about. If your child is reading about a historical figure, for example, tell your child about the events that were taking place during that time in history. This background knowledge will help them better understand what they read.
- Reread confusing sections together. If your child is struggling to comprehend a specific section, reread it together and help your child figure out the meaning of the text.
- Practice. The best way to improve any skill is to practice, so make sure your child reads on a regular basis to improve their reading comprehension skills.
These are some of the many ways that you can help your child strengthen their reading comprehension skills and become a better reader at home.
Improve Reading Comprehension Anytime, Anywhere
Kids of all ages and reading levels can improve their reading comprehension skills with the Readability app. Using this app is just like working one-on-one with a reading tutor. The app is designed to interact with your child by asking questions about the content they are reading, listening to their answers, and providing instant feedback. This ensures that your child remains engaged with the content at all times, which will help them drastically improve their reading comprehension skills.
Download the app on your smartphone or tablet device to start your free 7-day trial today.