Reading is a critical skill for academic success. Reading allows us to learn from texts and articles, gives us directions on homework assignments and class projects, and opens the world of books. But what if your child is falling behind? It might feel discouraging to learn that your child is struggling with reading comprehension. Not only do you want your child to succeed, but you also want your child to enjoy reading. There are many things parents can do to help.
10 practical strategies to improve your child’s reading comprehension:
- Ask “check-in” questions as your child reads. Who is in the story so far? What is the pig’s house made of?
- Encourage your child to monitor her own comprehension while she reads. Do you understand the last sentence? What’s happened in the story so far?
- Have your child reread challenging sentences. Talk about the meaning.
- Encourage your child to restate challenging sentences in her own words.
- Help your child build the story as she reads. Graphic organizers are great tools to use. For example, make a “character wheel” by writing important traits about a particular character on each spoke. Or fill in a worksheet that identifies the story’s main events, problem and solution.
- Have your child make predictions about the story as she is reading. What do you think this story will be about? What do you think will happen next?
- Encourage your child to write down challenging vocabulary words. Have your child make flashcards of each word by drawing a picture of the word and writing the definition in her own words. Practice using the new vocabulary words throughout the week.
- Encourage your child to summarize the story in her own words. If this is hard, have her use her graphic organizer to recall specific events or details.
- Ask your child to identify the “main idea” of the story. What is the story about? Why do you think the author wrote it? If you could give the story a new title, what would it be and why?
- Gradually encourage your child to use these strategies on her own. As your child is more successful, take a step back. If they have difficulty, help her decide what she can do to better understand the story.
Finally, make reading fun! Choose material that is interesting to your child. Keep in mind that reading is not limited to only books. You might read a movie review from a film your child recently saw, or a recipe your child is excited to try. Take your child to the bookstore and encourage her to choose a fun book to read before bed. If you’re unsure what reading level is appropriate, ask your child’s teacher for the latest recommended books for your child’s age.
For more reading help, contact our Blossom Reading Center.
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