How to read for comprehension

Find out what understanding really means and why reading comprehension and learning is more complicated than most of us think.

1 – 2, 3 – 5, 6 – 8

I have noticed that many books on reading, and more specifically on understanding, do not even define what “understanding” is. Perhaps it is assumed that we all know what it is; or maybe “understand” is a slippery term that we can’t understand, or “understand” if you prefer!

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary offers this definition: “the capacity of the mind to perceive and understand”. Reading comprehension would therefore be the ability to perceive and understand the meanings conveyed by the texts. Simple what? Obviously. Now we understand understanding!

Ah! A closer look at the reading shows that the matter is much more complicated than it appears. Simple definitions coupled with the complicated nature of reading comprehension prevent us from fully understanding it and teaching it in the best possible way.

Let me focus on a few points that will help explain effective reading comprehension.

Understanding requires the reader to be an active meaning builder.

Research on reading has shown that readers not only “perceive” the meaning in the text. In fact, experienced readers contribute to the meaning of With text. The research base shows that reading is a “transaction” in which the reader brings life goals and experiences into a conversation with the text. This meeting of the reader and the text leads to the meaning of understanding. Understanding is always about what is encoded or written in the text, but it also depends on the experiences, goals, feelings and needs of the reader at the time. Therefore, we can read the same book or story twice and it will have a completely different meaning for us. As readers, we are an equal and active partner of the text in the process of understanding the creation of meanings.

What processes and strategies are needed to be an active meaning builder as a reader?

Again, the trials were undefined. There is a broad consensus among reading scholars that whenever a reader reads something, they use the following strategies:

  • Activate background knowledge and combine relevant previous reading experiences (if students do not have the required knowledge of the subject, they will not be able to understand)
  • Goals established
  • To provide
  • Text decoding – identifies the meaning of words and phrases
  • Summarize: Communicate meaning as you read, building on previous information to create new and more complete meanings
  • View: see characters, settings, situations, ideas, mental models
  • Request
  • Monitor understanding: The most important difference between good readers and poor readers is that good readers know when – and often why – they don’t understand.
  • Use explanatory and corrective strategies as needed
  • Think and apply the meaning that has been given to new situations
  1. Since these strategies are used every time someone reads, if your kids don’t apply all of these strategies, these are the ones that need to be taught first. They have the greatest transfer value.
  2. We need to know HOW to teach these strategies and pass them on to students (this is where the thinking aloud techniques and strategies for action described come into play). Simply explaining the techniques is not enough. Students need help HOW to do this. Just as explaining how to ski isn’t enough for a beginner to get off the slopes, just as explaining a text or explaining your understanding strategy won’t promote understanding.
  3. These strategies are essential for reading comprehension in all situations, but are usually not sufficient for comprehension. Readers of any text generally go far beyond these general process strategies as they employ engagement strategies to create a textual world, navigate it, evaluate it, etc. As students grow and read more sophisticated texts, they must also learn to meet meaning transmission needs with new textual structures (topic, classification, satire, definition, fairy tale, etc.) and new task conventions (such as those aimed at inciting the reader to irony, symbolism, unreliable narrators, etc.). A reader who reads a satire or ironic monologue – or even a fairy tale – using only general process strategies will not understand this. He needs a text and a task, specific strategies, to notice that the text is ironic and to know what to do accordingly.

Yes, understanding and teaching is more complicated than most of us think!

Finally, reading teachers have another big problem. We are reading experts ourselves.

This means that every time they read, we literally do hundreds of automatic things. This automaticity means that while reading we are not aware of what we are doing. And all the attitudes and strategies we employ are unavailable to our struggling readers. In fact, our concerned readers don’t even know they should use all of these strategies.

The children who need our help most are the ones least like us. And the best way to help them is to get their heads off, be aware and share what we are doing as readers. We need to clearly model what we do, guide and encourage them to do the same things, then create situations that encourage and help them intentionally apply the same strategies. I propose an educational model:

LOOK AT HIMSELF
YES – YOU ARE HELPING ME
DO TOGETHER – I HELP
IT DOES IT INDEPENDENTLY – LOOKING

Another way to put it is from the students’ point of view:

SHOW ME – HELP ME – MAKE ME

The use of thinking and acting aloud strategies, two rich sets of teaching techniques, are the ways to achieve this. See the Think-Aloud Strategies page for tips on how to implement them in your classroom.

