01 May 2013

Reading Comprehension

Is your child a good reader? Can he read things fluently? Does he comprehend everything that he is reading or is he reading the words but not really understanding?  Does your mind ever wander when you read?  Basic reading strategies can help improve your child’s, and even your own overall reading comprehension.

Not everyone enjoys reading. Sometimes this is due to poor comprehension, which makes reading too much of a struggle to be fun.

Here are ten strategies that tutors use to help students improve their reading comprehension:

1.      Explore Background knowledge – If you don’t have enough background knowledge about the subject matter, it can be difficult to connect.  The tutor can foster discussion and help the student make connections.

2.      Review Vocabulary – The tutor goes over potentially difficult vocabulary words before the student reads the material.

3.      Visualize – My favorite!  If you picture a movie in your head while reading, comprehension significantly improves.  The tutor can help the student visualize what she is reading.  One example is to draw a picture or act out a scene from the book.

4.      Break it down – For students with major comprehension difficulties, it helps to break down reading into paragraphs, pages, sections, or chapters and discuss the meaning of each one.

5.      Explain the book to someone else.

6.      Predict what will happen.

7.      Add a chapter on your own.

8.      Self correct – Do you ever misread a word that doesn’t make sense and then go back and realize that it’s a different word?  A tutor can teach children how to re-read when something doesn’t make sense.

9.      Read actively Good readers think about what they are reading the whole time and go back to clarify or ask someone when they don’t understand something.

10.  Identify story structure – Students should understand a story’s basic structure, including characters, setting, events, problem, and resolution. A tutor can help by utilizing graphic diagrams along with discussions to analyze the story’s structure.
As you can see, reading comprehension is complicated.  People with good comprehension skills are usually fluent readers who always find something to pique their interest.  They will then read for pleasure and consequently become better readers.  Once they are excellent readers, they will use the same strategies to comprehend everything, even material that they find less interesting.

Remember, for school, SAT’s, ACT’s, and for life, you will have to read and comprehend material that you may not be crazy about.  I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to learn reading comprehension strategies.  The payoff will be significant.

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