Helping Your Child Read with Fluency: Comprehension
If you have been following along with this series, thank you! You have finally made it to Part 4: Comprehension. Reading is comprehending. If a child does not comprehend the reading, they did not read, they just decoded the text. While decoding is important (decoding is the most basic step to being able to achieve comprehension), it does not mean that your child is a fluent reader.
What is Comprehension?
Comprehension is understanding the text and being able to talk about what happened correctly and answer any questions about the passage. There are different depths of understanding and readers need to understand more than just what appears on the surface: they should also be able to interpret the meaning of the text.
How Do You Increase Comprehension?
Students who struggle with comprehension (and students who don't) need direct, explicit instruction in reading strategies. Reading strategies are the skills and methods that good readers use automatically to help them comprehend a text. Below are some of the most common reading strategies a reader should be able to use and at least 1 question you can ask your student to determine if they know them or not.
Before Reading Strategies
Preview the Text: Look at the title, subtitles, pictures, keywords etc. Think about what the text will be about.
Analyze Genre: What type of reading is it?
Set a Purpose: Why are you reading this?
Make a Prediction: What will this text be about?
During Reading Strategies
Monitor the Text: While reading, look for keywords you have learned. Are your predictions correct?
Ask Questions: What questions do you have? How can you find the answers to those questions?
Locate Keywords: Locate words that are important and highlight them. Do you know what they mean? If not, find out!
Make Inferences: Is there anything that happens in the text that you know happened, even though they didn't tell you that?
Visualize: Imagine you can see what the author sees. Use your words or draw a picture to show something from the text.
After Reading Strategies
Make Connections: How does the text remind you of something you already know? (Something that happened to you, something you saw, something you read about, etc.)
Summarize: What was the text mostly about?
Main Idea: Tell what is the main idea of the text.
If your child can do all of the other parts of fluency, but struggles with comprehension, then they need to work on reading strategies. If they struggle with other parts of fluency, they need to work on what they are struggling with. If you cannot diagnose the issue yourself, it may be time to ask a professional for help. We have tests and the experience needed to diagnose the problems and determine the next steps for your child.
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