Reading comprehension is a formal way of describing the act of reading, processing, and comprehending text. If you just read the previous statement without difficulty and clearly understood its meaning, your reading comprehension is good. When we first learn to read, we tackle sentences word by word, understanding each meaning piece by piece. When our comprehension becomes stronger, we automatically put these words in the context of the sentence. When this is achieved, we unlock the joy of reading!
So now we know what reading comprehension is; let's talk about why it is so important! At the very core of reading comprehension is the ability to read, a lifelong skill that most of us take for granted. Developing a good reading level only makes life easier, whether that be personally, at work, or out in the world. But perhaps the most crucial skills to come from reading comprehension are the ones people struggle with the most; visualization, understanding, empathy, and critical thinking. Reading comprehension develops life skills that prepares people for real-world situations and endless opportunities. Now, let's look at our top tips to improve reading comprehension!
Students with reading comprehension issues often have larger issues surrounding their speech and language. Recent research has shown that reading comprehension problems may originate from underlying oral language weaknesses in a child's youth. Identifying a child's strengths and weaknesses can give you a better understanding of how they need to improve and what you can work on!
Strategy is key when it comes to teaching students reading comprehension. Once a student's understanding has been assessed, following a guide or breaking down the comprehension elements can help. There are many popular guides out there, but creating an individual one with your students may spark something inside them that improves their reading fluidity and understanding.
A good vocabulary is essential when trying to improve a student's reading comprehension level. The more you know, the more you understand. Well, that's not always the case! Structuring how a student learns vocab can significantly improve their capacity for learning and help them feel less overwhelmed. Don't give a student 20 words to learn at once; pace them and make sure that each word is picked up with accuracy and confidence.
What do you do with your students once they've learned something? Simply move on? Next time you wrap up a class, session, or activity, ask your student to participate in reciprocal teaching. The roles are reversed, and you, the teacher, now listen while your student teaches you something they've just learned. Reciprocal teaching often increases a student's ability to recall more information and structure what they've just learned in an easier, more beneficial way.
As a student, you know yourself better than anyone else. You know what you're good at and what you could improve. Don't be afraid to focus on the things you're bad at and prioritize them. The biggest hurdle in your way will be your ability to assess what you've done, and no matter how long that takes, your reading level will only thank you in the long run!
It may seem simple, but reading slowly and out loud will make all the difference to your reading comprehension. Reading aloud builds many critical foundational skills, including; vocabulary, a model of fluent and expressive reading. No matter what age you are, reading out loud with a steady, purposeful pace will only make you a better reader.
Find a method that works in your favor. If you struggle to visualize what you're reading in a busy room, go to the library, or find a quiet spot at home. If vocabulary isn't sticking in your mind, try and play memorization games, or get a friend to test you. Reading comprehension can be challenging, but building a routine and sticking to a method will significantly help you.
Learning can be fun. Honestly, it can! Just because something is difficult, or takes time to understand fully, does not mean it needs to be dull. Learning to read brings new worlds to life, and full comprehension only makes those worlds bigger. Play games, watch movies, sing along to your favorite song; as long as you're reading, you're making a difference!
As a parent, it can sometimes be difficult to understand your children or the problems they face. One great tip is to get involved in their learning journey. Reading comprehension is not something just young children have to improve; it's a lifelong skill that can get better or worse; just like a muscle, it needs to be trained!
Sometimes, you get so busy during the day that you can't always make the time you need to sit down with your child. Luckily, the internet is full of easy-to-access, and super exciting reading comprehension resources available at the click of a button! Are you rushed off your feet? No problem, online resources have got your back!
Most of the reading we do in a day doesn't come from books. Most of the time, it's our phone, computer, or TV; so why not embrace these mediums and experiment with reading comprehension? You could sit down with your child and watch a film with subtitles or listen to music with the lyrics on a screen. Comprehension doesn't have to be boring, so make it fun!
Parents are the last line of support, and when your children inevitably get frustrated with their comprehension progress, it falls to you to calm them down. Just remember, there are no problems, only solutions! Each low point teaches us how to improve, and the journey will never be plain sailing. Reading comprehension can be tough, and staying positive will only make the journey easier.
Reading is truly one of the greatest gifts. It gives us the tools to understand the world around us and an escape when we need one too. With the resources supplied above, we hope to have budding readers feeling more confident and prepared in no time. In the words of English essayist and poet Joseph Addison, "Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body."