Reading comprehension is having a deeper understanding of the text and being able to relate it to other parts of life. One great way to encourage reading comprehension is to connect places, people and things in books to real life. When you read a book about a farm, remind them of the field trip you took to a farm and all the animals that you saw and smells you experienced.
Help them to read actively and try to guess what will happen next. Teach them to ask questions about the story. Make a regular habit of asking them what they are wondering about the story. Remember that you are creating their internal dialogue that they will build their own reading style on. It is also helpful to wonder aloud and make inferences about characters or events in the story to encourage your child to do the same.
THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX
Creativity and imagination are a big part of reading, and they open the gate to later being able to write their own stories. Stretch your child’s imagination by talking about what could have happened in the story instead of what really happened. Talking about how the story could have gone differently helps your child grasp exactly what is going on in the story.
Ask your child how the story would change if all the characters couldn’t see or if it started raining. Make the story come to life by making them think about logical cause and effect. Your child may surprise you by the ideas they come up with. It may be helpful to start with a very familiar book so your child can build on top of what they know well.
Expanding vocabulary, improving pronunciation and understanding words are all part of language development. Find books that use onomatopoeia for a fun way to improve your child’s pronunciation skills. You should also work with your child on reading tone (happy, sad, mysterious etc.), speed and emphasis on words. All of these skills come together to make your child a skilled reader.
HONE THEIR FOCUS
One idea to reiterate to your child is to identify the point of the story. Sometimes it is easy for a child to get caught up on an extraneous detail in a book. While it is OK to take a detour and talk about why the trees are blue instead of green in a particular book, make sure that they grasp that the point of the book is not the trees.
After reading a page, ask aloud why they think a certain detail was mentioned. Point out what details are important to the story. When you get to the end of the book, think back on what was important and why. For a more advanced reader, you can even ask them to point out details that could change and not really affect the story.
Building on the idea of grasping the focus of the story, it’s important to expose your child to different genres. Helping them to understand the difference between non-fiction and fiction is obviously very important but not many parents think to point it out. Children need to know what type of books to trust for facts and which ones are imaginative. Depending on their understanding, you could also introduce the idea of sub-genres like mystery.
KEEPING A READING JOURNAL
Keeping a reading journal is a great way to take reading to the next level. Journalling provides a way for kids to record how they feel about what they read. You can buy reading journals that have questions and places for writing and drawing pictures. You can also create your own by writing out a few simple questions for your child to answer.
|What’s your favorite thing about this story?||____________________|
|Why did (character A) do X?||____________________|
|What would make the ending better?||____________________|
Another great way to keep a reading journal is for you and your child to make entries for each other to read about the same book. You read the book and then write in the journal something for your child to read. Then, they read the same book and read what you wrote and write a response. This creates a whole new level of thinking about the book and connecting that is great for your child’s reading skills.