Comprehension: A Key Component to Successful Reading
Reading is one of the most important keys needed to unlock learning for your child. Many children just learn to read by themselves. For others, the reading process does not come easily. These children need to be purposefully taught
the strategic activities and decision-making processes that good readers naturally use on their own.
Over the next month, Sandra Vroon and Susan Harrell will share strategies they’ve learned through their experience as parents, teachers and home educators to help children become successful readers. We will be sharing excerpts of
their new book Best Practices for Teaching Reading at Home with hopes that you can apply their suggestions to help your own son or daughter.
Let’s begin with a story.
Katie was an excited early reader. She enjoyed listening to stories and her emerging ability to read them herself. Many good teaching lessons were put into her decoding, fluency, expression and accuracy. Katie sounded very good when she read a story. She often had difficulty, however, predicting what might happen next in the story, as well as remembering the order of events. This made retelling a story difficult for her.
Katie struggled with comprehension – the understanding of what is read. Comprehension is the heart and soul of reading. It is not the product of reading, but the process of reading. Comprehension strategies enable a reader to make connections and make sense of the text. This meaning is a strong support in maintaining fluency, detecting and correcting errors and solving words while reading.
How do you detect comprehension?
You may notice that your child already has a good sense of stories and what they are about. He knows stories are about getting a message and meaning. Keep building on this with each text your child reads, whether it be fiction or nonfiction. Your child might need extra support in this area if you notice him saying words that make no sense at all in a sentence or story. You might ask your child a question about the story during or after his reading and realize that he missed the main idea that the author intended to convey. You might find that your child has difficulty predicting what might happen next in the story, showing that he hasn’t fully understood what has happened so far and where that is leading to.
If this is the case, stay tuned for strategies to help your son or daughter comprehend what they’re reading.
Sandra Vroon has served as a general education teacher, Reading Recovery teacher, adjunct reading and literacy professor and most recently, a home educator. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Calvin College.
Susan Harrel has spent the last 30 years in a variety of educational settings including a one-room mission school in Uganda, a K-12 school for LD students, multiple elementary grades, a Reading Recovery room, private tutoring of home school students and more. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from Calvin College.