Strong reading comprehension skills are one of the foundations of a successful academic career. According to the Institute of Reading Development, students with strong reading comprehension skills get a big boost in all subjects, including math and science.
Though the benefits of reading comprehension are well documented, many students are struggling in this area of their academics. Officials with the National Center for Education Statistics note that, over the last decade, students have made no progress in reading performance. That likely comes as no surprise to seasoned educators, as data indicates students are reading less outside of school than they have in years past. Data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress indicates the percentage of public school students who said they read 30 minutes or more a day declined by 4 percent between 2017 and 2019, dipping below 50 percent overall in the latter year.
There’s likely a multitude of reasons why students now read less than they used to. Parents concerned about their children’s reading comprehension can try these strategies to bolster this highly valuable skill.
Let kids read what they like
The tutoring professionals at Oxford Learning® report that 73 percent of students indicate they would read more if they found books they liked. Parents can address this issue by taking children to their local libraries and letting them choose which books to check out. The more practice kids get with reading, the more their comprehension skills develop.
Read aloud to children
Various studies have found that reading aloud to children significantly benefits literacy development. One study from the National Association for the Education of Young Children found that listening to others read helps children develop key understanding and skills, including how stories are written. In addition, the Reading Rockets project, which aspires to bring reading research to life in the hopes of helping young children develop into strong, confident readers, notes that children can listen on a higher language level than they can read. That makes complex ideas more accessible.
Ask questions when reading to children
When reading to children, parents can compound the benefits of this activity by asking youngsters questions about the book. Asking what, when, where, why, and how can encourage children to look for answers to these questions while they’re being read to. As students advance and then read more on their own, parents can encourage them to ask these questions of themselves (if they’re not already doing so on their own). Asking and answering these questions is a great way to strengthen reading comprehension skills.
Strong reading comprehension skills can help students reach their academic potential. Parents can employ various strategies to help children bolster those skills.