Well, without proper comprehension skills, students lack the ability to understand what they read. The point of reading isn’t to make sounds in your brain or out loud, but rather, to understand important lessons, stories and arguments. Through the act of writing, our ancestors have recorded important knowledge that we can understand simply by reading. By understanding what we read, we pick up important information, understand scientific theories, past opinions and new frontiers.
Having excellent reading comprehension skills is crucial. It increases the enjoyment and effectiveness of reading and helps not only academically, but professionally, and in a person’s personal life. Imagine, for example, that your boss gives you a complicated document: you can read the words, but you cannot understand what the document is telling you. What then, is the point of being able to ‘read,’ if it can’t help you move forward?
Importance of comprehension
Comprehension is the goal of reading , however it can be considered as the most difficult skill to master, especially for English language learners. Reading comprehension can be defined as the ability to read text, process it and understand its meaning. An individual ‘s ability to comprehend text is influenced by their traits and skills, one of which is the ability to make inferences. If word recognition is difficult, students use too much of their processing capacity to read individual words, which interferes with their ability to comprehend what is read (Stanovich, 1986). There are a number of approaches to improve reading comprehension, including improving one ‘s vocabulary and reading strategies.
Building reading comprehension
Overwhelmed by the far-reaching implications of Reading Comprehension? Don’t be! Comprehension is actually quite simple to build. However, it will require daily, active involvement from a parent or guardian, where you guide your child through the thought processes that underly understanding any text.
Daily reading practice:
All children should spend at least half-hour daily, reading with a loved one. Not only does this foster a positive relationship with reading, but it also allows you to model the cognitive steps required to comprehend what is read.(Seriously, we can’t emphasize this enough. The research out there is endless — every child requires daily reading at home to succeed).
Make connections :
As you and your children read aloud, share experiences you have had that relate to the story and have them share theirs. Not only does this build an interest in reading, but it grounds them in the idea that there is something common and shared in the act of reading, and it invests them in the story.
Create a visual :
Sometimes children have a hard time visualizing what they just read. Help your children visualize by describing the scene, characters, and plot. You can even ask them what they are visualizing and have them draw in pencil, pen, markers, or colored pencils. They will be involved and creating their own story, which will help them get a clearer understanding of what is happening.
Check for understanding :
Whether you are reading, or your child is reading, ask key comprehension questions, periodically, while reading. Doing this not only helps you see if they are understanding what is being read, but it also teaches them what questions they should be asking themselves as they read.
Before Starting- Look at the Cover & Title! What do you think this book will be about?- Do you know anything about this topic?- What types of characters do you think will be in the story?
During Stop periodically (every paragraph or page) and ask:-. “Who?”- “What just happened?”- “Where?” At key points, you can also ask “How did it happen?” and “Why did it happen?
“As you progress through the story, make sure that your child is holding on to the story by asking “What has happened so far?
“Teach them to predict / imagine / hypothesize by asking “How do you think the character will handle the situation?
“Also, clear their doubts and give them a voice in your daily reading practice by asking “Is there anything you are wondering right now?”
After: Check to see if your child understood the text by asking- “What was the main message in the story/text?”- “Tell me the story in your own words” “What were the most important events in the story?”
Make inference and prediction :
Making inferences and predictions goes hand-and-hand with asking questions. Inferring is the ability to take clues and given knowledge from a text and conclude what will happen next. To help them infer, ask them to predict what might happen next in the story “What does the author want you to think about?” “Why do you think the character did ______?” “What do you think will happen next?” “If the story had a sequel, what do you think it would be about?”
Fix any type of confusion :
It is important to go back and re-read as soon as your child seems confused! Make sure you are tracking your child’s comprehension progress. The moment they can’t answer one of your questions, whether it’s at the first sentence or in the middle, or maybe even at the end, back up and re-read!
Remember, building Reading Comprehension will take time. Comprehension is built on phonetic awareness, reading fluency, vocabulary, and / or language arts. Stick to your daily reading practice (especially when you want to give up) and remind your child that it is important to understand every single word / sentence / paragraph / story they read.