One of the stressful duties of parenting is offering reading help to your children. As children begin to read longer texts, it is vital that they develop their reading comprehension skills along with their ability to decode.
Reading help doesn’t have to be offered at school alone. At home, you can help your child improve their reading skills. The following are a couple reading comprehension strategies that can come in handy anytime you offer reading help to your children.
Marking Up Text with Post-It Notes
When your child has a question about something that they are reading, encourage them to write the question down on a Post-It note and then put it next to the text that was confusing. At the end of a section of reading, they can go back and re-read, think about their question some more, or ask you for more information.
If your child doesn’t write much yet, you can also have them draw pictures of their questions. If your child doesn’t have questions about the text, they can mark the parts that they found interesting or surprising. All this encourages them to connect to the text and to think about it more critically.
Education is more than learning to read or write. The personal connection between subject matters is also an important aspect. Before, during, and after reading a text, have your child think about any personal connections they can make with its subject matter.
For example, if your child is about to read about a kid who is made fun of in school, ask them if they have ever been laughed at, how it made them feel, what the circumstances are, etc. This can help your child make a personal connection with what they read. In the long run, their comprehension will gradually improve.
Sometimes children have background knowledge on the subject of a text, and sometimes they do not. If they do, it might be incomplete. Before your child starts reading something new, spend some time talking about the subject matter. Watch a short video on the Internet about the subject, or look at some pictures of it. Not only will this help improve your child’s reading comprehension ability, it also helps you bond while parenting.
As your child reads through a text, encourage them to ask questions. Sometimes stopping every few sentences to ask a question can impede comprehension, so it might be a good idea to make a list of questions to ask at the end of each section of the book. Encourage your child to do some research to find answers to some of their own questions. This will help in their education, reading comprehension, and learning ability. It will also help them perform better in school.
Utilizing your parenting skills, you should be able to help your child visualize. Talk about what a particular scene or action in the book might look, feel, smell, taste, and sound like with your child. Even though your aim is to offer reading help, however, it shouldn’t be about reading only.
Have them draw pictures of different parts of the book. These visualization exercises help them to better understand what they are reading. You could also have them draw pictures of different parts and then put the pictures in order. This will reinforce understanding of sequential events in the story.
There you have it! All the above are various ways you can help your children improve their reading comprehension ability. If you haven’t been offering reading help, guess it’s high time you fire up your parenting tools. Start offering reading help to your child from now on. Within a short period, you will definitely notice drastic improvement in his or her education, and performance at school.
L. Hughes-Page, M.Ed.
L. Hughes Page is a Field Supervisor to student teachers in the Graduate Department of Education at Gwynedd Mercy University.