Posts tagged ‘reading comprehension’

A Parent’s Guide to Boosting Your Child’s Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is essential to success in school and in life. You play a major role in helping your kids retain the information they read. There are basic and more advanced strategies that any parent can use to assist their children in this area.

Basic Steps to Strengthen Comprehension

  1. Make it fun. Your child may already feel uneasy if reading is an area of weakness. Project a calm and happy attitude and even try to turn reading into a game.

  2. Practice. Practice. Practice. Encourage your children to take advantage of every opportunity to test their reading skills. In addition to books, they can read street signs and cereal boxes.

  3. Select materials that match the reading level of your child. People retain material best when they can read at least 90% of the words. Otherwise, they’ll get distracted by asking questions or trying to figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words.

  4. Choose subjects your kids love. It’s easier to get your kids to read if you keep their passions in mind. Browse your local library for new books about dinosaurs, fairy princesses, or any other area of interest.

  5. Create a summary. Ask your child to recap what was just read. If they struggle, prompt them gently by dropping some clues. When they get it right, praise them for doing a great job.

  6. Take time off. Small children and even some adults have limited attention spans. Alternate between reading and other activities such as baking cookies or taking a walk.

  7. Break long texts down into smaller segments. Approach a large textbook a few pages or one chapter at a time. You can gradually increase the length of reading assignments as your child progresses.

  8. Find a comfortable reading spot. Designate a special area for reading. It could be the corner of the living room couch or while sitting at the dining room table.

  9. Discuss the reading material. Encourage conversation about whatever you and your child are reading. Question one another and share your impressions.

  10. Supplement reading with other activities. Generate more enthusiasm by combining reading with other special activities. This will give your children something to look forward to. If you’re reading a book about the American Civil War, you could plan a family outing to a local museum or even Gettysburg.

  11. Read aloud to each other. Take turns reading aloud to each other. Kids learn faster when they hear and see words at the same time.

  12. Go back and re-read. Let your kids know that a smart student goes back and re-reads sections that they find difficult. Tell them that even adults do this.

Advanced Steps to Strengthen Comprehension

  1. Scan the text before reading. Give a complicated textbook the once-over before you plunge in. Suggest that your kids focus on the chapter titles, section headings, and any words in bold or italics.

  2. Take notes. Purchase a memo pad and sticky notes so your children can jot down thoughts and questions as they read. This is called active reading. Older kids may be more comfortable taking notes using their eBook reader.

  3. Experiment with inferences. Explain what inferences are and how to use them. Making an inference is when you draw conclusions based on clues in the text and your own experiences.

  4. Spot flag words. Talk with your kids about how flag words help you to understand a text by establishing word relationships. Give examples such as analogies, cause and effect connections, or comparing and contrasting.

  5. Map the story. Some readers have a more visual learning style. These kids may benefit from drawing squares or circles and filling them in with elements of the story such as characters, plot, and theme.

With skillful guidance, even children who are reluctant to read can discover the joys of reading for pleasure. As a parent, you’re the best role model and instructor for helping your kids to build reading comprehension skills and love of literature for a lifetime.





Fatso Runs Away from Home: An easy reading adventure following a cat’s adventure

Written by Garth and Mo Reason

Illustrated by Harriet Kim Anh Rodis

Fatso Runs Away From Home: An easy reading journey following a cat's adventure (Fatso The Cat) by [Garth and Mo Reason]

Fatso is a spoiled cat. For many years he has lived a comfortable life in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Reason.

One day a visitor to the home brings a dog named Maria to the home. Fatso wants to become friends but Maria is bossy and unwilling to share. So Fatso ventures out into the outside world he has never seen.

At first, Fatso sees his outing as an adventure. He meets a neighborhood cat, Sebastian. When Fatso gets lost, he becomes frightened until he meets up with Fluffy and her family.

Will Fatso survive in the outside world? Does he ever find his way back home?

This picture book uses a cat world view to teach children how to have courage, resilience, and empathy. The author includes activities to encourage young readers to think about what happened in the story and enhance reading comprehension skills.

I would suggest this book as a picture book for younger children or a beginning reading for older elementary school readers.

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Mind Mapping for Kids: How Elementary Students Can Use Mind Maps to Improve Reading Comprehension and Critical Thinking

Written by Toni Krasnic


Cautionary Note; This book is not intended to be read and forgotten; be prepared to spend time putting it to the test! Krasnic’s goal is to engage elementary students to use mind maps to connect the dots not just collect them. Once that task is accomplished, students can see and use the big picture to ask meaningful questions allowing them to become better readers and learners. The author’s purpose is to provide a guide for teachers and parents to help young students use mind maps to improve their reading comprehension and critical thinking.

Krasnic divides the book into three parts. Part One explains the fundamental principles of visual mapping both in mind mapping and concept mapping. In the second part, the Concise Reading Method (CRM) is fully explained. This technique marries the eight reading strategies to mind maps. These strategies will sound familiar. They include Summarizing, Applying Previous Knowledge, Visualizing, Evaluating, Synthesizing Information and then asking Critical Questions. Teachers and parents working with the common core curriculum will recognize many of these. Part Three contains enrichment activities with additional examples, templates, and tips for students, parents and teachers on how to use these techniques.

The author speaks to each of the target audiences. Teachers are encouraged to experiment and teach children to use their unique abilities and interests to create many kinds of maps Students are urged to believe in themselves by taking control of their learning and assuming personal responsibility for their education. Parents of very young children must allow their children to choose what and how to learn by facilitating their natural curiosity. Once a child becomes school-aged, a parent needs to partner with the school and display the child’s work throughout the home.

The materials in this book are comprehensive but well organized and easy to follow. Readers are encouraged to ask questions and seek additional assistance. The drawings and illustrations make the concepts easy to understand. I urge parents, teachers and students to spend some time looking them over. Time and energy invested now might last a lifetime.

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