Reading is a skill that is taught from a very young age and many of us take this ability for granted. The act of reading, and understanding what the text is trying to convey and how the author wants you to feel is a complex process. In order for you to understand the meaning behind, and context of the text, it requires several parts of your brain to work together harmoniously. Due to this process being complicated, many people find themselves only understanding the basic interpretation, and not actually comprehending the core takeaway of the piece.
By actively changing the way that you read and engage with a text, you can make it much easier to understand and enjoy reading, something that many children actually claim they don’t enjoy. In this guide, the team at Achieving Success will provide various strategies that you can implement with your child whilst you’re reading at home, to improve their overall reading comprehension.
What Is Reading Comprehension?
Reading comprehension is the ability to understand the meaning of a text and what the author is trying to convey through their use and structure of words and sentences, on both a textual and subtextual level. This is an intentional and active part of reading.
When reading a literary piece, or any text, your brain processes not only the words on the page, but also their relationship with the other words around them. The use of language, vocabulary and punctuation also helps to convey meaning, context and emotion which can be altered drastically with a few subtle changes.
Why Is Reading Comprehension Important?
Reading comprehension is a skill that will be used throughout your child’s academic career and in later life, helping them to correctly interpret everything from homework and exams to correspondence in the workplace. Here are a number of things reading comprehension can help with:
- Reading, interpreting, and analysing literature in English classes
- Understanding the core topics within other subjects, such as History, Maths, or Science
- Performing well throughout every section of the SATs
- Interpreting the meaning behind questions in various other examinations and coursework
- Understanding and engaging with current events, such as news reports and legislation later in life
- Properly understanding the meaning of, and responding to, workplace correspondence in an appropriate manner, such as internal and client emails, and analysing and summarising reports
- Reading for pleasure
How to Improve Reading Comprehension
Reading comprehension is largely affected by the ability to understand the vocabulary used on the page. If this is something that your child struggles with, the meaning of a word can often be determined by the use of the words and context cues around it. Make a note of the words that your child doesn’t recognise and create definition cards to help with their understanding. Another fun way to incorporate this extended vocabulary into their everyday lives is to challenge them to use these words correctly in sentences on a regular basis.
Read For Pleasure
The best way for your child to improve their comprehension is to practice their reading and doing so on a regular basis. This will make it less of a chore and more of a fun and engaging activity that can be a shared experience between you and your child. This will motivate your child to embrace this activity as part of their daily routine and further encourage them to engage with the text, with your help and support as a parent.
When reading a piece of text, often a complicated sentence can cause confusion and put a halt to your child’s progress. Taking another approach to this and reading aloud can often help them to visualise what the text is trying to convey. Reading aloud also forces your child to focus on the text at hand and often slows down their reading, allowing their brain to process the information more effectively. Hearing the sentence out loud and engaging with the text in another way can also help to clarify the meaning.
Re-Read The Text
If your child is struggling to understand a passage, this may be due to them having forgotten the information they read previously. It is often helpful to refresh their memory and better understand the text by re-reading the passages beforehand, as this provides contextual cues that help with their overall interpretation.
If your child is confused or has lost their focus, just take a quick breather. Now, without re-reading the passage, ask them to summarise what they have understood from the text so far. Then, compare their summary with the text on the page for likeness. The more your child is able to summarise and contextualise information in their own words, the better their understanding of the text and the more likely they are to retain the information they have learned. Asking your child questions about what they have read is also a great way for them to further their understanding, by formulating their thoughts and opinions on what they believe has happened.
Encourage your child to make notes whilst you are reading together, whether that’s noting down anything they don’t understand, words they don’t recognise or aspects of the text that they like. Once you’ve finished reading the passage in its entirety, re-visiting those passages and words will help to strengthen their vocabulary and their understanding of the text. This will also teach them to face challenges head-on rather than avoiding them.
How Can Achieving Success Help You?
At Achieving Success, we believe that high-quality online tuition should be accessible to children of all ages. To ensure that our pupils get the most out of their learning, we use a number of immersive tools and techniques to keep them active and engaged.
For more information on how we implement reading comprehension into our bespoke curriculums, please get in touch with a member of our friendly team today. Alternatively, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call on 0121 769 2795.