Comprehension is the ability to not only read words, but understand their individual meanings and their meanings within the context of a sentence and story. Your child may be able to demonstrate an understanding of phonics and phonemic awareness, read basic sentences fluently, identify many written words by sight, and still not understand what she is reading. That’s why comprehension in and of itself is an important component of reading instruction.
If you are wondering how you can help improve a child’s reading comprehension, then check out the following tips from Red Apple Reading!
- Preview: Before you read the book or story, look at the title, topic, pictures, and words in bold print. This quick glance can actually make a big difference in your child’s understanding of the story.
- Make predictions: After he previews the story, let your child use the information he has gleaned to make predictions about what he believes might happen in the book. He will enjoy seeing how closely his guesses match the actual plot! Check out this informative article from This Reading Mama about making predictions before reading.
- Provide background knowledge: Comprehension can be impeded by a lack of “background knowledge.” For example, if a child is given a book about the Erie Canal, but does not know what a canal is, she will have difficulty understanding what the book will be about. If your child encounters a book about a possibly unfamiliar subject, take the time to help her gain some background knowledge about the subject before reading the book.
- Ask questions: Asking your child questions before, during, and after the reading process will give her practice with synthesizing information and focusing on comprehension. Fantastic Fun and Learning has some great ideas for questions you can ask your little one about her story.
- Form a mental picture: Encourage your kiddo to form a mental picture of what he is reading. You could describe it as a movie playing in her head. For more ideas for how to help your child practice mental imagery, read this article from Reading Rockets!
When a child doesn’t understand what she is reading, the process can become a chore. Red Apple Reading believes that reading should be fun! Once your child begins to better comprehend what he is reading, he will not only be more proficient but he will also be a more enthusiastic reader! For more ideas on improving your child’s reading comprehension you are welcome to visit our Pinterest board, Reading Comp Coffers.