Did you know there is more to reading than reading? Technically, reading is a multifaceted process involving word recognition, comprehension, fluency, and motivation. We have all heard of the four year old who is reading “Harry Potter”, right? Well, he may be reading the words, but chances are he does not understand the words he is “reading.” It is important to make sure your child is not only a fluent reader, but also comprehending what he reads. I believe comprehension often gets overlooked by not only parents, but teachers too. Comprehension has been described as the essence of reading by a leading reading researcher, Dolores Durkin.
Whether you have a preschooler or 4th grader, you can easily integrate comprehension techniques at home.
1. Ask your child questions as they read the book or you read a book aloud to them. Simple questions for the younger group: What do you think Fancy Nancy is going to do next? More challenging questions as they get older: Why did Chase sell the cows?
2. Bridge the gap between the print word and your child by asking them to tell you about how they feel about what happened or what would they do if they were in the situation.
3. Look at the cover of the book, the title, read the flap or back of the book…predict what is going to happen and why they think that will happen.
4. If they are independent readers, make sure they are reading at their level.
5. Reading takes practice. You must practice to get better. Set aside at least 15-20 minutes to read every day.
6. Make sure you have high interest reading material for your child to keep their interest level high and motivation going strong.
7. Make sure your child understands the words he is reading. Stop and ask him what a “new” word means.
8. Children need to see their parents reading for pleasure. Talk about something interesting that you read.
I know from first-hand experience how important reading comprehension is for children. My oldest son has been struggling with it for a few years. He recently started working with one of our reading specialists and we have already seen a tremendous gain in his confidence and skills. Little Scholars offers private and small group reading instruction to address reading issues like comprehension. For more information contact Little Scholars at firstname.lastname@example.org