There are many easy reading comprehension strategies, the key is to find the one that works for your child!
Reading Comprehension comes quickly to some children, and not so much to others. It is the understanding of what is being read, not just the reading and sounding out of words.
Some children struggle with both comprehension and actually sounding out of words. Every child is different so it’s important to use strategies to help them.
There are a lot of easy reading strategies that follow. You can use just one at a time or a few depending on the age of your child and the extent of the strategy.
Also, you will probably want to try different ones and narrow in on the one or ones that seem to work. If you can narrow in on the strategy that your child’s school uses, that’s great, but you can try any of these strategies and once your child understands a strategy, they can usually adapt it to the school’s strategy.
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They’re all similar, they just have different names. I’ve broken up some strategies into bits and you’ll see them as part of other strategies.
You can try the more involved strategies to start, practice them and you can use the easier ones once you feel your child is on track with their reading comprehension.
EASY READING COMPREHENSION STRATEGIES
METACOGNITION – THINKING ABOUT WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. A child needs to think as they’re reading. Metacognition is actually what should go on in a child’s brain as the child reads. It’s the internal talking about what your brain is taking in as you’re reading.
The best way to teach METACOGNITION is to read a few sentences (one sentence at a time) and model/explain the information you’re thinking about as you read the passage. (the questions that come up in your head, the words that are describing something, your predictions, the pictures that come up in your head, your opinion of the character, the connections you can make, etc.) See below for another strategy using metacognition.
THINK OUT LOUD – This is connected to METACOGNITION except as your child reads, after each sentence, ask them to share OUT LOUD what they’re reading and what they’re thinking!
RCRR STRATEGY In this strategy, the child will read a paragraph, cover the paragraph, remember/think about what they read, and retell what they read.
VISUALIZE – focus on one strategy to visualize the story. Some students have an easy time doing this, but some don’t. If a child can’t visualize, you can practice with pictures and have them try to create the image they are looking at in their head.
Start with an easy story that is very visual, and stop after every couple of sentences and ask if they can visualize what is happening in the story. These are easy books that are written with such detail and explanation, that make these easy books to practice visualization:
SKIM – the story before reading the first sentence of a few paragraphs.
PRIOR KNOWLEDGE – Find out a little about the book and talk about ANYTHING that they can add to the understanding of the reading. If you know about a country that is in the story, if you’ve read the same author before, if you know about an animal discussed in the story, etc.
MAKE CONNECTIONS – When children can make a connection with the story or the nonfiction reading, then they’re more likely to remember it.
If a child is reading a story about a child who lost a pet, whose parents got divorced, who couldn’t get the pet they always wanted, etc, and they’ve had the same experience or someone they know has had the experience, they’re most apt to remember the story because they have a connection to it.
EASY READING COMPREHENSION STRATEGIES
CLOSE READING – It’s similar to other strategies, but it’s basically when you take a small passage (or song, diagram, etc.) and analyze it to death, make notes about it. This is a great article on it.
If it’s a copy of a passage, then the child can underline, highlight, make notes, etc., or if it’s an actual book or magazine they can just write everything down on paper, Post-it notes, etc.
They can write things down like questions, the information they don’t understand, predictions, something that they were surprised about, etc.
STOP AND THINK – don’t plow ahead if you are confused about something. Stop after each paragraph to check on the progress of the understanding.
MORE EASY READING COMPREHENSION STRATEGIES
KWL – have your child either write down the responses or just discuss them. The KWL is a strategy widely used throughout school systems. It is a way to become engaged in reading which is SO important when it comes to a child understanding what they’re reading. You set up a piece of paper or Post-it Notes and then follow the information below:
K– WHAT DO YOU KNOW? – Before reading your child thinks about everything they know about the reading, it can be any connections, true information, etc.
W – WHAT DO YOU WANT TO LEARN? Then your child thinks about and discusses what they want to know about the reading.
L – WHAT DID YOU LEARN? And when the reading is completed, your child says what they actually learned from the reading.
READ-COVER-RETELL – have your child read a page or two, cover the page/pages, and they retell what they read.
Even More Reading Comprehension Strategies
FOLDED PAPER – fold a paper in 3 parts, and ask your child to draw a picture of an event in one of the thirds, to write down a question that they have after their reading in another third, and have them write down an interesting word in another third (or change around what they’ll respond to in the thirds)
When they are done, they can turn the paper over, cut it into a square and try some Origami.
HIGHLIGHT (if it’s your book) highlight the story events, or the character’s names, or the parts of the story (characters, setting, problem, etc.) You can also use different color highlighters for different questions you ask.
RETELL THE STORY – either ask or have your child write down what the story/reading is about.
