Children are great and fast learners. They are often learning and absorbing information without even realizing it.
Many kids learn how to read fairly quickly, but some new readers often struggle with understanding what they are reading. Sometimes it can be an indicator of learning disability, but often it is a matter of not being able to remember what they had read.
If your child is struggling with reading comprehension, you might want to incorporate ways for how to improve reading retention. Reading retention is an important skill to improve in your child’s reading process because it really determines if your child can understand the text.
What is reading retention?
Reading retention is essentially how much of the text you can remember and recall.
It is important to note the differences between reading comprehension and reading retention. Reading comprehension is understanding and enjoying what you are reading at the moment. Your child is able to read a sentence and immediately understand the meaning of it.
However, reading retention is how much information from the text your child is able to recall later on.
What are the ways to help my child remember what they read?
Improving reading retention is simply all about practice, practice, and practice. You can help your child improve this important reading skill by giving them many opportunities and ways to practice recalling information from what they have read.
In some cases, it might also help to give them different ways to review what they have read and even new ways of reading materials.
- Discuss what they are reading – A great way to improve your child’s reading retention is to talk to them several times about what they are reading. This can help you find out what information they actually were able to retain and what information they could not.
Having discussions about the books and materials they are reading also helps to create a stronger bond between parents and children.
- Repetition – Your child should read texts at least three or four times to be able to learn and remember the information. They should start by previewing the text which includes looking at titles and headings as well as skimming paragraphs or pages.
Then, they should read the text once over just naturally. Finally, they should go back and read the text and make notes or annotations to help them retain information or make note of things they do not understand.
It can take up to 14 exposures for a child to learn a new word, so it is important that they reread texts in order to get as many exposures as possible to improve their memory and learning.
- Taking notes – Note taking and annotations are learning tools that are often taught and suggested to older students and especially in college. However, younger students and new readers can and should utilize these reading tools, too!
Studies have shown that actually handwriting notes can help remember important information better because writing stimulates an area of the brain called the RAS (reticular activating system), which filters and brings clarity to the information we’re focusing on,” according to Maud Purcell, a psychotherapist and journaling expert.
Encouraging your child to write notes and annotations can help them retain the information from texts better and helps them to become a better read overall.
- Writing reflections – Along with writing notes, it is important to have your child take some time to reflect and think about what they have read.
Writing a reflection can also give them a chance to organize the information in a way that is meaningful for them and can help them make connections to things they are familiar with, which can help them retain information from readings better.
- Go slowly – If your child is struggling to retain information from what they are reading, it could help to slow down their reading pace. Instead of having them read a book or text all at one time in one go, break up the reading into parts then have them read that portion, make notes, and reflect.
Then when they are done with that section, they can move on to the next section of the material.
Slowing down the reading process for them can help them find the main ideas and important information easier rather than becoming overwhelmed with all the information being thrown at them.
- Try reading apps – Reading apps can be a great tool to use to get your child to enjoy reading as well as improve their reading retention. There are a wide variety of apps to choose from, but the right app will provide enough practice materials and enough opportunities for exposure.
For example, Readability is a great app specifically to improve reading retention because it provides several ways for a child to read a story.
Your child has the option of reading the story aloud themselves and the apps listens to them reading then gives your child feedback and error correction. They can also have the app read to them as they follow along.
The app also helps to make sure they retain the information through the built-in Interactive Voice based Questions & Answers that asks them questions about the story.
Improving reading retention early on in your child’s reading journey is extremely important because it is a skill they will need to rely on throughout their education and life. Retaining information from the class readings they are assigned is the primary way they learn new concepts.
Reading retention is a life-long skill that your child will use all the time. So, making sure they are practicing and improving reading retention by using tools such as Readability can make a world of difference in their learning and life skills.