Tips to help kids understand what they read
- Quick tip 1Ask questions.Ask questions.
Have kids pause at the end of each paragraph and ask themselves, “Do I understand what I just read?” If not, re-read the paragraph.
- Quick tip 2Highlight the most important information.Highlight the most important information.
When kids come across key information on a worksheet, tell them to highlight that phrase or sentence.
- Quick tip 3Use a graphic organizer.Use a graphic organizer.
Kids can use a graphic organizer to keep track of main ideas and questions. They can make notes on the organizer as they read or after they read.
- Quick tip 4Take a break.Take a break.
If kids are frustrated, take a brain break. Come back to reading with a clear mind.
The act of reading is complex. Kids need a bunch of skills to both understand and remember what they’ve read. Here are some reasons they might have a hard time with reading comprehension.
Reading speed: Do they read slowly? The longer it takes to get through a sentence or paragraph, the harder it can be to “hold on to” and think about the meaning of what they’ve read.
Vocabulary: Do they understand the meaning of most of the words in the text? Think of each paragraph as a house and each word as a wooden board. It’s hard for the house to feel sturdy if there are big holes in the floors or walls.
Interest: Are they bored by the topic? It’s hard to pay attention if you’re not interested in what you’re reading. When kids are engaged, they may work harder to get meaning from what they read.
Stress and anxiety: Are they stressed out? When kids are worried, it can be harder to concentrate and absorb the material.
Any of the above can affect how well kids understand what they read. But there are ways to work around these challenges.