Easy! 5 Steps to Improve Reading Comprehension!
Pick a parent, any parent, and ask them the most important skill their kids need to learn. Near the top of the list, you are certain to hear, “The ability to read!” We want our kids to love reading, because we understand the power it unlocks. Throughout time, those who read are the ones who advance, who lead, who influence. But when reading comprehension is weak, the desire to read naturally plummets.
Tip #1: Choose the right topic!
Is your child into dinosaurs? Superheroes? World War 2? Does she love fairies? Animals? Time travel? For each of my kids, I learned the first step to get my child to love reading was to choose a book about a topic they loved! Take time to browse through the library together, as early readers are typically organized by topic. Pull a book or two off the shelf, find a library table and start the book together, right there. When read the first few pages to your child, they will catch your excitement and interest in the topic!
Tip #2: Choose the right type of book!
Beyond topic, it’s important to help your child discover the style of book that most piques their interest. While fiction stories are typically our go-to selections when we are helping young children choose books to read, remember that many kids prefer nonfiction books. Your kid who loves science or history may prefer a nonfiction book about forest animals to a fiction story. Think outside the box, and keep hunting until you find your child’s sweet spot! Comic books are great for visual learners who struggle with reading. Find a book of baseball stats for your little ball player. Guinness Book of World Records publishes a collection of off-the-wall facts each year, which my oldest child loved!
Tip #3: Choose the right level!
Kids who struggle with reading may feel stressed and pressured when asked to read. For many kids, it’s great to have a shelf or basket of books that they can read easily. These will help develop a love of the written word, and build your child’s confidence in her reading skills. Don’t worry, they won’t want to read “baby books” forever! As they grow, they will naturally seek out more difficult books, because their interests will change as they mature. But having a solid selection of books that are “safe” will build your child’s reading confidence so that, when their reading skills develop, they are ready to branch out into more difficult content.
Tip #4: Read-Aloud Time!
One of the best ways to develop your child’s reading comprehension skills is to have regular Read-Aloud Time with your kids throughout their childhood. Studies show that kids who are read to repeatedly show higher academic performance. Select read-aloud books that are several levels higher than what your child could comfortably read on their own. Choose books in which the stories are more complicated, the characters are more deeply developed, the sentence structure is more complex, and the vocabulary is more varied and mature. In this way, you are laying the groundwork for your child’s future reading endeavors so that, when he starts reading at this level on his own, this higher complexity is familiar to him. We recommend you select classic literature, stories and poems that have stood the test of time!
Tip #5: Find The Roadblock
At the end of the day, we must remember that kids who struggle with reading or reading comprehension, do so for a reason. If the instruction has been solid, then there must be a processing issue that prevents the act of reading from clicking, or that allows a child to read every word beautifully but have no idea what he just read. Research shows that, if even one core cognitive skill is weak, it can significantly impact reading fluency and comprehension. People who struggle with reading year-after-year, or across multiple subjects, are most likely weak in one or more foundational cognitive skill. The only way to know is to have your child’s cognitive skills tested using a nationally-normed assessment that will compare his ability in each core cognitive skill to that of his peers. At that point, you will have all the information you need to understand the WHY behind your child’s reading struggles, and how to improve your child’s reading and comprehension. For more information, contact our office at 469-270-0700.