8 Ways to Improve Reading Comprehension
Reading comprehension refers to your child's ability to not only read, but to understand what they read. This is one of the five essential components of reading instruction.
As a parent or homeschooler, you play a vital role in building your child's reading comprehension skills at home. Here are some simple tips to improve your child's comprehension and make sure they're reading for meaning:
1. Start building reading comprehension skills early
Before your child learns to read fluently, you can begin building early reading comprehension skills during daily reading sessions at home. When you read with your child, ask them questions as you flip through the book. For example, “Why did the rabbit hide from the fox?” or “How do you think Charlie feels now?”. This will help your child understand that the words in books convey meaning and that it's important to listen closely to understand.
2. Encourage your child to pay close attention while reading
Ask your child literal comprehension questions, which require answers that can be found directly from the text. For example, “What did Todd do when he got lost in the forest?”. This will encourage your child to pay close attention to key information in the text.
3. Use an online reading programme that tests reading comprehension in a fun way
Young children respond extremely well to positive reinforcement and rewards. An online education programme like Reading Eggs is a great way to build your child's comprehension skills in a fun, interactive and rewarding way. Why not read one of the 2500 online books in the Reading Eggspress Library and have your child complete the comprehension quiz at the end to earn exciting golden eggs? (If you don't have a Reading Eggs account yet, you can create one for free).
4. Ask inferential comprehension questions to help your child draw conclusions
Inferential comprehension questions are a bit trickier than literal comprehension questions. They require answers which are less obvious and encourage your child to draw conclusions based on what they have read. For example, “Why do you think the fox was afraid of water?” or “How do you think Sue felt when she finally found her friend?”
5. Make sure your child is asking questions
Children who have reading comprehension skills understand what they read and when they do not. Check to see if your child looks confused or disengaged while reading and make sure they are asking questions when they get stuck.
6. Relate what you read to real‑life experiences
Can your child make connections between what they've read and what they already know or have experienced? Try to encourage them to relate what they have read to prior experiences and knowledge. They may even make connections between what they are reading currently and what they have already read in the past.
7. Ask your child to make predictions
Stop periodically while reading to ask your child to predict what might happen next. Children who read for meaning are able to take what they have already read and make predictions about the story before it ends.
8. Ask your child to draw what they have read
After reading a book, ask your child to draw a picture to depict the story and its main characters. Practice doing this with books which include little or no illustrations. This is a fun and creative way for them to think about what they've just read and 'retell' a story in their own way.
Why not read one of our e-books together now, which all include interactive comprehension quizzes to make sure your child is reading for meaning?