How to Teach Your Children to Read Faster & Comprehend Better

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When reading is not a struggle, kids are more likely to enjoy it. That can only help improve their grades and--down the road--encourage them to stay in school. Daily practice in reading shouldn't take more than a half hour. Start with children as young as 6 years old who have been introduced to the alphabet. Teach them speed reading first, which improves comprehension by keeping children engaged in the reading process. Once children gain confidence in their ability to read faster, they are more inclined to stay interested, which boosts their ability to understand what they've read.

Set aside time each day to teach your child to read faster. Begin with 15 minutes, and then work up to 30.

Explain to the children of any age that their goal is to learn to read more than one word at a time. Have them practice reading two words at a time. Then you can gradually advance to more. Their progress depends upon their individual ability.

Increase comprehension by teaching children how to remain focused on the material they're reading. Start with a brief, pre-reading session. Have your child read the title to a short story or article and anticipate what the story will be about. Tell him to read the story to see if his prediction was right.

Do one speed reading drill per day. Choose easy material. Then time your child as he reads three paragraphs at once. Use the exact same reading material at the next five drills. Tell your child he's being timed so that he'll try to read faster. Don't move on to new material until he has improved his reading speed by about 25 percent.

Move on to the comprehension practice once your child has made progress with reading faster. Instruct him to ask questions and search for answers as he is reading. For example, if a story opens with an anecdote about a boy who won an essay contest, your child could form several mental questions: What topic did the boy write about? How did he choose that topic? Did he encounter any problems in writing the essay and, if so, how did he overcome them? When children learn to ask and answer questions as they read, they are teaching themselves to read for understanding.

Have the child read short segments at a time. Then he should look away from the reading material and try to summarize what he read in one or two sentences. For example, after reading one or two paragraphs about the boy who won an essay contest, the child might say, "He was a third-grader who spent one week researching his favorite topic, trains, and then wrote an essay about what makes trains so fascinating."

  • It's preferable to start with children under the age of 12.
  • The trick is to start with reading material on subjects your child is interested in and to find books with large print.

Michele Vrouvas has been writing professionally since 2007. In addition to articles for online publications, she is a litigation paralegal and has been a reporter for several local newspapers. A former teacher, Vrouvas also worked as a professional cook for five years. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Caldwell College.