Strategies for improving reading comprehension and recall

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Amy Morin, LCSW, is the managing editor of Verywell Mind. She is also a psychotherapist, author of international bestsellers and host of The Verywell Mind podcast.

How to read for comprehension

Annie Engel / Culture / Getty Images

Reading comprehension can sometimes be a challenge for students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To understand reading, the student must be able to recognize and decode words as well as maintain attention and effort. Reading comprehension requires the ability to use working memory effectively and to process information efficiently and in a timely manner.

Because children with ADHD have deficits in these areas, reading can be difficult. While research shows that ADHD treatment is important for improving reading literacy, there are other strategies these students can use to improve reading and writing skills.

Expose children with ADHD to very interesting literature

Do you have a child with ADHD who has reading difficulties? Try to give these children books on topics that really interest them. For example, if the student loves trains, ask the child to read a book on the subject. Giving children books on topics they like can help them remember what they read better. During this process, teach the student a variety of reading and writing strategies, including becoming an active reader.

Students with ADHD will find it easier to focus their attention on reading passages that are exciting, challenging, and shorter.

Help ADHD students stay focused

Minimize external distractions while reading. Some students read best in quiet places, while others prefer white noise such as background sounds or music when reading. Let the student read at intervals, taking breaks to move and refocus. Teach students how to use bookmarks to keep their place on the page. Move the tab down the page, line by line. As they read longer passages, help students break up the reading material into shorter segments so that it isn’t as overwhelming.

Teaches active reading strategies

Teaches active reading strategies such as underlining and taking notes. Provide students with plain and colored pencils, colored pens and highlighters, and sticky notes. Use sticky notes to write down points to remember. Use different colors to highlight important points or transitions. Use pencils or markers to highlight, star, circle, etc.

If the student is unable to write in the book, one option is for the parent to purchase a second copy of the book so that the student can highlight key information. Another option is to provide a photocopy of the material.

Guide the student through the process by explaining and modeling strategies, highlighting important points together. Continue to apply this guided practice to help the student develop skills through this “active reading” skill and others.

Preview the content to improve understanding of the text

Preview the content with the student. Summarize the key points of the reading material in the same order they appear in the passage. To provide informazioni generali sull’area tematica, l’ambientazione, i personaggi, i conflitti della storia, ecc. Before the student begins to read the passage, he guides the student through various preview techniques, reviewing the title of the chosen reading, the titles, the illustrations, the sentences in bold or italics, sidebars and questions to the chapters. Talk about how your reading material is structured.

Teach students how to find introductory and concluding paragraphs. Use story maps to help students identify and organize the main elements of their reading material. Examine and provide definitions for any new vocabulary found in the reading chapters.

Teach children to read aloud in silence

Teach the student how to use subvocalization in reading. Unlike silent reading, subvocalization means saying the words you are reading aloud, but very softly. Others should not listen to the student’s reading. Reading aloud is a good strategy for understanding, but for some students it slows down the reading process and can be frustrating.

Reading quietly can be difficult for children with attention problems. The auditory input they receive through subvocalization often helps students focus on the text.

Use tracking methods

Teach students monitoring techniques to understand what they are reading. Practice paraphrasing and summarizing paragraphs, asking questions about your material as you read, anticipating what might happen next, and rereading for clarity.

The teacher can model this skill by reading aloud to students and pausing at various points in the text to comment on the mental processes involved in reading comprehension. As students read the material, they can use a tape recorder to summarize these processes with the help of the teacher.

Another idea is for the teacher to help the student highlight key ideas. Ask the student to read the highlighted points on the recorder, play it again, and then discuss these ideas. Some students benefit from visualizing material, illustrating points, creating diagrams and images to increase their recall and understanding of the main elements of the passage.

Give students more time to read

Give the student more time to read. Many students with ADHD who have poor working memory and slower information processing take longer to read and understand the material. This extended time gives the student ample opportunity to effectively process the material. With more time, they can look back to clarify any ambiguities and reread the text to understand it better.

How to read for comprehension

When students have reading difficulties, this can affect their performance in many subjects. Poor reading and comprehension skills can lead to frustration, low self-esteem, and poor grades.

But the difficulty of reading and comprehension is something that can be improved with regular practice. By learning to read effectively, your child can develop skills that will help him improve his reading and comprehension skills.

What is reading comprehension?

