How do I help my child improve their reading comprehension skills?

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Reading for Meaning means having comprehension, and understanding what you’ve read. It takes practice, time and patience to develop reading comprehension skills. Families can play an important role in helping a child learn to read for understanding.

First, make sure your child is reading books appropriate for their reading level. If a book is too hard, your child will be putting too much energy into decoding the words, which will hinder his/her comprehension.

BEFORE you begin to read with your child

Make predictions based on the book cover as well as the illustrations inside the book. Ask your child what they think the book may be about. Guide your child on a “picture walk” and discuss the pictures, brainstorming what might happen in the story. Speak about personal experiences that your child may be able to link to the story.

DURING the reading

Help your child be an active reader. Active readers don’t just read words, they are involved in the story by asking questions, making predictions, reacting, finding the meanings of new words, making connections, clarifying and visualizing what they are reading. If your child seems uncertain about a part of the text, go back and reread, then discuss.

AFTER you finish reading together

Your goal is to help your child reflect on what they’ve read. Summarize with your child and share a favorite part of the story with them. Have your child write a review on the book or draw a picture explaining their favorite part.

Take the extra time before, during and after reading to read with your child this way. You’ll start to see a more involved, motivated and dedicated reader.

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