Tips to Improve Reading Comprehension Skills

When students have poor reading comprehension skills, it can start to have a huge impact on their performance in many subjects. Often, they start to feel frustrated and experience low self-confidence, which not only makes them enjoy reading less and less but can also have a negative effect on their grades and overall academic success. However, difficulty with reading and comprehension is something that can be improved with regular practice. By learning to read effectively, students can start to easily grasp the concepts being discussed in texts, improve their performance at school, gain confidence with their comprehension abilities and start to enjoy reading again! Here’s some easy tips to help improve your child’s reading comprehension skills.

Find Books They Like

Sometimes poor reading comprehension comes down to kids not being interested in what they’re reading. In fact, 73% of students say they would read more if they could find books they liked. To make sure your child gets lots of practice reading, it’s important to help them find some books they’ll actually enjoy reading. Remember, providing the right kind of books is key, so try and encourage your children to choose books that aren’t too hard. As a rough guide kids should recognise 90% of the words without any help.

Top tip: Pay a visit to your local library to inspire your kids with a huge selection of fiction and non-fiction books, magazines and newspapers.

Read Aloud

Hearing words out loud helps many kids gain a better understanding of what they’re reading compared to when they’re reading in their head. This is because it forces them to read slower, meaning they have more time to process what they’re reading, which can help improve reading comprehension skills. Encourage your child to read aloud if they’re struggling to understand something or are having difficulty with a certain part of a book.

Re-read Sections That Are Confusing

Getting your children to revisit sections of text they’re finding confusing can help them gain a better picture of what they’re learning. Glancing backwards and re-reading text also means they can refresh their memory, as well as give them a second chance to spot helpful context reminders which will help them understand and interpret what they’re reading.

Top Tip: Re-reading familiar, simple books gives your children practice at understanding words quickly, which should eventually help them become more fluent in reading comprehension.

Write Down Words They Don’t Know

As your child works through the reading material, it’s a great idea for them to write down any words they’re not familiar with. Encourage them to look these words up in a dictionary and write out the definition so they can learn what they mean.

Top Tip: When your kids have written out the definitions of the words they don’t know, it’s great practice for them to find ways to use them in a sentence. This way they start to understand the meaning and how to use it in context.

Discuss What Your Child Has Just Read

A great way to help improve your child’s comprehension skills is to discuss what they’ve just read together. Ask them to recap and summarise the main points, as well as tell you what they have learnt. Doing this will give them lots of practice in understanding as well as remembering the text, and will also give them the chance to interpret it aloud in their own way. This is often known as ‘verbal processing.’

Top Tip: Coming up with a set of questions to go through in a short debrief after a reading session is a great idea to practice regularly. We guarantee after a few weeks your child will be sure to notice a huge improvement with their reading comprehension skills.

  • Before ask ‘What are you interested in about this book? What doesn’t interest you?’
  • During ask ‘What’s going on in the book? Is it turning out the way you thought it would? What do you think will happen next?’
  • After ask ‘Can you summarise the book? What did you like about it? What other books does it remind you of?’

If children continue to struggle with reading comprehension, a private tutor might be a good idea.

Get A Private Tutor

Reading comprehension skills are crucial for academic success. If your child still needs an extra boost or are just struggling in general, then hiring a tutor is a great idea. A tutor will take the time to help your kids improve their reading comprehension skills and boost their confidence all in their own time and at their own pace. For more information about the programmes Tutor Doctor offer, click here.