Tag Archives: reading comprehension activities

School Tips

The 3 Key Elements of Great Reading Comprehension

 Reading Comprehension Games

For some children, understanding what you read just sort of “happens.”

There they were busily learning how to read words, and then sentences, and then - BOOM.

Somehow those sentences morphed into paragraphs, chapters, and full-length novels that made a lot of sense.

Unfortunately, what those children somehow magically possess needs to be specifically taught to kids with language delays.

The good news is that you can teach children how to improve their reading comprehension skills, as long as you keep in mind the 3 key elements of great reading comprehension:

1. Start from the Whole to the Parts


Children who have language delays are usually visual learners. That means that they learn better when they have the Big Picture first, and details last. In order to help them get a handle on what they’re reading, they need to have an overview of what they’re reading about.

In a school history text, for example, they should first start out by reading the chapter title. Then they should read through the headings and sub-headings, until they get to the end of the chapter.

2. Connect the New to the Old


In order for your child to understand what they read, they need to activate their brain. The more active their brain is when processing the new material, the better they’ll understand the text, and the more they’ll learn.

Encourage your child to talk about or write down, free-style, what they already know about the subject. After that, they can spend a minute or two thinking about questions they might have about the subject.

This might initially be hard for some students, especially ones that are used to being passive thinkers. You can help them by suggesting they reword each chapter heading or subheading into a question.

If, for example, a chapter is titled, “The Brain – the Ultimate Supercomputer,” they can turn this into: “Is the brain a supercomputer? Why is it a supercomputer?”

Then help them think about the characteristics of a computer, which should lead them to the following questions: “Does our brain have a keyboard or mouse? A hard drive?” It doesn’t matter if some of the questions are nonsensical. The point is to free associate, and help your child get those brain juices flowing.

3. Stop and Visualize


It’s not uncommon for kids with reading problems to read through an entire passage without understanding anything. Instead of stopping to check why a particular word or passage doesn’t make sense (and determine its meaning), they continue to plow along, arriving at the end of the text with very little to show for their efforts.

Instead, teach your child how to use their strong visual skills to build reading comprehension. At the end of each sentence or paragraph, they can draw a picture of what the section meant.

It doesn’t really matter how well they draw. The idea is to help them get in the habit of checking for understanding, while at the same time allowing them to use their strong visual system to help them process what they read.

You see? All those years of doodling in notebooks finally paid off.

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Hands-On Learning Games

How to Improve Your Child’s Reading Comprehension in 5 Minutes

reading comprehension gamesWinter break is coming up, and I’m betting a lot of parents out there are plan on working on reading comprehension activities with your child.

Improving your child’s reading comprehension doesn’t have to be a month long odyssey in Worksheet Hell.

Let me guess: you’ve got your fancy-shmancy workbook, assorted writing supplies (and you know there’s going to be a lot of writing; you may have lied to your kid but WE know better than that, don’t we?), and you’re raring to go.

Well, not exactly. Because when you put away the new workbook, you kind of happened upon the old ones that you really meant to finish someday. But this one will be different, right?


Improve your child’s reading comprehension in 5 minutes – or less

There are other ways of improving your child’s reading comprehension, with nary a workbook in site. Ways that your child will find fun, stress-free, and that don’t sacrifice one little rain forest tree.

And best of all, you can play this reading comprehension game in 5 minutes or less.

The goal: Help your child remember more details while they read

Many children with reading comprehension difficulties have trouble sorting out the chaff from the wheat. They don’t know what things they need to remember, and what things are relatively unimportant. So they end up trying to remember everything, which of course doesn’t work.

In this game, you’ll use a fun song to help your child focus on the part they need to remember.

How to play:

  1. Choose a song. If you don’t know the words, you can find them by doing a search for “lyrics for…” online. Choose a song both you and your child enjoy- no point in torturing either of you.
  2. It should also be a song with a refrain, but with more than two or three lines. Some examples: Yellow Submarine, and Don’t Worry Be Happy, are some examples of simpler ones that are fun and easy to use.
  3. Listen to the song a few times with your child. You don’t have to sit and concentrate on it, think-tank style. Just have it playing in the background while you go about your day.
  4. Once your child has heard the song about 2-3 times, you’re ready for the next step: the Challenge. In it, you or your child sing one line of the song, but leave out the last word. For example, in the Don’t Worry Be Happy song, you sing “Here is a little song I -  ,” your child needs to fill in, “wrote.”
  5. Continue your way working through the song until you finish it.

Bonus Points:

You can play this like a game show and give bonus points for top performance. For example, challenge your child to remember the key words at the end, without singing each line. So she would say “wrote-note” for the first couplet of the song. The more she knows, the more points she gets.

You can have them trade in points for a special night out with mom and dad, a toy they’ve been wanting to get (and you planned on getting them anyway – why not let them work for it?), or whatever else you want.

And that’s it. Play this game daily and in just a few days you’ll see a marked improvement in your child’s ability to remember details. And remember, the more your child plays reading comprehension games, the better they’ll get when they hit the books.

Free workbook optin


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