About three months of summer vacation looms ahead, and parents who became teachers during the quarantine might be on the hunt for more ways to keep kids learning at home.
Reading comprehension struggles may have been noticed by parents during homeschool lessons, and, without access to teachers, those who have found that their children are struggling may wonder how to help.
Summer can be a more relaxed extension of the school year, and parents who have watched kids struggle with comprehension can use activities to work on reading comprehension at home. When school resumes for the fall, open a dialogue with your child’s grade level teacher to find other ways to boost their comprehension…or ask your child’s teacher about other options for finding help for struggling readers (teachers may recommend additional testing).
Here are five activities to help children with reading comprehension:
Read Books Online
Some children simply dislike reading standard books. Instead, download ebooks that can be read on tablets or other mobile devices. However, when a child really struggles with comprehension, parents should read with them and ask the child questions to check for understanding throughout the book. These questions may help to open a reading dialogue with your child…and get them thinking about the story and book:
- Who are the characters in the book?
- What are the characters doing?
- When does the book take place? Also ask when certain plot points are occurring.
- Where is the action taking place? Where is the story’s setting?
- Why did the character take a specific action?
- How do you think the character feels?
Amend these questions to specifically ask about pivotal plot points. Depending on your child’s comprehension struggles, you could ask questions after reading a few pages…or just wait until the end of the chapter or book. Some children need more prompting, others can summarize the plot easily after each chapter. Again, though, your child’s needs and struggles may require more (or less) discussions about the plot and characters.
Start a Family Book Club
Reading a book is beneficial for everyone. Start a family book club and get the whole family into the reading habit. So how do you decide which book everyone should read? Your family book club should ensure that books meet the abilities of all your family members. If your child is reading books geared to a fourth-grade level, then everyone should read a book that meets that criteria.
Yes, this may mean that a middle-schooler might feel that the book isn’t challenging. However, the goal is to get everyone talking about the book and engaging. Explain to older kids (or those who read more fluently) that reading the same book together is about the experience and bonding as a family.
Talk about the book after everyone completes each chapter. If your child has trouble remembering details or can’t summarize the plot, as a family you can go back through the chapter with your child and help them figure out key details.
Talking about the book is a great way to get everyone on the same page…literally. It also may help struggling readers understand that they have a strong family support system.
Listening to an audiobook while following along in a bound book may help children better understand the story, too. Some children are auditory learners, so hearing a story could be a great way to appeal to their learning style.
Again, though, parents may want to ask questions after every few pages or after each chapter. This helps gauge how much a child understands. If your child can summarize key points and details, you may just wait to ask those key questions after each chapter…instead of having a more frequent dialogue.
Some kids need a lot of help to understand the story, but others may catch on easily when they listen while they read. Do what works best for your child’s needs and struggles. Audiobooks can be a good choice for everyone!
Let Your Child Choose Their Books
Now that school’s out, children no longer will be required to read specific books. While some schools let children choose their own books, others have a book that everyone in the class is encouraged to read. Required books become more common as children get older—in middle school and high school.
During summer break, let your child choose the books. As long as a book is on their level and is age-appropriate, let them have the final decision. When children are able to choose their own books, reading may seem a bit more fun and like less of a ‘lesson.’
Don’t Track Reading Time
Put away the clocks and timers over the summer. Reading should be fun. So don’t put time limits, restrictions, or guidelines on summer reading. Your child may read a lot one day but only read for a few minutes the next day. Try to encourage regular reading. You may even designate a specific time for family reading to ensure everyone reads.
Use a Reading App for Extra Enrichment
Children who are struggling with comprehension also may benefit from a reading app like Readability. The app is tailored to meet the individual needs of each child; lessons are leveled to ensure that books aren’t too easy…or too difficult. Colorful illustrations and interesting stories keep kids engaged, and a virtual AI tutor offers auditory feedback to correct pronunciation issues and gauge comprehension.
Test out Readability to see if it’s right for your child, sign up for a free seven-day trial today!