Reading comprehension is the ability to read a sentence and understand its meaning. It is the ability to look at written words and process their meanings or ideas.

Reading comprehension is not just about understanding a single word or its meaning, but also being able to recognize words, sentences and paragraphs and understand their general meaning.

Many students don’t like to read

41% of parents say their children don’t like reading. That’s a lot of kids! And when kids don’t like reading, they are less likely to put the time in to improve. This leads to a cycle of poor reading skills, reduced comprehension, more frustration, and even less love for reading.

So how can we help our children become better readers?

These 12 Reading Strategies For People With Reading Difficulties That Increase Comprehension And Motivation To Read Are The Place To Start! Take a look below:

12 strategies to help struggling readers improve their understanding

  1. Find the books they like

Sometimes, low reading comprehension comes down to the fact that a student just isn’t interested in what he or she is reading. In fact, 73% of students say they would read more if they found the books they like. The secret to becoming a better reader is practice, something that is much easier when your child really likes what he is reading.

Listening to the words aloud helps many students understand what they are reading better than they can understand by reading inside their heads. Encourage your child to read aloud if he is struggling with a certain part of the book or a certain word.

Skim the headings of the text

Quickly scrolling through the titles of a book gives students a general overview of what they are reading. Il tuo bambino può utilizzare i titoli per capire rapidamente di cosa tratta la lettura e i punti principali prima di leggere.

Re-read sections that are confusing

Reviewing the parts that were confusing for your child (or might just need a quick reminder) can help your child get a more complete picture of what they are learning. It also helps to make sure that your child is able to understand the material coming in the text.

Use a ruler or finger to follow along

If your child is having trouble holding their position while reading, use a ruler or finger to help them follow the text. This trick can also help students who are dyslexic and have difficulty separating lines of text and sentences when reading.

Write down words you don’t know

While your child is reading, ask them to write unfamiliar words. Encourage your child to look up these words in the dictionary to find out what they mean. So he finds a way to use them in a sentence your child will come up with.

Discuss what your child has just read

When your child has finished reading, talk about what they just read together. Ask your child what he has learned and what thoughts he has. For longer reading material, such as novels to book short stories, ask discussion questions that you and your child can discuss together after each reading session.

Recap and summarize the main points

When talking to your child about the material, ask them to summarize and summarize the main points. Explaining what your child has learned in your own words helps ensure that he understands what has been read. He also helps to relate the material to what he already knows.

Write down questions about what you don’t understand

Have your child make notes about what he or she doesn’t understand while reading. When your child has a question, encourage him to pause and reflect on what he has read. If your child still has unanswered questions, ask them to take them to the teacher for further help.

Use different formats

Some students just aren’t natural readers—they learn better when they see, hear, or write things. If your student has difficulty reading, he or she finds the format that works best and include it in the reading sessions. This can include jotting down key points as you read or visualizing the material by drawing what your child is reading (for older students, this could be a mind map).

Identify reading problems

If your child has difficulty reading in real time, look out for warning signs that they may have difficulty reading. Dyslexia is relatively common and up to 5 students in the class have some form of reading difficulty. If your child seems to struggle with reading without any improvement, it’s important to identify whether he or she has a reading problem so you can take steps to solve it.

Get a reading tutor

Improving your child’s reading skills and comprehension is something that you can do at home each day. For students who need additional support, a reading teacher can further improve these skills.

For more tips on how to help your child become a better reader, read our blog post on Encouraging Your Children to Have Good Reading Habits.

If your child still needs help, Oxford Learning’s reading teachers can help! Find your nearest office and find out how we can help you.

This post originally appeared on SSSTeaching.

April Fool’s Day …not normally a rigorous action packed day, unless you’re using THE April Fool’s Day Reading Passage. Personally I love a good April Fool’s day prank, my favorite being the “voice activated copier” that I have done at just about every school. The results are invaluable.

I love the carefree nature of this day and wanted to introduce it to my class. I knew it would be easier to read. April Fool’s content was not always classroom friendly so I searched and created an April Fool’s Reading passage for upper elementary!

One of my absolute beliefs about teaching is that if the teacher is happy, the class is happy. I love jokes and good-natured humor, as do my students, so any chance to introduce them to class is winning.

How to read for comprehension

Read steps MAY link multiple elements

Reading passages (like the FREE one!) Can complement and trigger a deeper and richer discussion on topics that may not have been disclosed before.

