Reading comprehension is the ability to understand the meaning of words in a text. Even those who seem like they are the best readers may have poor comprehension. Some children can read the words beautifully and their speech flows smoothly and quickly, but if you ask them to explain what they just read they cannot. Sometimes this is simply because they are focused so much on how they sound and how fast they are reading, but sometimes it is an actual problem with comprehension.
How to Improve Reading Comprehension
In order to comprehend words on a page you have to have a strong basis of vocabulary. Figurative language can be a tricky concept for kids to understand especially in early elementary years. This is typically why reading is assigned by levels so that younger children read more simple text. That being said, if it is not taught to them when they are young they won’t magically understand it when they get older. As children grow and learn they need to be taught. It is impossible to teach the meaning of every single word in the dictionary, so an overview of how to decode context clues is also very important. The three main things to focus on should be the following.
- Context Clues
- Figurative Language
How to Make Reading Comprehension Fun
Book reports are a great way to see if your child or student understood anything they read in their book. If you are looking for fun book report ideas you can find ten unique, creative and engaging book report ideas here. The main purpose behind assigning a book report is to ensure the book has been read but also understood. An in-class game to play, especially if all the students have read the same book, is played with a pair of dice and it is called roll and retell. In this game each side of the die is assigned a question about the story. This is best done in small groups so that students don’t simply copy what another student previously said.
How to Measure Reading Comprehension
This specific type of reading disability or impairment is particularly hard to diagnose because it is less noticeable. Lack of reading comprehension often goes unnoticed and untreated until test scores reflect poorly in the reading category since most standardized tests have a section on reading comprehension. While children are young we should be consistently measuring, testing and evaluating comprehension. For young children this can be as easy as asking if they can draw a picture of what they are reading. The following are three ideas for measuring reading comprehension.
- Draw a picture
- Retell the story in your own words
- Standardized Testing Questions
It would be wise as a parent of young children to discuss storyline, main characters and plots in books from the very beginning. Even the most simple children’s books usually have a profound lesson to be learned. Encourage asking questions, and hopefully if a child hears or sees a word that they do not know the meaning of they will feel comfortable inquiring about it. In today’s world we have so much information at our fingertips it wouldn’t hurt to teach children how to use the resources we have to find answers on their own as well. Because of the internet, it raises the question if a child were given a dictionary if they would even know how to find what they were looking for.