Comprehension is a word that can fill children with dread! Being tested on an author’s work can sometimes spike up the pressure and make reading for pleasure difficult. However, reading for comprehension is an important skill and one they will need to draw on for their KS2 Sats tests. Once your child has achieved confidence in this area it will be a useful skill even as they progress to secondary school and beyond!
Here’s our top 5 tips for improving reading comprehension:
1. Using social media to summarise
Be aware of what’s required for reading comprehension at your child’s age. For the SATs test, both non-fiction and fiction texts could be used. Try to encourage reading of both types of texts through newspapers, online articles and novels. Summarising news stories to a ‘tweet’ size of 140 characters is a good way to help them pick out the main points from the article.
2. Find the links
Whilst some questions will require a straight forward answer from the text, others need a little more digging to try and work out what is going on between the lines. Try making connections between the themes of the book, and relate this back to similar themes in other books or films. If the story is an filled with adventure perhaps you could discuss a film they’ve watched which might contain a similar type of theme. This helps develop their understanding of the themes, and will encourage them to think laterally about a novel.
3. Questions are key
Skills needed for comprehension such as deduction and inference can be worked on at home. Discuss a book together and ask probing questions to about what your child feels the author is trying to convey. Encourage your child to highlight or underline areas where they feel the author is saying something important about a character. Then piece together all these clues and create a character analysis. Ask questions like: Why do you think the character acted in that way? What do you think they will do next?
4. Finding evidence in the text
Make sure your child uses evidence from the text to back up the answer. They need to be able to pinpoint exactly which part of the text corresponds to their answer and be able to explain why. Read a news article together and ask your child to highlight which part of the article explains the who, what, when , where and how.
5. Try a word a week!
Improve vocabulary which can help build their understanding, particularly with more challenging texts. We love to use a vocabulary word of the week at home which goes up on our fridge! Encourage your child to pick out a word for the week using their thesaurus.