For example, this fourth grade reading piece (or so …) could be used to combine with:

  • History: Dates can be used to organize events and contextualize why this particular joke could have been more fun
  • Science:(Instant color TV….) Understanding how color TV works and the science behind it is a great talking point.
  • Mathematics:the graphs are an easy addition with the sequence of the beats of reading.

After reading it, we did another synthesis, comparing jokes for similarities, to arrive at a plausible but harmless joke that has caught the attention of millions of people!

How to dig deep with understanding in reading passages

How to read for comprehension

Focusing on fun topics involves not only students who, believe me, find it CHARMING, but YOU too! It also helps to focus on the real jokes from the past and less on the classic – the shoe is settled … that you can hear all day.

Reading text passages carefully is an important skill, especially when dealing with complex text. With this particular April Fool’s Day Reading Passage I like to have students:

  • read first individually, highlighting the text to be understood and asking when needed
  • reading the text in groups, filling in the comprehension passages they may have missed before and answering the questions they had
  • Answering comprehension questions (individually or in small groups)

How to read for comprehension

This complex text reading gives students greater visibility and a chance to gather all the important (and sometimes minor!) Details before moving on!

*** BONUS *** QR Codes are included with some funny video links with the jokes being played which are approved by the teacher. It really helps bring these historical jokes to life!

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Strategies for improving reading comprehension and recall

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Amy Morin, LCSW, is the managing editor of Verywell Mind. She is also a psychotherapist, author of international bestsellers and host of The Verywell Mind podcast.

How to read for comprehension

Annie Engel / Culture / Getty Images

Reading comprehension can sometimes be a challenge for students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). To understand reading, the student must be able to recognize and decode words as well as maintain attention and effort. Reading comprehension requires the ability to use working memory effectively and to process information efficiently and in a timely manner.

Because children with ADHD have deficits in these areas, reading can be difficult. While research shows that ADHD treatment is important for improving reading literacy, there are other strategies these students can use to improve reading and writing skills.

Expose children with ADHD to very interesting literature

Do you have a child with ADHD who has reading difficulties? Try to give these children books on topics that really interest them. For example, if the student loves trains, ask the child to read a book on the subject. Giving children books on topics they like can help them remember what they read better. During this process, teach the student a variety of reading and writing strategies, including becoming an active reader.

Students with ADHD will find it easier to focus their attention on reading passages that are exciting, challenging, and shorter.

Help ADHD students stay focused

Minimize external distractions while reading. Some students read best in quiet places, while others prefer white noise such as background sounds or music when reading. Let the student read at intervals, taking breaks to move and refocus. Teach students how to use bookmarks to keep their place on the page. Move the tab down the page, line by line. As they read longer passages, help students break up the reading material into shorter segments so that it isn’t as overwhelming.

Teaches active reading strategies

Teaches active reading strategies such as underlining and taking notes. Provide students with plain and colored pencils, colored pens and highlighters, and sticky notes. Use sticky notes to write down points to remember. Use different colors to highlight important points or transitions. Use pencils or markers to highlight, star, circle, etc.

If the student is unable to write in the book, one option is for the parent to purchase a second copy of the book so that the student can highlight key information. Another option is to provide a photocopy of the material.

Guide the student through the process by explaining and modeling strategies, highlighting important points together. Continue to apply this guided practice to help the student develop skills through this “active reading” skill and others.

Preview the content to improve understanding of the text

Preview the content with the student. Summarize the key points of the reading material in the same order they appear in the passage. To provide informazioni generali sull’area tematica, l’ambientazione, i personaggi, i conflitti della storia, ecc. Before the student begins to read the passage, he guides the student through various preview techniques, reviewing the title of the chosen reading, the titles, the illustrations, the sentences in bold or italics, sidebars and questions to the chapters. Talk about how your reading material is structured.

Teach students how to find introductory and concluding paragraphs. Use story maps to help students identify and organize the main elements of their reading material. Examine and provide definitions for any new vocabulary found in the reading chapters.

Teach children to read aloud in silence

Teach the student how to use subvocalization in reading. Unlike silent reading, subvocalization means saying the words you are reading aloud, but very softly. Others should not listen to the student’s reading. Reading aloud is a good strategy for understanding, but for some students it slows down the reading process and can be frustrating.

