To help your child become a confident and well-rounded reader, it’s important to improve reading comprehension early on. According to multiple studies, reading encourages brain development in young children, expanding their capacity for creativity, helping them develop empathy, and advancing their vocabulary. It’s a useful habit to develop in kids, which, if properly encouraged, will stay with them as they grow older!
For your child to reap these benefits, they need to fully comprehend what they read. Follow these story time tips to improve reading comprehension and inspire a lifelong love of reading.
Choose interesting material.
The first step to boosting your child’s reading comprehension is to ensure that they find the material interesting. This way, you’re able to hold their attention and keep them focused on the subject matter. Discover what your child’s interests are and find books that explore the subject or related areas. If your child loves animals, you can buy them books about dogs, cats, and other exciting creatures. Your child will remain engaged as you read these stories together.
Use age-appropriate text.
A child’s brain develops with age. The same way you wouldn’t buy kids clothes that are too big or too small, you shouldn’t buy them books outside a certain difficulty level. Advanced material can overwhelm early readers and impede their comprehension. They won’t be able to fully grasp the concepts outlined in the text, even though they’re interested in the subject matter. On the other hand, material below their reading level will not be stimulating and as a result, will leave kids feeling bored and uninterested.
Age-appropriate material will contain concepts that they’re familiar with and words that they can define and pronounce. It’s a good thing to introduce your children to complex words and concepts, but you need to do so gradually as their ability to understand what they’re reading improves.
There’s a lot of age-appropriate reading material for kids available. Start there and build your way up to improve reading comprehension over time. That’s how brilliant kids are formed!
Employ visual cues.
Children are visual creatures who learn from what they see. It also helps when they read, which explains why picture books are great for beginner readers. Describe what’s going on in the book as vividly as you can. You can improvise with colors and props as well as other sensory cues like sounds, smells, and sensations to keep your child’s mind fully engaged.
Invite the child to form their own visual description of the setting and plot to be sure that they fully understand the text. It’s a fun yet instructive way to improve reading comprehension in younger children that not only works for fictional stories but nonfictional ones as well.
Pause and ask questions.
Before each reading session, take some time to set goals by asking your child a few questions such as: Why do you want to read this book? What do you hope to learn? What do you hope to discover?
While reading with your child, take a pause every few minutes or so to ask them what they’ve learned so far. This is a great way to determine if your child is following or not. It also gives them an opportunity to ask questions and gain a better understanding of the text, which will help improve reading comprehension overall.
Read the material multiple times.
Re-reading can help clarify any confusing portions of the text. In addition, it helps your child build fluency — the ability to read articulately, smoothly, and effortlessly. It’s also great pronunciation practice. Perfecting fluency and pronunciation will inspire confidence in your child, which can go a long way toward making them lifelong readers.
Children love to re-read books they enjoy purely for entertainment reasons. Nevertheless, it’s key in familiarizing them with every aspect of the book and exploring the different concepts it presents. Think about how you, as an adult, gain a new insight each time you read your favorite book or study material. Children will also reap the same benefits from re-reading any book they love.
Make real-life connections.
A great test of whether your child understands what they’re reading is their ability to make real-life connections. If your child is reading a book that deals with issues such as overcoming a fear or making new friends, it can help to connect those stories to a time when your child had a similar experience.
Introduce your child to the concepts they’re reading about as a way to improve reading comprehension. A good way to do this is by organizing field trips! If they’re reading about certain animals, take them to the zoo. If their book is about a certain sport, sign them up for a few classes. Physically engaging with the topics they read about will enhance their ability to grasp difficult concepts.
Furthermore, making these real-life connections will build empathy in your child. They may not be able to relate directly to a situation, but if they come across a concept in a book and understand it, they will be able to empathize with a friend or classmate who is experiencing the same thing.
Practice unlocking clues.
Much of improving how children understand what they’re reading involves practicing — new words, reading aloud, etc. Unlocking clues is another concept you need to introduce. Clues in books help you infer what a character is feeling. The text won’t always describe these emotions directly, so you’ll have to discover the clues and explain them to your kid. For instance, “reddened cheeks” describe embarrassment, while “widened eyes” can indicate surprise or shock.
When you find such clues in a book, pause and ask your child what they think it means. This tip will not only improve reading comprehension but also help them recognize visual cues and body language in real life.
Utilizing these techniques will increase your child’s appetite for reading and learning. Share what has worked for you in the comment section below and help other kids on their way to becoming better readers!