Reading comprehension is not only important for your child to succeed at school, but it is a crucial factor in how successful they will be in life academically. However, as with many things, strong reading comprehension skills only come with plenty of practice. If your child isn’t practising their reading then their comprehension skills will not develop. That being said, it is not only a case of how often your child reads but how reading is approached. With that in mind, let’s look at four things that you can do to improve your child’s reading comprehension skills.
Children love stories, and while very young children will always have a small selection of their favourite books, there is no doubt that a child who reads new material will be challenged and, in turn, forced to improve their reading skills. For this reason, it is important that children have an environment where reading is facilitated. If your child has plenty of toys, why not encourage family members to give gifts of books instead toys, or even encourage your child to join a junior library. Encouraging and facilitating reading are crucial if your child’s skills are to progress.
Ask Plenty of Questions
One of the easiest ways to encourage children when learning new words is to ask questions. A child might know a word but has not encountered it written down before. Rather than simply tell them a word that they are struggling on, describe the item and ask your child what they would call it. Alternatively, ask questions with answers that sound like the word in question. Engaging your child in this way will promote their understanding of the story.
Get Your Child to Explain
The natural progression from asking questions is asking your child to explain the story. This is not to help them with particular words or phrases but to prompt them to have an understanding of the story. Ask your child to explain what has happened in the book so far, and what they think will happen next. This is a crucial element of promoting comprehension.
Set a Reading Time
Finally, if your child does not take to reading automatically (and some children do not), try and set a reading time every day where they will read one book, or a couple of pages, or a chapter depending on their level. Having a set reading time encourages routine reading and will become part of child’s daily habit.