Reading quietly can be difficult for children with attention problems. The auditory input they receive through subvocalization often helps students focus on the text.

Use tracking methods

Teach students monitoring techniques to understand what they are reading. Practice paraphrasing and summarizing paragraphs, asking questions about your material as you read, anticipating what might happen next, and rereading for clarity.

The teacher can model this skill by reading aloud to students and pausing at various points in the text to comment on the mental processes involved in reading comprehension. As students read the material, they can use a tape recorder to summarize these processes with the help of the teacher.

Another idea is for the teacher to help the student highlight key ideas. Ask the student to read the highlighted points on the recorder, play it again, and then discuss these ideas. Some students benefit from visualizing material, illustrating points, creating diagrams and images to increase their recall and understanding of the main elements of the passage.

Give students more time to read

Give the student more time to read. Many students with ADHD who have poor working memory and slower information processing take longer to read and understand the material. This extended time gives the student ample opportunity to effectively process the material. With more time, they can look back to clarify any ambiguities and reread the text to understand it better.

How to read for comprehension

When students have reading difficulties, this can affect their performance in many subjects. Poor reading and comprehension skills can lead to frustration, low self-esteem, and poor grades.

But the difficulty of reading and comprehension is something that can be improved with regular practice. By learning to read effectively, your child can develop skills that will help him improve his reading and comprehension skills.

What is reading comprehension?

Reading comprehension is the ability to read a sentence and understand its meaning. It is the ability to look at written words and process their meanings or ideas.

Reading comprehension is not just about understanding a single word or its meaning, but also being able to recognize words, sentences and paragraphs and understand their general meaning.

Many students don’t like to read

41% of parents say their children don’t like reading. That’s a lot of kids! And when kids don’t like reading, they are less likely to put the time in to improve. This leads to a cycle of poor reading skills, reduced comprehension, more frustration, and even less love for reading.

So how can we help our children become better readers?

These 12 Reading Strategies For People With Reading Difficulties That Increase Comprehension And Motivation To Read Are The Place To Start! Take a look below:

12 strategies to help struggling readers improve their understanding

  1. Find the books they like

Sometimes, low reading comprehension comes down to the fact that a student just isn’t interested in what he or she is reading. In fact, 73% of students say they would read more if they found the books they like. The secret to becoming a better reader is practice, something that is much easier when your child really likes what he is reading.

Listening to the words aloud helps many students understand what they are reading better than they can understand by reading inside their heads. Encourage your child to read aloud if he is struggling with a certain part of the book or a certain word.

Skim the headings of the text

Quickly scrolling through the titles of a book gives students a general overview of what they are reading. Il tuo bambino può utilizzare i titoli per capire rapidamente di cosa tratta la lettura e i punti principali prima di leggere.

Re-read sections that are confusing

Reviewing the parts that were confusing for your child (or might just need a quick reminder) can help your child get a more complete picture of what they are learning. It also helps to make sure that your child is able to understand the material coming in the text.

Use a ruler or finger to follow along

If your child is having trouble holding their position while reading, use a ruler or finger to help them follow the text. This trick can also help students who are dyslexic and have difficulty separating lines of text and sentences when reading.

Write down words you don’t know

While your child is reading, ask them to write unfamiliar words. Encourage your child to look up these words in the dictionary to find out what they mean. So he finds a way to use them in a sentence your child will come up with.

Discuss what your child has just read

When your child has finished reading, talk about what they just read together. Ask your child what he has learned and what thoughts he has. For longer reading material, such as novels to book short stories, ask discussion questions that you and your child can discuss together after each reading session.

Recap and summarize the main points

When talking to your child about the material, ask them to summarize and summarize the main points. Explaining what your child has learned in your own words helps ensure that he understands what has been read. He also helps to relate the material to what he already knows.

Write down questions about what you don’t understand

Have your child make notes about what he or she doesn’t understand while reading. When your child has a question, encourage him to pause and reflect on what he has read. If your child still has unanswered questions, ask them to take them to the teacher for further help.

Use different formats

Some students just aren’t natural readers—they learn better when they see, hear, or write things. If your student has difficulty reading, he or she finds the format that works best and include it in the reading sessions. This can include jotting down key points as you read or visualizing the material by drawing what your child is reading (for older students, this could be a mind map).

