Here at Inforum Academy, we believe in giving primary school students different strategies to use when reading. Our aim is to help them understand a text as much as possible. Reading comprehension can be difficult for some students, so look at the tips below to see how we try to put the power back in their hands and built confidence in becoming good at understanding what they are reading.
1. Discuss the title
This is important for predicting the text before reading. It helps to evoke ideas and English vocabulary that might come up, while allowing the student to guess and infer what the text is about. The kids love it when they guess correctly, or they may laugh at how wrong they were!
2. Talk about any pictures/illustrations
This helps the student predict how the title, pictures and text are connected. The students start to form their own visual ideas of what lies ahead in the text. This could also include visualizing the material at the end by drawing what has just been read, or for older students this could be a mind map.
3. Underline or circle any new or unknown words as the child reads
If a child struggles to understand specific vocabulary, it’s sometimes possible to pick up meaning through context clues (how the words are used in the sentence or in the passage). However, it’s always a good idea to look up the definitions of words that they cannot work out or are unfamiliar with.
4. Pre-read set questions
This enables kids to predict answers before reading. It also saves time because the student can find the answers as they read, instead of doing it at the end of the text. If there are no set questions, it’s a great idea to get the student to pose their own questions, which can be discussed in pairs or as a class after reading the text. Moreover, discussing the text assists children to connect and apply what they have read to everyday life and/or their own experiences.
5. Reread or retell the text
This is a great opportunity for the student to develop a stronger understanding of the text content, which may not have been possible when reading for the first time. The child will then be more familiar with the vocabulary and the content, so is able to offer his/her opinions and ideas in a more complex way. Similarly, getting the student to retell the text in his/her own words, will enable them to recreate the structure and vocabulary of the text which can be useful when it’s the students turn to write the same genre.
Overall, the best way to improve reading comprehension levels if by practising. Most importantly, find books that interests your child. Explore different genres like mystery, science-fiction, comic books, and more. Making reading fun rather than a constant chore or test, will motivate children to embrace it as part of their daily life. The more interested your child is in a subject, the more he or she will be excited to read and enjoy it!