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Turramurra Public School

Turramurra Public School

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Learning & Support

Ways to help your child with reading comprehension

Generate Questions

A good strategy to teach your child is to pause and generate questions as a passage is read. These questions can either be about what has just happened or what they think might happen in the future. Doing this can help your child focus on the main ideas and increase engagement with the material. 

After reading, your child can go back and write questions that could be included in a quiz or test on the material. This will require them to look at the information in a different manner. By asking questions in this way, misconceptions can be corrected. This method also provides immediate feedback.

Read Aloud and Monitor

By reading aloud parents can model good reading behaviour. Reading aloud to your child should also include stops to check for understanding. Parents can demonstrate their own think-aloud or interactive elements and focus intentionally on the meaning within the text and beyond the text. These interactive elements can promote deeper thought around a big idea. Discussions after reading aloud can support conversations that help your child make critical connections.

Promote Cooperative Talk

Having your child stop periodically and talk in order to discuss what has just been read can reveal any issues with understanding. Listening to your child can help reinforce they have understood what they have read. This is a useful strategy that can be used after a read aloud (above) and is a powerful instructional tool.

Attention to Text Structure

An excellent strategy that soon becomes second nature is to have your child read through all the headings and subheadings in a factual text. They can also look at the pictures and any graphs or charts. This information can help them gain an overview of what they will be learning as they read the text.

The same attention to text structure can be applied in reading literary works that use a story structure. Your child can use the elements in a story's structure (setting, character, plot, etc) as a means of helping them recall story content.

Take Notes or Annotate Texts

Your child should read with paper and pen in hand. They can then take notes of things they predict or understand and write down questions. They can then create a vocabulary list of all the highlighted words in the chapter along with any unfamiliar terms that they need to define. Taking notes is also helpful in preparing your child for later discussions.

Annotations in a text, writing in the margins or highlighting, is another powerful way to record understanding.

Using sticky notes can allow students to record information from a text without damaging the text. Sticky notes can also be removed and organized later for responses to a text.

Use Context Clues

Your child can use the hints that an author provides in a text. Encourage looking at context clues by reading word or phrase directly before or after a word they may not know.

Context clues may be in the form of:

  • Roots and affixes: origin of the word;
  • Contrast: recognizing how word is compared or contrasted with another word in the sentence;
  • Logic: considering the rest of the sentence to understand an unknown word;
  • Definition: using a provided explanation that follows the word; 
  • Example or Illustration: literal or visual representation of the word;
  • Grammar: determining how the word functions in a sentence to better understand its meaning.

Use Graphic Organizers

Using graphic organizers like webs and concept maps can greatly enhance reading comprehension. These will allow your child to identify areas of focus and main ideas in a text. Filling in this information can lead to a deeper understanding of the author's meaning.

Use PQ4R

This consists of four steps: Preview, Question, Read, Reflect, Recite and Review.

Preview means to scan the material to get an overview. Question involves asking themselves questions as they read.

The four R's have your child read the material, reflect on what has just been read, recite the major points and then return to the material and see if questions previously asked can be answered.

Summarising

As they read, your child should be encouraged to periodically stop their reading and summarize what they have just read. In creating a summary, they have to integrate the most important ideas and generalize from the text information. They need to distill the important ideas from the unimportant or irrelevant elements. This practice of integrating and generalizing in the creation of summaries make long passages more understandable. 

Monitor Understanding

Some children prefer to annotate, while others are more comfortable summarizing, but all children must learn how to be aware of how they read. They need to know how fluently and accurate they are reading a text, but they also need to know how they can determine their own understanding of the materials.