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7 Ways You Can Help Your Child Grow Their Reading Comprehension Skills

7 Ways You Can Help Your Child Grow Their Reading Comprehension Skills

Reading comprehension skills help us make sense of what we read. After all, what’s the purpose of reading if it’s nothing more than words on a page? Yet many children struggle in this area.

If you hear your child frequently complain about reading and express that it’s boring, they may be struggling to comprehend what they’re reading.


Like any good parent, you want to help your child but may lack practical ideas for how to do this.

Stick with us as we discuss seven easy ways you can help your child improve their reading comprehension skills.

Help your child activate relevant information

The activation process refers to the ability to draw on previous knowledge or experience when learning something new. You can help your child make these important connections by asking questions about the topic at hand.

For example, if your child is reading a book about fall, ask them what they already know about fall. Or, if your family spends a lot of time hiking, ask them to reflect on what it’s like hiking in the fall as opposed to hiking in the summer.

There are no specific questions to ask but you know your child better than anyone. Think of different ways you can prompt them to access the information they’ve already stored on the topic so, as they read, they can add all new information to this preexisting web of knowledge for better understanding and retention.

Help your child ponder questions about the text

Periodically while they’re reading and after they finish reading, ask your child some questions about the text. Avoid yes and no questions. Instead, ask them questions that show you they understand what they’re reading and that get them to think more critically about the content.

Hmm...why do you think Lucy is so angry?

How do you think she could have handled the situation more effectively?

Is there a time you could relate to the way Lucy was feeling in that situation?
 

Help your child visualize the text

One of the things that makes reading so enjoyable is picturing the story in your mind. But sometimes our child works so hard on basic decoding skills that they miss the meaning behind the words.

However, kids are imaginative. Help your child create a movie in their mind when they’re reading. Ask them what they think the characters in the book look like. What does the town look like? How does Grandma’s house smell? Feel free to contribute some of your own imaginative ideas as well!

If your child likes to draw, you can also have them draw a picture of one of their favorite scenes in the book to aid them in creating their “mind movie.”

Help your child infer additional information contained within the text

Teach your child how to look for clues in a story. What is the author hinting to the reader about even though they aren’t coming right out and stating it? When your child learns to look for clues, it will foster curiosity and increase their engagement while at the same time adding to their enjoyment and comprehension of the stories they read.

Help your child search for information that supports their ideas about the text

Encourage your child to formulate ideas about what they’re reading and see if they can find information in the text that supports these ideas. This is something you can do with any age child at any reading level.

If your young child thinks that the main character’s hair is brown, look for pictures of the main character in the book. What color is his hair in the pictures?

If your child thinks that being kind is one of the main ideas the author is trying to convey, ask your child to find examples in the book where kindness is demonstrated.

Encourage new experiences

Every time your child has a new experience—whether it’s trying a new food or a new sport or visiting a new city—they add to their understanding of the world around them. Then, when they read a story or text that intersects this experience, they can activate the experience, bringing it into the present and mingling it with what they’re reading, deepening their understanding of the said topic.

You help your child become a more effective reader and a lifelong learner when you give them new experiences to draw on.

Help your child strengthen their cognitive skills to grow their reading comprehension skills

In some cases, you may try all of these tactics to help your child understand what they’re reading but the information still doesn’t seem to land. That’s because weak cognitive skills can make it difficult or impossible for your child to understand what they’re reading.

If you want your child to grow in their reading comprehension skills and are concerned that weak cognitive skills are getting in the way, give us a call to set up a cognitive skills assessment at 540.579.0545. We will interpret these results and, if we detect cognitive weaknesses that are inhibiting reading comprehension, we will share a detailed roadmap of how our brain training services can help.

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