Multi-Sensory Reading Comprehension Tutoring Tools and Lessons

February 14, 2023

Reading Comprehension Tutoring

Reading comprehension lessons often focus on abstract concepts and more detailed thought processes related to dissecting and interpreting the information of a story. While early readers are taught to use the w/h questions (who, what, where, when, why and how) to explore and understand the books they read, older readers need to be able to infer meaning, make predictions and understand characters on a deeper level.

Reading comprehension isn’t skilled and drilled like phonics, and helping children with comprehension could be challenging for parents. Multi-sensory comprehension tutoring tools and lessons can be used by parents at home to help a child who struggles with comprehension. Activities and lessons can focus on these three sensory learning styles

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Touch (tactile)

Reading Comprehension Tutoring

Visual Tools to Help with Reading Comprehension

Visual learners can boost their skill mastery when lessons are presented to them in a way that allows them to see concepts. For some children, charts or graphs can be beneficial. When teaching reading comprehension, visual tools can include the following:

  • Graphic organizers
  • Reading comprehension bookmarks
  • Sticky notes

What are Graphic Organizers?

Many teachers use graphic organizers for reading lessons. These tools are designed like worksheets but include prompts and spaces that encourage children to elaborate on specific literary concepts (like theme, characters, basic comprehension, etc.).

Graphic organizers can look similar to a flow chart, but they also might simply include large boxes with prompts and space for children to write supporting details and notes. Again, each organizer can focus on a specific literary concept.

Parents can find examples of graphic organizers online; some sites like Number Dyslexia offer free graphic organizer worksheets that focus on characters, main ideas, story sequences, etc.  Using multiple graphic organizers can help children break down components of a story and help them master specific literary concepts, too.

Reading Comprehension Bookmarks

A reading comprehension bookmark can be used for many purposes during reading activities. This type of bookmark includes prompts related to comprehension concepts that serve as a visual reminder to children as they read. In addition, some reading comprehension bookmarks can include spaces where children can write notes about the story, characters, etc.

This bookmark provides a constant visual reminder to children to think about elements of the story as they read. Of course, the bookmarks also help readers keep their page and it can be flipped horizontally to cover up text during chunking exercises. Chunking text can help children focus their attention only on a portion of a page to facilitate understanding of each portion of the story.

Stick to Sticky Notes

Sticky notes can serve as colorful visual reminders for children and offer a small space to write notes about characters, the plot, theme, etc. In fact, parents can help children organize different story elements by sticky note color. For example, notes related to the theme could be pink, details about characters could be written on yellow notes and predictions might be included on blue notes.

Using sticky notes can help children mark their page and organize their thoughts. Sticky notes that are coded by color let children visually correlate a note to a particular concept. When children finish the book, they can organize all their notes by color and read over what they have written.

Reading Comprehension Tutoring

Auditory Tools for Reading Comprehension

Children who learn by listening to information are known as auditory learners. There are several tools that parents can use to support their auditory learner with reading comprehension. These tools include:

  • Audiobooks
  • Read aloud exercises

Children who learn best by hearing information could benefit from using audiobooks as they read a book independently. Children can listen to the story as they follow along. Listening to the story can help children identify character’s emotions and hear the correct pronunciation of words, too.

In addition, the auditory component might further reinforce the child’s understanding of the book because they see the words in text and hear them being read aloud. This multimodal approach could be beneficial to all readers.

Read aloud exercises could benefit children in the same way as audiobooks. Encouraging children to read aloud or having parents read aloud to children allows them to hear the words as they see them in print. Again, emotional aspects of a book could become clearer to children when they hear the story read aloud.

Reading Comprehension Tutoring

Tactile Reading Activities and Tools

Some children learn best by touch. How can this translate into reading activities that reinforce comprehension? Try these three games that provide a tactile approach to learning:

  • Reading Comprehension Catch
  • Comprehension Hopscotch
  • Comprehension Twister

Catching Comprehension

Parents can create a reading comprehension ball with a simple inflatable beach ball. On each section of the ball, write a comprehension prompt. Play catch with children and have them talk about the prompt that they see (the one that faces them).

Hop to Understand

Children also can play reading comprehension hopscotch. Create a hopscotch board with pieces of paper marked with reading prompts or questions related to specific literary concepts. As a child hops to the next space, talk about the prompt with them.

A Twist on Comprehension

Reading comprehension Twister also is another fun twist on learning and facilitating understanding. Using a traditional Twister game mat, mark the different circles with reading prompts or questions. As children move to a different circle, they will need to talk about the prompt or answer the question.

Some of these games are more fun with multiple players, so encourage older or younger siblings to join in the game.

Other Ways to Encourage Comprehension Mastery

In addition to utilizing tools and games for the multi-sensory styles of learning, parents also can help children embrace reading habits that can help facilitate comprehension mastery. When children are reading independently or reading aloud with parents encourage them to:

  • Look up words they don’t understand
  • Reread sections that confuse them
  • Chunk texts into smaller sections

Keep a Dictionary Nearby

Parents should make sure children always have the tools available to review words they don’t understand. Provide children with an age-appropriate dictionary that they can keep next to them as they read. If they come upon a word that is new, encourage them to look it up. One word can change the meaning of a sentence or even a story. Teach children to learn the definitions of words to help them better understand the text.

Read it Again

Every reader has felt lost while reading a book at one time or another. This can happen if the reader is distracted or is perhaps trying to read too fast. Suddenly, the reader might find that they somehow missed an important detail and feel confused about what is happening.

Re-reading is a tactic that can help readers understand what they missed and perhaps catch additional details, too. Teach children that re-reading is a great habit; some adults might go back and re-read entire chapters to better solidify their understanding.

Small Blocks of Text Can Be Less Intimidating

Some children feel overwhelmed if they see a full page of text and no pictures. The jump to chapter books could be challenging for some children if they are accustomed to shorter books with many pictures. Teach children to cover up part of the page with a piece of paper or even a bookmark and focus on a small portion of text.

Not only does chunking help make a long page of text less intimidating, but it also can encourage children to think about each section as they read.

While reading comprehension can be more challenging to teach at home, parents can use different multi-sensory approaches to help their child better understand books and stories. Auditory, visual and tactile learners can benefit from different games, tools and activities to guide them through their reading journey and improve their comprehension.