Reading with comprehension is a vital skill that lays the foundation for a child’s academic success and life-long learning. However, more than simply decoding words, children must fully comprehend what they read to benefit from the reading experience. Shortfalls in children’s ability to read and read with comprehension have made headlines, with many wondering how we can address this critical issue.
As a parent, you play a crucial role in helping your child develop strong reading comprehension skills, so we thought we would share six practical tips to help your child read with comprehension:
1. Model reading
Children learn best by observing their parents and caregivers. Set a positive example by reading regularly in front of your child. Tell them about the joy and value you find in reading by discussing what you’ve read and sharing interesting facts. This will help them see reading as an enjoyable and meaningful activity.
2. Make reading enjoyable
Instil a love for reading by making it a pleasurable experience. Make time for reading aloud to and with your child, taking turns reading paragraphs. Create a cosy reading nook at home, visit the library together, and let your child choose books that interest them.
3. Show an interest in the books your children enjoy
Try to engage with your child in conversations about the books they read. Get your child to tell you about their favourite genres and why they love these books. Ask them open-ended questions about their favourite characters and highlights in the story’s plot. By leaving the questions open-ended, you can allow them to express their opinions and support their ideas by asking follow-up questions.
4. Help your child build vocabulary
A rich vocabulary is essential for comprehension. Encourage your child to look up unfamiliar words and discuss their meanings with you. When an unfamiliar word comes up, try and use them in everyday conversations to reinforce understanding and retention. Engaging in word games, reading books together, and using vocabulary-building apps are also excellent tools for building vocabulary.
5. Encourage active reading
Active reading means engaging with the text by asking questions, making predictions, and connecting first-hand experiences to the material. Engage in family reading experiences, e.g., reading a newspaper article together once a week.
Encourage your child to actively interact with the text by asking them to summarise what they have read, predict what might happen next, and discuss any confusing parts. Extend the discussion beyond the text by exploring the impact the article might have on readers’ perceptions and behaviour and current affairs it might relate to. This will help both their understanding and critical thinking skills.
6. Monitor and support
Make sure to keep an eye on your child’s reading habits. Whether they give up easily, take very long to finish a book, or even fly through it too quickly, it is essential to check in from time to time. It may be something you can quickly address, such as your child choosing books that are either too difficult or under-challenging.
However, it may be that your child struggles to read with understanding, and this is affecting their enjoyment of reading and perhaps their academic performance. Your child’s response to and engagement with any of the activities suggested in the article will indicate whether they may require specialised educational help.
Your child may:
- Avoid reading or lose interest very quickly.
- Read fluently when reading aloud with you, but struggle to describe the plot of a book they’ve read or give relevant detail about the characters and highlights in the story.
- Have a limited vocabulary, which would become evident when discussing tricky words in the text, and discussions during active reading activities.
- Struggle with active reading, finding it difficult to discuss what has been read or make connections and predictions.
Identifying and addressing a reading challenge as early as possible ensures that a hurdle doesn’t become a mountain. With your help and support, your child will become a confident, skilled reader who can comprehend and appreciate the written word.
Edublox is an educational method that integrates cognitive training, reading or maths tutoring, and solid learning principles. Edublox assists students in becoming life-long learners and empowers them to realise their highest educational goals. While not a quick fix, Edublox programmes can permanently alleviate the symptoms of learning difficulties and disabilities like dyslexia.
Contact your closest Edublox branch for an assessment and help.