Reading and writing are among the most important skills your child needs. Why? Because a strong literacy rate and reading comprehension skills can determine his or her overall academic success.
Even for other academic subjects such as Mathematics and Science, your child needs to have strong reading comprehension to score well in exams.
What is the point of reading if one cannot comprehend the meaning of the text? Reading becomes tedious and futile then.
To develop a confident reader and bolster your child’s reading comprehension skills, try the following strategies.
1. Build their vocabulary to improve reading comprehension
Understanding vocabulary words in context will boost your child’s reading comprehension skills. Learning new words is a life-long experience that should start from a young age. Here are some easy ideas to improve your child’s vocabulary:
- When your child is reading, have him or her flag any unfamiliar words by sticking a Post-It tab on it or writing the word down on a flashcard, then looking it up in the dictionary together.
- Talk about the meaning of the word in the context of the story passage.
- Get creative together by coming up with examples of how the word can be used in your own sentences.
- Do not shy away from using big words with little kids. Encourage the love and delight in having a vast number of words at one’s disposal – a vital attribute of the life-long reader. For instance, when talking about the weather, instead of using cookie-cutter descriptions like sunny, cloudy, rainy, and windy, why not teach your child richer synonyms such as sweltering, foreboding, wringing-wet, and gusty?
- Through joyful stories, rhymes and alliteration, and extensive reading libraries, reading programmes for kids can make the mastery of vocabulary easy and fun.
Further reading: 5 Tips To Prepare Your Child for Reading Comprehension Test
2. Interact with the content and ask questions that prompt higher order thinking
Pause during and after reading to discuss and ask questions to help your child identify themes, and to relate the content to personal experiences. Verbal processing prompts deeper thinking and Narrative Intelligence.
Research shows that good readers tend to use their background knowledge to predict what might happen next in the narrative. When asking your child questions, invite your child to draw from his or her background knowledge as well as specific examples in the book to support his or her answers.
Some sample questions include:
- What is the lesson in this book?
- Why did this character act the way he or she acted?
- What does the character want?
- Can you tell me what the character feels? (E.g. disappointed, scared, sad, excited, etc.). Have you ever felt this way before – when?
- Can you predict what will happen next in the story?
Reading programmes for kids often employ theatrical strategies and story reenactments. Through engaging interactions with the written content, reading comprehension is strengthened.
3. Build fluency by rereading
Most children have a handful of favourite books that they keep coming back to.
While it is important to broaden their reading horizon, there is also an advantage to rereading familiar books: It builds reading fluency.
This allows them to decode words quickly, which in turn enables them to read aloud in a smooth, natural pace with inflexion and feeling – all of which prepare them for better reading comprehension.
4. Expose your child to different forms of writing to enhance reading comprehension
Expose your child to many different forms and genres of writing such as fiction and nonfiction, fairy tales, fables, fact books, chapter books, age-appropriate kids magazines and newspaper articles, and more.
The wider their range of reading materials, the more variety of vocabulary words, tones, themes, and interests they get to explore.
This works to their advantage as they can better adapt to, engage with, and comprehend different forms of written communication.
5. Prepare your child to take on the MOE curriculum through at-home reading support in conjunction with reading programmes for kids
Providing clear phonics instruction is just one part of what reading programmes for kids do. The MindChamps Reading Programme ensures that each child grasps the 8 essential skills of reading:
- Active Understanding
- Narrative Intelligence & Higher Order Thinking Skills
- Phonemic Awareness
- Phonics, Fluency
- Vocabulary-building, and
- Structural Awareness.
As cognitive scientists have revealed, reading is a complex, active process of constructed meaning; developing strong reading comprehension skills has a profound effect on a person’s entire life.
That is why it is imperative to master the aforementioned 8 essential skills – which not only prepare your child for the MOE curriculum and reading comprehension tests, but for reading success in life.
A combination of regular at-home reading practice and a dynamic, effective reading programme for kids allows your child to obtain reading comprehension instruction that is thorough and well-rounded. This helps them develop the skills, experience, and knowledge to become confident and enthusiastic readers.