6 Strategies For Teaching Reading Comprehension

June 30, 2020

6 Strategies For Teaching Reading Comprehension

There’s more to reading than simply knowing how to pronounce words. The purpose of reading is extracting meaning from the text, or in other words, understanding what you read. But unfortunately, many children struggle to develop the crucial reading comprehension skills they need to make sense of what they read. Studies have shown that a child’s ability to comprehend what they read can impact the rest of their lives. If your child is falling behind, it’s important to implement one or more of these six strategies for teaching reading comprehension:

  • Monitoring Comprehension
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Answering Questions
  • Asking Questions
  • Visualizing
  • Summarizing

Monitoring Comprehension

Encourage your child to actively monitor how well they understand the text as they are reading it. Teach your child to pause throughout the story to ask themselves whether or not they understand what is happening in the story and why.

Then, teach your child to re-read the section they don’t understand. You can also help your child rephrase the sentence or paragraph in their own words to better understand what the author is trying to say. If your child is unfamiliar with certain words used in the text, grab a dictionary, and look them up together. Then, re-read the text one more time.

Helping them become more aware of their level of comprehension is one of the first steps to improving their reading comprehension skills.

Graphic Organizers

Help your child create graphic organizers to better understand what they are reading. There are many different types of graphic organizers you can use to improve your child’s reading comprehension, including:

  • Venn diagrams: Use this organizer to compare and contrast different characters within the same book, different books written by the same author, or different books written about the same topic.
  • Storyboards: Create a storyboard to illustrate the sequence of events in a book. 
  • Flow chart: Draw a flowchart to illustrate the cause and effect relationship between certain events within a story.

Creating these graphic organizers can help children understand relationships between characters, main events of a story, and other concepts.

6 Strategies For Teaching Reading Comprehension

Answering Questions

Get your child to answer questions about the text they just finished reading. Make sure to include a variety of different types of questions, including:

  • Textually explicit questions: The answers to these questions are explicitly stated in the text. An example of this type of question would be, “What was the girl’s name?”
  • Think and search questions: Kids must be able to recall details about the text in order to answer these questions. An example of this type of question would be, “Why did Little Red Riding Hood walk through the woods?”
  • Background knowledge questions: Your child must rely solely on their background knowledge to answer this type of question. An example would be, “How do you think Little Red Riding Hood felt when she was reunited with her grandmother? To answer this question, your child must tap into their own experiences and connect with the text.

Having your child answer questions will help gain a deeper understanding of the text.

Asking Questions

You should also encourage your child to ask questions about the text. Asking questions will help your child identify parts of the story they may not understand.

Tell your child to come up with a list of questions. Then, answer them together to improve their comprehension.


Instruct your child to create mental images of the story they are reading so they can visualize what’s happening. Bringing the words to life in their mind can keep your child engaged and interested in the story, which can improve their comprehension.


Get in the habit of asking your child to give you a summary of what they just read. Your child should be able to summarize the text in clear and concise sentences. They should also know which parts of the story are important enough to include in the summary and which are not.

This simple exercise can help your child remember what they read and connect the events and main ideas of the story.

What is the Best Way to Teach Reading Comprehension?

Every child is unique, so the strategy that works well for one child may not work well for another. Regardless of which strategy is effective for your child, it’s best to supplement your lessons with the Readability app.

Readability is the only reading comprehension app that kids can use anytime, anywhere. The Interactive Voice-Based Questions & Answers feature keeps your child engaged with the text and helps them improve crucial reading comprehension skills. It’s just like working one-on-one with a digital tutor! Download the app on your smartphone or tablet to start your free 7-day trial today.