We all want our children to reach their potential, and exams can be an important part of helping them get there. When it comes to English comprehension sections in tests, though, even the brightest pupils may feel a little anxious. When under pressure, it can be tough to nail the right answers in such a short time period.
But it doesn’t have to feel that way! Encouraging success for children, we have five amazing tips ready-to-go, so they can excel at tackling whatever challenges they may face when answering English comprehension questions.
1. View The Questions First
Introducing an important preparatory step for primary school students before diving into their comprehension passages: read the questions first! This simple habit provides valuable insight into what to expect from the passage and helps young readers stay focused. With this technique, children can use each question as a signpost while reading – actively searching for answers related to characters or specific actions mentioned in subsequent paragraphs. For example, if they’re asked about why a character reacted in a particular way, your child can actively look out for information relevant to this question while they read the comprehension passage. Try this out with a few exercises at home, and see for yourself how engaged they are paragraph after paragraph.
2. Read The Passage Multiple Times
To unlock the power of comprehension, it’s essential that your child reads a passage multiple times. Reading is like exercising — it takes practice and repetition to strengthen understanding. Help nurture their skills by guiding them through three readings: the first offers an overall sense of the passage; then they hunt for the main ideas and key details on the second read, and finally, on the third, they can fine-tune any misunderstandings while focusing on relevant facts needed to answer the comprehension questions. Isn’t this strategy impactful?
3. Make Notes While Reading
Taking notes while reading can be a fantastic way to improve your child’s English comprehension skills. Encourage your little one to jot down in the margins or on a separate sheet of paper all important details, interesting ideas and questions that come to mind as they read. This will not only help them keep track of the information but also encourage active engagement with the text and build critical thinking skills. For example, a child can make notes about the date, location and key players involved when reading a comprehension passage about a historical event.
We suggest using a different colour or symbol for each type of note to make the practice more fun and memorable. For example, they could draw stars to highlight interesting facts, exclamation marks to note questions they have or arrows to show relationships between ideas. Practising this daily will make it muscle memory, training them in time for the examination.
4. Grow Their Word Garden
Help your child grow their vocabulary by encouraging reading and discovering new words. Reading books and articles at their reading level, looking up unknown words, and using new words in conversations are all fantastic ways to expand their word garden.
Make vocabulary expansion a fun activity by encouraging your child to add new words to their personal list and practise using them in context. This will not only improve their English comprehension but also equip them with the tools they need for success in exams and beyond.
5. Sharpen Their English Comprehension Skills with MindChamps Enrichment Classes
Take your child’s English comprehension skills to the next level with MindChamps Enrichment classes! These lessons are designed to help primary school students understand and interpret comprehension passages more effectively by teaching them key strategies and skills. These are based on our research-backed pedagogy, designed for more active and insightful learning.
Our experienced coaches will guide your child through a fun and engaging curriculum that includes reading comprehension, vocabulary expansion and critical thinking exercises. With small class sizes, your child will receive individual attention and support as they develop their English comprehension skills. This makes them incredibly useful if you’re looking for PSLE English tuition for your child.
Sign them up for our MindChamps Enrichment English classes today; book a centre visit to learn more about our classes in person.