There was a time when children had their noses buried in books rather than iPads, computers or video game consoles. Although there’s nothing wrong with getting them into becoming more technologically advanced, there are now a ton of distractions that keep them from actually reading a book.
Bedtime stories may sound like a probable idea but before you know it, your child’s already fast asleep – and you haven’t even reached the good part of the book yet! More often than not, your little one will probably pick their favorite stories for you to read before dozing off to sleep as well.
Is there another way to build your child’s vocabulary and improve reading comprehension?
11+ exams and academic scoring aside, reading comprehension is vital for every child. Having a strong foundation in comprehending written text will set them up for more advanced learning. The question is, how DO you improve reading comprehension?
The best way to practise reading comprehension with your child is by getting them to read more. Choose books that interest and challenge them all at the same time. If you are having difficulties getting your child off their gadgets, download an application that allows them to read and grow a selection of books. Whatever you do, they must constantly start reading new material.
However, this does not mean that you can leave them alone to read from cover to cover. Get involved in your child’s reading journey by doing the following tips:
Allow your child to explore the many genres of books that are available within their reach. Oftentimes, the reason why some children dislike reading is the fact that they are not interested in what the book is all about. Perhaps your child prefers reading about science related themes, instead of a novel, encourage them to pick up a book about dinosaurs or astronauts.
Don’t be discouraged if your child does not reach for a book that does not meet your standards in terms of difficulty levels. The key is to help your child build a relationship with reading.
Before purchasing, ask them why they have chosen the book and why they think it would be interesting. This is a very discreet way of getting to know what your child can comprehend by flipping a few pages.
Other Ideas: If you are still struggling to keep your child’s focus, try a different approach and purchase an audiobook instead. This will test your child’s listening skills as well.
Set up a schedule with your child dedicated to reading a book together. Not only is this a great chance for parents to bond with their children, it is also a guided practise for reading. Making time to read instills a good habit for your child. Reading aloud together also allows you to assess what your child’s struggles are. Perhaps there are words they can’t read or don’t understand – this is where you come in and answer their questions.
Other Ideas: Create a book club within your family. Ask your family members to take part in the reading challenge and set up a time within the week to discuss and review the chapters you have read. This is another chance for family members to bond together as well.
While reading, your child might be experiencing difficulties in understanding what the book wants to say. Create a hand signal, perhaps a raise of hand or a clap, for times when your child has difficulties understanding or if they have questions to ask.
If your child is shy or afraid of embarrassment brought about by making mistakes, this tip allows them to realise their weaknesses without having to feel bad about them.
Make use of your child’s current knowledge and connect those thoughts with the book you are currently reading. One of the most important skills in reading comprehension is connecting ideas and making inferences. Allow your child to realise that books aren’t just text written on a page, they are ideas that were drawn from real life experiences.
Talk about the ideas that were in the book and relate them with their own experiences. Perhaps the book is about friendships in the classroom. Ask your child if they have classmates similar to the characters in the story and what you they think will happen to these characters in the end.
Most books are made to build the reader’s imagination. The best stories are not written in a straightforward manner. Instead of saying, “the cake is delicious”, the author will most likely describe the cake in the most elaborate way possible.
Using the 5 senses, allow your child to use their imagination by creating visual images. While reading the book, ask questions about how they imagine the character or the setting to be.
Being able to make inferences in reading comprehension is an advantage for every reader. Let your child have the freedom to keep guessing. Ask them how the characters might be feeling after a certain event and why they think that way.
Although their ideas might not exactly match the ending of the story, what is important is that they are able to create many different possibilities and practise reasoning skills.
Many parents struggle with getting their children to read. If you know a tip or two on how to teach reading comprehension, share your ideas with us on the comments below.