Reading comprehension isn’t just understanding a single word or its meaning—it is the ability to recognize words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs and much more.
Developing reading comprehension is important for achieving overall grades in school, and children who shy away from reading are likely to face difficulties in the future. Poor reading skills and comprehension can lead to low self-confidence, and poor grades. It can be heartbreaking for parents to watch their children struggle with reading comprehension, but the more you push them to read to you, the more they clam up and refuse.
Here are top ten tips to help improve your child’s reading comprehension.
1. Don’t push your child
When reading with your child, don’t force him/her to read. Instead make sure that you are next to them and they are following along with you as you read. Trace your finger along the text as you read to them.
2. Let your child choose the book.
Your child is more likely to be excited to read if he or she is reading about something they like. Perhaps a page from a magazine, or a library book about spiders or dinosaurs. Even a comic book is a great choice. Let your child choose something that interests him. It’s okay if your child wants to read the same book again and again. It’s a good thing, and means that he is developing interest and attachment to the story.
3. Read aloud
Encourage your child to read aloud if he or she is struggling with a certain part of a book or a particular word. Hearing the words out loud lets you easily make connections as you read because our brains are wired to connect more with what you hear.
4. Introduce Vocabulary
A lot of reading comprehension comes from understanding the words. A child who has never been to a concert or live show would probably struggle with words such as orchestra or a rock band. Read, read, read Reading frequently will help your child learn new words and interpret different meanings.
5. Use Graphic Organisers
Graphic organisers provide visual representations of the concepts in expository text. Representing ideas and relationships graphically can help children understand and remember them.
6. Simplify Long sentences
If your child is struggling with long sentences with heavy vocabulary, break down the sentences for him or her to understand the meaning better.
7. Don’t over-correct.
When your child is reading do not correct him/her too much. Remember, the goal here is to build confidence. There will be plenty of opportunities to work on accuracy and fluency later.
8. Look beyond books
Building your child’s reading comprehension doesn’t have to come from books. Comics, video games, board games, – you name it – are all things your child can read to build up their self‑esteem.
9. Make a game out of it
There are so many fun games you can play with your child every single day to build up their confidence. Online reading programs or apps give children the opportunity to progress at their own pace with the aid of bright animations, high‑level interactivity and motivating rewards.
No matter what level your child is at, remind yourself how far they’ve come and acknowledge their progress. Even if they’ve made relatively small progress. Praise constantly. It will encourage them to keep improving.