How Parents Can Teach Reading Comprehension
With so many parents being thrown into the role of teacher in the last week, we have been receiving many questions about how to teach certain areas of curriculum. One of those areas is reading comprehension. Let me start by encouraging you to take a deep breath – it doesn’t have to be that hard, and you certainly don’t need to have a degree in teaching to boost your child’s reading comprehension skills. There are several easy ways to work on comprehension that don’t require any special materials or apps.
Here are 5 easy ways to work on comprehension:
- Follow a Recipe – Cooking together is a great way to work on reading comprehension with a real-world application. Reading the recipe is a great way for your child to build comprehension skills. We all know what can happen if you misread a recipe. Taking your time and thinking about each step allows your child to build comprehension and vocabulary skills. Cooking is also a great way to incorporate math skills. The best part about cooking together is eating what you make.
- Play a Game – You can choose a game that requires reading. This is a great way to work on comprehension in a fun way. Some of my favorites are Beat the Parents, Slapzi, and Trivial Pursuit. You could also choose a game that your child is not very familiar with, ask him/her to read the directions and explain how to play. One of the best ways to build comprehension is to read something and then summarize it for someone else.
- 20 Questions – Play a few rounds of 20 questions. One person thinks of a person, place, or thing and the other players get 20 questions to guess the item. This is a great game for working on comprehension, as well as working memory. Your child will have to put all of the information together to formulate a whole picture. Building mental images is an essential part of comprehension. Kids love this game and it can be done anywhere.
- Tell a Story – Build a story round-robin style. Dinner is a great time for this one. One person starts the story and each person around the table adds to the story. Make the story as fun and silly as possible. See how long you can keep the story going. Just like 20 questions, kids need to be able to make mental images and comprehend what others are contributing in order to add to the story in a meaningful way.
- Grab a Book – Choose a book to read together. You can read the story to your child or you can take turns reading. Pause at times to talk about what is happening, make a connection to your own life, or just to share a giggle. Don’t fall into the question trap – just have a conversation. Talk to your child about things you notice or are thinking about. Invite your child to share their thoughts as well. When you finish the story talk about the things you liked/didn’t like about the book. Just sharing a book and talking about it in a casual fun way builds comprehension.
You don’t have to be a teacher to build comprehension skills! Simple everyday activities go a long way in supporting the development of comprehension. Have fun and enjoy the activities you choose.