STICKY NOTE STRATEGY – have your child write their questions, comments, predictions, etc. before, during, and after their reading.
More Tips to Help with Reading Comprehension
SPECIFIC COLOR-CODED STICKY NOTES – depending on what strategies you select, you should pick a color for each strategy. For example:
- If a child had a question about the reading, they’d use a blue sticky note to write down the question on every page as they read.
- If the child had a prediction, they’d use a red Post-it note to write down the prediction
- Or if your child had a comment, they’d use a green Post-it note.
And use a different color if your child just wants to write down random information-character names, the sequence of the story, etc.
MATCH A LEARNING STYLE – kids can really excel if you focus on their learning style. This learning style quiz has just a few questions and it determines which learning style fits your child. That means that your child could be better at LISTENING (auditory), LOOKING (visual), or DOING (physical). There are actually more than these three learning styles, but you can use the results of the quiz to plan an activity for quick comprehension practice.
Whatever the task, you can sometimes connect it to a learning style. For example, a visual learner style child will most likely enjoy drawing pictures that go along with a story, an auditory learner will more likely enjoy making reading responses into a recorder or creating a rap song and a kinesthetic learner will more likely throw a ball in a basket as they give you a response to a question about reading material.
MEMORY TECHNIQUES -if your child remembers the story for a short time and then forgets it, try some of these memory techniques from my previous post, How to Boost Your Child’s Memory.
GRAPHIC ORGANIZERS – Graphic organizers are a visual way to organize information that has been read. This helps your child stay engaged with their reading, and understand and remember what they read.
READ AND ASK QUESTIONS (AND REREAD) – if a child asks herself questions before, during, and after her reading, she is going to understand what is being read. Reading everything and anything while keeping engaged with the reading is a huge way to build comprehension skills. Have your child read books, magazines, ebooks, appropriate websites or WHATEVER THEY WILL READ! Having your child stay engaged with the text they read by asking questions before, during, and after reading is very important in strengthening reading comprehension. These are some examples of questions:
What do you think will happen next?.
How would you explain what you visualize?
What has happened so far in the reading?
How would you explain the connections you have to this text?
Why would the author create that character?
Why did that character do that?p
How do you think the story will end?
More Tips to Improve Your Child’s Reading Comprehension
RECORDED BOOKS – Looking at a book and reading along with the recorded book on tape is a great way to help reading comprehension. It also helps with other reading skills, vocabulary, fluency, etc.! This book on tape of Diary of a Wimpy Kid is just one of the many available. And this is the actual book that goes with that book on tape. Your child should listen and read along as the words are being read from the CD.
I’ve also added a website that has pictures of classroom anchor charts that reflect more reading comprehension strategies. When using tips to improve your child’s reading comprehension, you can sometimes have your child verbally give you answers instead of writing the responses down. Sometimes a child does not want their parent to act like a teacher so try different tips and find what works – I know that adding an incentive usually helped me with my daughter. For example, if she could finish a task then we would go get ice cream, or go for a walk, etc.
In schools, the most used reading tests are for comprehension and passage tests. In the reading comprehension tests, your child must be able to:
- Compare and analyze information from different sources.
- Know the difference between fact and opinion in the passage.
- Use a variety of strategies for organizing and categorizing information.
- Determine what information is important or not important. The author’s purpose (why did the author write the piece – (explain, inform, entertain, etc.)
Some Previous Blogs
In addition to more ideas on tips to improve your child’s reading comprehension, these are just some of my previous blogs and web pages that will give you tons of advice on reading:
- How to Help Your Struggling Reader at Home
- How to Boost Your Child’s Memory
- Online Learning Help for Parents
- Reading Motivation Activities
- Help for a Child with ADHD at School
- Do you Know the 4 Signs that your Child is Struggling in School?
- 3 Reasons Why Your Child Won’t Read
- Educational Gifts that Promote Learning
- How to Help a Reluctant Reader
- 25 Ideas for Reading Skills Practice at Home!
- How to Help Your Child Get Ready to Read
- Is Your Child a Reluctant Reader?
- Motivate your Child to Read More – a Reading Challenge!
- Super Fun Ideas For Reading Practice
- Memory Techniques to Help Your Child Remember Information
- 6 Reasons Why Your Child Won´t Read
- How to Get Your Child to Read – Second and Third Grade
- How to Get Your Child to Read – Fourth and Fifth Grade
There are many easy reading comprehension strategies to help your child at home. As you can tell, some of the strategies are very connected and are just have different names. Schools use various strategies from year to year.
Let me know if I can help you locate any specific materials. Leave a comment or question below or email me at email@example.com and I will respond quickly. I am also available for tutoring and Zoom calls. I’d love to hear from you!