How to Help Kids With Reading Comprehension

Practice, practice, practice is one way to help your child's reading comprehension improve.

When a child brings home bad grades for reading comprehension, it is frustrating for the parent, but even more so for the child. Of course, parents and teachers want to help kids that struggle with reading comprehension. Fortunately, there are several ways to help children comprehend and retain what they read at least long enough to take a quiz or to discuss it. You just have to find the technique that works for the particular child.

Listen to the child read aloud. Determine whether he can actually read the words on the page or if that is where he is having a hard time. Review the rules of reading to make sure he has a good grasp on that to help in his reading comprehension.

Use repetition in your teaching. Start with one word or special sound, if using phonics, and have the child read a story that repeats that word or special sound throughout. Move on to another word or special sound once the child masters the first.

Choose books that will interest the child or let him choose books himself, as many students get bored with the reading and their minds wander during reading, causing them to not comprehend anything.

Encourage the student to read more as sometimes comprehension is just a matter of practiced skill. Teach them to look at the sentences as a whole and not concentrate so hard on the letter-by-letter sounds, just to read the correct words.

Read aloud with your student. Read somewhat slowly and follow along with your finger so the child can see and hear the word at the same time. Using two senses will help increase his reading comprehension.

Make flash cards of sight words or words that he consistently gets wrong. Review these words often so that when he sees them in a book, he will immediately know the word.

Stay away from timed reading in the classroom where the student has a limited amount of time to read the story and answer questions as this causes stress, which can decrease comprehension. Allow the student as much time as he needs. Reading faster will come with time.

  • If you have tried all of the above steps and your child is still having difficulty, you may want to consider getting him tested for a reading disability, such as dyslexia. Once you know what the problem is, you can work to help the student read and comprehend better. Sometimes comprehension is just a matter of time. Some students are "late bloomers." While your student may not have good comprehension today, it may suddenly click with him tomorrow.