Identify reading problems

If your child has difficulty reading in real time, look out for warning signs that they may have difficulty reading. Dyslexia is relatively common and up to 5 students in the class have some form of reading difficulty. If your child seems to struggle with reading without any improvement, it’s important to identify whether he or she has a reading problem so you can take steps to solve it.

Get a reading tutor

Improving your child’s reading skills and comprehension is something that you can do at home each day. For students who need additional support, a reading teacher can further improve these skills.

For more tips on how to help your child become a better reader, read our blog post on Encouraging Your Children to Have Good Reading Habits.

If your child still needs help, Oxford Learning’s reading teachers can help! Find your nearest office and find out how we can help you.

How to read for comprehension

People Pictures / Getty Pictures

  • M. Ed., Curriculum and Education, University of Florida
  • B. A., History, University of Florida

“They don’t understand what they’re reading!” the teacher complains.

"Questo libro è troppo difficile", si lamenta lo studente, "sono confuso!"

Statements like these are often heard in grades 7-12 and highlight the reading comprehension problem associated with a student’s academic success. Such reading comprehension problems are not limited to low-level readers. There are several reasons why even the best readers in the class may have difficulty understanding the reading assigned by the teacher.

One of the main reasons for the lack of understanding or misunderstanding is the course manual. Many textbooks for the content area in middle and high school are designed to cram as much information into the textbook and each of its chapters as possible. This information density may justify the cost of textbooks, but this information density can come at the expense of students’ reading comprehension skills.

Another reason for the lack of understanding is the high level of substantial vocabulary (science, social studies, etc.) in textbooks, which increases the complexity of the textbook. Organizing your textbook with subtitles, bold terms, definitions, charts, graphs, combined with sentence structure, also adds complexity. Most textbooks are assessed using the Lexile gamma, which is a measure of vocabulary and phrases in the text. The medium level of Lexile textbooks, the 1070L-1220L, does not cover the broadest reading range of Lexile students, which can range from Grade 3 (415L to 760L) to Grade 12 (1130L to 1440L).

The same can be said for the wide range of student readings in the English lessons, which contributes to a low level of reading comprehension. Students are credited with reading the literary canon, including the works of Shakespeare, Hawthorne, and Steinbeck. Students read literature that varies in format (drama, epic, essay, etc.). Students read literature that varies in writing style, ranging from a 17th-century drama to a modern American short story.

This difference between students’ reading levels and the complexity of the text suggests that more attention should be paid to teaching and modeling reading comprehension strategies in all content areas. Some students may not have the knowledge or maturity to understand written material for an older audience. Furthermore, it is not uncommon for a student with a high lexical readability index to have reading comprehension difficulties due to lack of knowledge or prior knowledge, even with a low lexicon text.

Many students find it difficult to identify key ideas from details; other students have a hard time understanding what the purpose of a paragraph or chapter in a book might be. Helping students improve their reading comprehension skills can be the key to educational success or failure. Therefore, good reading comprehension strategies are intended not only for low-level readers, but for all readers. There is always room for better understanding, no matter how skilled the student may be.

The importance of reading comprehension cannot be underestimated. Reading comprehension is one of the five elements identified as essential in teaching reading by the National Reading Panel in the late 1990s. Reading comprehension, as noted in the report, is the result of many different mental activities of the reader, carried out automatically and simultaneously in order to understand the meaning communicated through the text. These mental activities include, but are not limited to:

  • To provideing the meaning of a text;
  • Establish the purpose of the text;
  • Activation of previous knowledge in order.
  • Combine previous experiences with text;
  • Identify the meanings of words and phrases to decode the text;
  • Summarize the text to create new meanings;
  • Display fonts, settings, situations in the text;
  • Request the text;
  • Decide what is not included in the text;
  • Use a strategy to improve your understanding of the text;
  • Think about the meaning of the text;
  • Use reading comprehension as needed.

Reading comprehension is believed to be an interactive, strategic and adaptable process for each reader. Reading comprehension is not learned immediately, it is a process that is learned over time. In other words, reading comprehension takes practice.

Here are ten (10) effective tips and strategies that teachers can share with students to improve their understanding of the text. These are strategies for all students. Additional strategies may be needed if students have dyslexia or other special educational requirements.

Generate Requests

A good strategy to teach all readers is that instead of rushing through a passage or chapter, stop and generate questions. These can be questions about what just happened or what they think might happen in the future. This can help them focus on the main ideas and increase student engagement with the material.

