6 Strategies to Improve Reading Comprehension

As your child begins their reading journey, it’s important to make sure you’re supporting their development beyond phonics so they can become an accomplished reader.

It is key that your child finds meaning in the words they’re reading and doesn’t just decode them which is why developing reading comprehension skills is incredibly important for early readers. As school-aged children get older, it will help them understand textbooks, newspapers, and other more complex texts.

We offer plenty of appropriate comprehension practice resources that can help your child practice, but in addition, here are six tips to sharpen reading comprehension skills in your early reader.

Our Top 6 Strategies

1. Encourage Your Child to Read Aloud

Reading aloud encourages children to go slower, which gives them more time to process what they read and in turn improves reading comprehension. Plus, they’re not only seeing the words — they’re hearing them, too! You can also take turns reading aloud.

2. Provide Books at the Right Level

Make sure your child gets lots of practice reading books that aren’t too hard. They should be able to recognise at least 90 percent of the words without any help. If they’re stopping too often to figure out a word, this will make it tough for them to focus on the overall meaning of the story.

If your child needs help transitioning from picture books to chapter books, try these early reader chapter books, which are designed to bridge that gap for growing readers.

3. Reread to Build Fluency

To gain meaning from text and encourage reading comprehension, your child needs to read quickly and smoothly — a skill known as fluency. The Standards and Testing Agency 2018 says that by the end of KS1 ‘approximately 90 words per minute is a good indicator of when children start to read with sufficient fluency to focus on their understanding’. Rereading familiar, simple books gives your child practice at decoding words quickly, so they’ll become more fluent in their reading comprehension.

4. Go Back to the Basics

If your child is struggling with reading comprehension, they may need more help with building their vocabulary or practicing phonics skills. Our Scholastic Phonics Book Bag Readers Starter Packs are perfect because they’re easy-to-use and designed to help you support your child’s phonic knowledge and early reading skills at home.

With over 100 fiction and non-fiction readers in the range, each one has been carefully crafted to build the skills and confidence children need to help them become fluent and lifelong readers.

5. Supplement Their Class Reading

If your child’s class is studying a particular theme, look for easy-to-read books or magazines on the topic. Some prior knowledge will help them make their way through tougher classroom texts and promote reading comprehension.

6. Talk About What They’re Reading

This “verbal processing” helps them remember and think through the themes of the book. Ask questions before, during, and after a session to encourage reading comprehension. For example:

  • Before: “What are you interested in about this book? What doesn’t interest you?”
  • During: “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: “Can you summarise the book? What did you like about it? What other books does it remind you of?”

Workbooks for Reading Comprehension

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Phonics Book Bag Readers

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