Has this ever happened to you? You’re reading a fun book along with your child, get to an exciting or pivotal point in the story, and your child asks a question that makes it clear they had NO IDEA what was really happening all along.
It’s easy to overestimate a child’s comprehension of what they have just read- to think that just because they have read the words (or heard the words when you are reading to a younger child) that now they have the content.
So how do you help your children grow in their reading comprehension skills? Or if they are younger, how do you help them develop good listening skills?
10 Ways to Help your Child to Read
Here are some thoughts from our family’s experience:
1. Read lots and lots– So much comprehension skill comes through simple practice.
2. Talk about the story. Share your favorite part of the story, least favorite, and things that puzzled you. Ask your child to share his or her thoughts.
3. Read the same book multiple times. If you find a good book that is just a little above your child’s comprehension level, try reading it once a day, five days in a row. I have been amazed at the difficult books a child can understand with a little repetition.
4. Ask questions. Tell your children at the beginning of the book that you will be doing this. Turn it into a fun challenge. “Let’s see how much you remember!”
6. Try a sequencing activity. Photo copy several of the illustrations in the book, and let your child arrange them in the correct order.
7. Have the child draw a picture of a scene from the book that is not pictured in the illustrations.
8. Act out the story. Act you act, let your child take part in deciding what should come next.
9. Make a sensory tub with props from the story. Let your child play freely with these props to give their mind a chance to work through the concepts in a pressure- free way.
10. Make a file folder puppet theatre out of one of the scenes. Take turns acting out the same scene. Each time, see if the person can add more detail in their retelling than the person who came before them.
None of these ideas require special worksheets or an expensive curriculum. They just require intentionality and time. What other ideas have you used to help boost your child’s reading comprehension at home?