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10 ways to help your child with comprehension

Easy tips for revving up this essential reading skill.

By Bruce Johnson

1. Encourage your child to ask questions about what they are reading. Also encourage your child to ask questions, even it they don’t pertain to what they are currently reading. The question and answer may be helpful in later reading.

2. Ask questions before, during, and after the reading. Try to connect the reading to events in the child’s life as much as possible.

3. Ask questions before the reading. Preview the story. Look at the cover, and look at the pictures. Make some predictions.

4. Stop and ask questions in the middle of the reading. Try to relate to the text.

5. When reading a chapter book, when finished reading for one session, stop and summarize what was read. Before reading the next time, use that same summary to remember and reconnect with the text. This will boost comprehension for the new reading.

6. Ask open-ended questions. These are questions that don’t have one-word answers. Questions that begin with why or how often yield good answers.

7. Make as many connections as you can. Make some text-to-self connections. Try to see how the book you are reading relates to you. How is the main character like you or someone you know? These connections help to improve comprehension.

8. Play an “I am thinking” game. Say: “I am thinking about someone in the story who helps the cat. Who am I thinking about?” Continue to give simple clues until the answer is discovered.

9. Share ideas about the funniest and most interesting characters.

10. Be ready to go to another source for more information.

Excerpted from Involving Parents in Their Children's Reading Development: A Guide for Teachers

Educator and reading specialist Bruce Johnson is the author of Involving Parents in Their Children’s Reading Development: A Guide for Teachers.

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