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Effective Ways to Improve Students’ Reading Comprehension

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Reading comprehension is important for our everyday life, work or study. Whether it is a chemistry book or toaster user manual, the latest best-seller or a newspaper article, the more you get out of it, the more value the time spent will have.

How often do you see your child or student struggling to understand the paragraph he has just read? Do you often have to help him grab the main idea of the text or book? How to help a child overcome his reluctance to start doing his reading assignment?

The following tips can help to improve your student’s reading skills and foster further interest in reading.

If you are the parent, you have greater control over child’s reading process. But it also means you have more responsibilities to facilitate and encourage it.

The first thing you should do is to get your child interested in what he is going to read. You can ask a child what he thinks it is going to be about, what his attitude to the book is or how he wants the plot to develop. Some experts suggest writing a three-column chart for a reader to fill in. The first column contains his ideas and expectations as to the plot based on what he already knows or heard about it, the second column contains notes about what really happened in the book and the third one serves to compare and analyze the differences between the first two columns. Naturally, this approach is good for older children; however, keeping that in mind, parents can help a child to develop important comprehension tools.

As the child is reading, help him to understand the main idea of each section, by writing down a couple of sentences in his own words. At this stage parental involvement should be limited to the extent where they encourage their kids to make notes and ask questions or explain the new words, which pop up in the process. Make sure your kid does not try to use the words or phrases from the book unless he fully understands their meaning.

The third step requires a child to write down a short summary on what was told in the section, using the notes he has already taken. Let him write why this book is important or why he disliked it (which is OK too). Help him to set questions that he may ask during the classroom discussion.

The next, and probably the most important thing to do, is to encourage your child to retell the book to you or other members of the family, friends or classmates. This technique can be extremely helpful for those children who are just starting to develop their reading comprehension skills. You can help him by asking open-ended questions, which the child did not come across, while reading. This is the time when a child is very much vulnerable so it is important to show your every approval and support.

The last stage can be especially useful for those kids who, according to Howard Gardner, have mathematical or logical intelligence and usually experience difficulties when they have to retell something. Let your child transform his ideas and thoughts into a graphical model, which could help him later to remember and analyze the connection between different pieces of information.

Improving children’s reading comprehension skills can help to facilitate the whole educational process and make the reading experience enjoyable.


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