After reading, students can come back and write questions that could be included in a quiz or test material. This will require them to look at the information in a different way. By asking questions in this way, students can help the teacher correct misconceptions. This method also provides immediate feedback.

These strategies can help students who are good at decoding but have a hard time understanding what they are reading and are useful for all students.

How to read for comprehension

When we think about reading problems, we often imagine children struggling to decode letters in text and turn them into spoken language. This type of reader has difficulty distinguishing many words and has poor phonological (speech sound) skills. However, there are also many students who sound like they’re reading beautifully but have difficulty with understanding vocabulary and figurative language, inferencing, verbal reasoning, grammatical development, and oral expression.

As children grow up, if they decode well, we assume they read well. When a person learns to decode, reading comprehension becomes more understanding and concentration of language. In this transition, starting in the third grade, teachers may begin to notice that students decode the text fluently but do not understand it.

Because this type of reader has a hard time decoding, it’s less noticeable than one they have a hard time decoding, often sneaking off the radar until standardized comprehension tests begin to fail. Even then, their issues may go undetected for a long time, resulting in middle and high school students who sound like they’re reading but understand nothing that they have read.

These struggling readers should be the focus of repair – the sooner the better. However, a correction of exercises and questions can be ineffective because it focuses too closely on textual skills.

Support students who struggle to understand

Here are five strategies to try with students who read fluently but have a hard time understanding what they are reading.

1. Aim for a general understanding of the language: Recent research shows that reading comprehension difficulties may be due to an underlying weakness in spoken language that exists from early childhood, even before learning to read. It turns out that students who have poor reading comprehension skills often understand even fewer spoken words and less what they hear, and also have poorer spoken grammar. Therefore, to effectively address reading comprehension deficits, teachers may need to adopt an approach that teaches vocabulary, thinking and comprehension skills first in spoken language, then in reading and written language.

2. Teach vocabulary: Because students with poor comprehension often have poor vocabulary skills and understand less of what they hear, it’s helpful to teach the meanings of new words through the use of multisensory strategies like graphic organizers, pictures, and mnemonics. Improving their general language skills makes them more likely to understand words they encounter in the written text. Since it is impossible to know every word you come across, educate students about the different types of contextual cues and how to use them to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words.

3. Teach a thinking strategy: As students acquire the vocabulary to be able to delve into the text, they often struggle with the complex thinking or relentless attention required to keep up with all the important details and access information that is implied but not directly expressed. Teachers can educate students on cognitive strategies they can use. Many popular text reading strategies, such as annotations, SQ3R, and KWL chart, use these thinking strategies, including:

  • Discuss or activate previous knowledge,
  • Develop questions while reading,
  • By connecting what they have read with another text, something they have seen or experienced,
  • Visualize or imagine what they read,
  • Anticipating what will happen next in the text,
  • Look back on the keywords and re-read to clarify or even answer the questions
  • Thinking aloud to shape the strategies and thought processes needed for understanding.

Students can learn and then use the strategies that work best for them depending on the text they’re reading. Extracting deeper meaning from a text by applying a thinking strategy can be useful not only for reading comprehension but also for writing.

4. Ask students to practice teaching each other: Post-study cognitive strategies can be practiced and implemented consistently through peer learning, which encourages students to play a leading role in learning and thinking about the thinking process while listening or reading. Teachers can use peer-to-peer learning in class discussions, with the text read aloud and then with the text read as a group. Students should rotate between the following roles:

  • Requesterasking questions about parts of a lesson, discussion or text that are unclear or confusing, or to help establish a connection with previously learned material.
  • Summarywhich summarizes every important point or detail of a lesson, discussion or text.
  • Cleaner, who tries to address the Requester’s issues and make sure that parts they found confusing are clear to others.
  • To provideorwhich predicts what will happen next based on what has been presented, discussed or read

5. Teach understanding skills directly: Students should be directly taught comprehension skills such as sequence, story structure through the top of the plot, inference and inference, and various types of figurative language. Students should be able to use the skills first with the text the teacher hears read aloud and then with the text they have read independently, at their own level.

The comprehension skills and strategies listed above can be used throughout the class as they are closely aligned with the standards of reading and language arts for elementary and middle school students. Teachers can help students choose reading materials with vocabulary that matches their current skill levels so that students in the classroom can read text and work on vocabulary at levels accessible to all of them.