Reading is one of the most important skills a child can learn at a young age. It’s fundamental in all subjects such as maths, science and geography!
Helping your child with reading and comprehension can be a difficult task because there are so many different analytical factors that come into play. Not only are they trying to grasp how to read and pronounce different words, their little minds are also trying to analyse and comprehend what each word means. They then assess the word to format it correctly into a sentence. Because of it’s complexity, reading and comprehension is often neglected resulting in children falling behind within these areas.
So how do I help my child catch up in their reading skills?
- Foster a love for reading from a young age within the child. This will be beneficial for years to come as the passion for reading would ultimately enhance their skills over time.
Well I can’t force them to love books. How will I ‘force’ my child to have a passion for reading?
- Provide that role model figure. Sit down with your child and spend time reading to them. Reading yourself in front of them would also encourage them to do the same.
- Provide a variety of reading materials until they find something that they like. Most of the time children are not refusing to read, it’s just that the content that they have isn’t interesting to them.
- Create a designated reading time such as just before bed, where the child begins to look forward to that time. This can be for a meagre 15 minutes.
How can I help my child develop their comprehension skills?
- Comprehension and reading are closely related and often go hand in hand. To be able to comprehend you must be able to read.
One of the most effective techniques to help your child excel in comprehension would be to ask a series of questions based on the reading the child performs to encourage thinking about what the text was saying. Talk about what they read, which provides a time of “verbal processing” for the child. Ask the questions before, during and after the reading session to encourage comprehension.
For example ask:
- Before reading: What do you think this book will be about
- During reading: What’s going on in the book? What will happen next?
- After reading: What has happened in the book that you like? How would you like it to end?
Encourage your child to re-read the text. This aims to build fluency and to provide more processing time on what is happening within the book. This would be very useful for children trying to catch up in reading and comprehension as rereading would allow them to decode words they have seen before and hence allow them to become fluent when they see similar words in other books.