Reading is Fundamental But You Must Understand It First
We’ve all heard the term “reading is fundamental.” It is an essential tool we need for our development and ability to be successful to the best of our ability. For many though, reading is not fun. A lot of children struggle to understand what they are reading if they can read at all. Those same struggling children can become struggling adults if we aren’t careful.
In light of the most recent trial of the Atlanta School Teachers who are being threatened with jail time for a cheating scandal to benefit children in their area, we also know how much pressure is on for schools to make sure we don’t leave children behind. Parents play a major role in their children’s education and we can’t let busy schedules make us forget that. As you age, reading comprehension is a little tougher but for kids when done right they can often be just like a sponge absorbing everything along the way. Retaining what they read is important in helping them advance. As many school districts are going to various curriculums that send many parents to pause, it’s important to get kids up to speed in those primary years so they aren’t left behind. I do recommend, however, if your child is struggling that you get them tested for any learning challenges like dyslexia or others. Not being able to perform at the same level as other kids can be tough but when there is a real learning disorder it can be harder and children’s self-esteem can suffer. The earlier we tackle these issues, the better off they are in the long run.
Here are some basic tips to help making your child’s reading comprehension stronger than ever:
- Have a good time. When kids are under pressure it is hard to help them get better at anything. If they already know they aren’t the strongest reader, you don’t want to add to that. Don’t make this a time of discipline, make it light and fun and try creative techniques like games.
- Read, Repeat, Read, Repeat. As with any skill we get better when we do it more often over time. Use everything as a teachable moment for your child. From reading names on billboards to using closed caption on your television or reading who the mail is for, these steps can help.
- Watch the bar you set. When kids can understand the words they are reading they tend to do much better. Studies say that people have their best retention of material when they can read at least 90% of the words. Imagine being expected to understand something as an adult for a quiz when you don’t even understand the words. Make sure you are choosing the appropriate reading level for YOUR child not for their age.
- Find their passion. Kids will get enough material as they age in school that is not their go to thing. When trying to increase comprehension on your own, make sure to find things that they like to read. Scour everything from free kindle books to your local library. Find out what their favorite age appropriate celebrities are reading and that may help too.
- Bring the beat back Sam. It’s always a good job to have your child paraphrase what they read after they read it. This helps you see how well their comprehension skills are and it helps them in practicing to retain material which will be helpful in school for exams.
- Take a chill pill. Everyone’s attention span is different. Younger kids bounce around a little more and you may need to take reading in blocks sot they don’t get bored and you don’t get frustrated. As they age you can do more for longer periods of time.
- Reeeeeelax!. As adults, we can become bored sitting at a desk all day. For kids it can be even worse at times. Find a relaxing space with proper lighting for your reading place for your child. Beanbags stacked up near a window with natural light are great places to call the “reading spot.”
- Use it or lose it. Think about the words in the book your child is reading. See how you can infuse passages from the book into everyday conversation to help them retain it. Have conversations from time to time about what was in a particular book, especially those with humor.
- Act it out. A great way to get kids into something that isn’t quite as fun as other material is to act it out. If they’re reading about the war of 1812, why not dress in traditional garb from that era when they are in their reading spot so they feel like part of the book? It becomes more fun and allows them to let their walls of apprehension down so they digest the works better.
- Tag you’re it. For older children have them take notes and or use post-it type flags to note pages with information they may want to retain for school or have trouble reading and need to go over with you. Post-it has lined post it pads in many colors which can make it cool and you can create boards where you post the notes and whoever is able to remember the information the most wins a cool game like Tag You’re It.
- Create journey map. If your child is a visual learner this is a great exercise. Have them draw a journey board that begins with events of the first chapter of the book and goes to the end as they progress in their reading of the material.
When parents are more involved, kids do better when we exercise interest, patience and care. What we take as important, they tend to take as important. Read to your child and with your child. Take time out to have reading hour with your kids, no matter what their age. As the parent, you are the first teacher and often the best one they will ever have.