Many children find the act of reading so challenging that they miss what the story was about. They focus entirely on being able to sound out the words. This is why it is vital to include a level or reading comprehension practice with almost everything they read.
The problem is that a child can read a page perfectly, pronouncing each word perfectly, but not have understood anything that they have just read aloud.
So much focus is put on pronunciation that comprehension can sometimes be overlooked until it becomes a problem or they start to struggle in school.
By starting reading comprehension practice as soon as they start to master basic reading, you can not only help them to understand what they have read but to encourage critical thinking and help them to relate what they read to real life.
How Do You Practice Reading Comprehension?
Reading comprehension practice is only achievable through lots of reading followed by questions. By needing to answer questions, the learner is forced more to think about the words that they are reading.
However, it goes beyond simply understanding individual words. As their ability increases, as should the types of questions asked.
Initially, reading comprehension practice could involve simply asking the learner to explain individual words or sentences. In the beginning, they are developing their skills and so the questions should be to encourage thought without being too difficult.
As they progress and their reading ability increases, the questions asked should become equally more complex. This could be from understanding a paragraph to explaining the main points and why they were made.
Comprehension checking is basically there to not only check they understood a section or a story, but to also make them think about the story and the less obvious meanings, intent, or reasoning.
For this reason, another effective exercise is the retelling of a story and explaining what happened. By using their own words, it forces them to first understand the story, the sequence of events, and then retell it in a simplified way. Following this activity with a session of explanation can be a nice way for them to demonstrate their skills to a carer or parent and show that they understood the meaning of the story.
Why is reading comprehension important?
People are able to read words or entire stories, without really understanding what it was all about. Reading comprehension practice develops important life skills such as critical thinking and analysis.
Not being able to understand what is read can prevent successful education and increase the likelihood of criminal activities later in life due to having fewer options.
What Are Reading Comprehension Questions?
Reading comprehension questions can range from “what was the dog’s name?” to “what was the author trying to make you think happened?”. However, in general, there are certain types of questions asked to determine if a learner has fully understood different aspects of the story.
These questions should be checking that the reader:
- Understood the words or specific sentences
- Understood a paragraph or the entire story
- Can find or recall information from the story
- Can give an overview/summary of a paragraph or the story
- Understands what is ‘hinted at’ or the morale of the story
- Can relate to the characters and experiences in the story
- Understands the sequence of events
Although there are more advanced questions that can be used later, for beginners learning to read, these are often complicated enough. These types of questions force thought about what is read.
Easier Reading Comprehension Practice
From the beginning parents loved our app and the way it supported children learning to read. The app itself had a lot of good features at that time, including AI that could give corrective feedback and support for pronunciation when reading.
However, the task of reading comprehension practice fell on caregivers. As we understand how difficult it is to raise a family and provide additional educational support, we decided to do something new and unseen before.
Readability tutor now has full comprehension checking built-in with a new feature called “Interactive Voice based Questions & Answers (IVQA™)”. This new technology is far superior to simple quizzes and written questions.
Instead of using a written questionnaire, the app actually asks questions about the story using speech. The learner can then respond to the app with their answer by speaking to it as they would with any private tutor. This makes the entire process more interesting and less tedious, while also making sure they have actually understood what they have read.
Parents will then get full reports that include speed, accuracy, and comprehension. If you would like to see how this could help your child learn to read better, try our free 7-day trial to see results for yourself.