Help Your Child Improve Reading Comprehension

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Are your kids comprehending what they read? Because if they aren’t, you need to know how you an help your child improve his reading comprehension. And you need to know how to help them at home. Especially over the summer.

Some kids don’t stop when they’re confused, they just keep going! (Aaah!) I had 5th graders who were proficient at faking it. Since I always let my students choose their own books, I couldn’t know the plot of every book. But, even if you haven’t read the book, it’s possible to do a sniff test and see if your kids are really understanding what they read. Here’s how.

Quick Reading Comprehension Check (even if you haven’t read the book)

1. Skim — even a chapter or two. Ask your child about the part you skimmed. Do you remember what happened when ________? Why did ____________ do _______________? 2. Listen for confusion clues. Phrases like . . . “I forget.” “It’s hard to explain.”

Help My Child Improve Reading Comprehension

The most important thing you want your children to understand is that good readers know if they don’t understand. If your child does not have a movie in his or her head about the story — then they’re aren’t comprehending. I KNOW WHEN I DON’T UNDERSTAND.

reading comprehension
Teach your child what to do if he/she doesn’t understand.

If you don’t understand you should: 1) stop and use a reading strategy, 2) get help, or 3) decide if the book isn’t at your reading level and pick a different book (as long as picking a different book isn’t an avoidance strategy that is used every time.)

KEEP READING: Specific reading comprehension strategies to help your child

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  1. Great tips here! I’m a big fan of reading with my child over the summer (and during the school year!). Even if your kid is too old to be read “to”–as mine is–you can still enjoy a book together. Take 20 minutes to read together as a family, and talk about what you read. Visit the library together. Go to your local bookstore. Even though my daughter is 18 and has her own pocket money, she knows I’ll always buy her books!

  2. My middle child, PickyKidPix, is a proficient reader but she has trouble with complex plot lines like flashbacks (like When I Reach You) different narrators (like From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler), and too many characters to keep track of their relationships (like The Westing Game).

    Usually she will complain loudly about Not Getting the Book and it’s a good sign to switch books. Her teacher said to try The Westing Game maybe 6 months later, but we’ll see. There are plenty of books that keep her attention so maybe we’ll save these more complex ones for middle school.

    I find it helps just to ask them to tell me what’s going on. Or ask what a particular vocab word means. This helps them to understand what they don’t understand. Nice post! Such an important topic!

  3. Great article. This is very interesting to me because I plan on homeschooling my daughters but have worried a bit about making sure they are learning right. I look forward to reading the next section.

  4. Super post! This is straight forward and very helpful. I’ll be sharing this in a few places today. I look forward to your next post.

  5. So true that it’s equally important that kids understand the text they are reading. Deciphering the words is just half the battle.

    I love the tip that kids need to understand that they don’t understand. That seems so obvious but that kind of metacognitive understanding doesn’t always come naturally to kids, and they need parents and teachers to model and teach what not understanding looks like.