Reading comprehension help

How to Help Your Child With Reading Comprehension

What helps kids understand what they read? Being an active reader is key. That means focusing on the text, questioning it, and taking mental notes. You can work on these skills with your child at home. Use these seven tips to help improve your child’s reading comprehension.

1. Make connections.

When kids connect what they already know to what they read, it helps them focus. Show your child how to make connections when you read aloud. If a book mentions places you’ve been to with your child, talk about those memories. Then have your child give it a try.

2. Ask questions.

Asking questions encourages kids to look for clues in the text. When you read together, ask questions to spark your child’s curiosity. Ask things like “What do you think will happen?” or “How is that character feeling?”

3. Make “mind movies.”

Visualizing helps bring a story to life. That’s where mind movies come in. When you read with your child, describe what the scene looks like in your head. Talk about how it makes you feel. You can use other senses, too. For example, if the scene takes place outside, what does it smell like?

Then invite your child to make a mind movie, too. Point out how your child’s movie is different from yours. If your child likes to draw or color, encourage your child to make a picture of the scene, too.

4. Look for clues.

When you combine what you already know with clues from a story, you can make guesses or predictions. These are inferences. And making them is a great way to build reading comprehension.

For example, when we read “Kim’s eyes were red and nose was runny,” we can infer that Kim has a cold or allergies. Help your child do this as you read. If a character is wearing gym clothes and sweating, ask your child what the character might have been doing before.

5. Figure out what’s important.

Ask your child: Who are the main characters? What’s the most important thing that has happened in the story so far? What problem are the characters trying to solve? When kids can point out what’s important, they’re more likely to understand what they read.

Your child can also use a tool called a graphic organizer to do this. A “story element” organizer keeps track of the main characters, where the story is taking place, and the problem and solution of the story.

6. Check understanding.

It helps to encourage kids to stop and ask themselves, “Is this making sense?” If your child gets stuck, suggest rereading the part that didn’t make sense. What about it was confusing? Were there specific words that tripped your child up?

7. Try new things.

The more kids know about the world, the more they can get meaning out of what they read. You don’t have to take an expensive trip or go to a museum to do this, though. You can expand kids’ background knowledge and vocabulary in lots of ways.

Shooting hoops or watching a baseball game can help your child connect more with books about sports. Riding the subway might make your child interested in books that take place in big cities.

Even with these tips, some kids still have a hard time understanding what they read. Learn more about how to help your child with reading. And get an expert’s take on why kids may have trouble understanding or remembering what they read.

    My Child Struggles With Reading Comprehension. What Can I Do?

    Knowing how to read and understanding what you read are two very different things. Many children are able to pronounce every word in a passage, but they lack reading comprehension skills, which means they don’t understand what the passage means.

    Strong reading comprehension skills are crucial to your child’s academic and professional success. That’s why if you’ve ever thought, “My child struggles with reading comprehension,” it’s important to know what you can do to help your child improve these vital skills.

    What Are the Signs Of A Reading Comprehension Problem?

    It can be hard to spot the signs of a reading comprehension problem. This is especially true if your child has strong decoding and fluency skills, which means they are able to correctly pronounce words and read quickly.

    Knowing how to spot the signs of a reading comprehension problem is the key to getting your child the help they need to succeed. Here are some of the signs you should look for:

    • Your child is unable to determine the difference between important and minor details of a passage.
    • Your child struggles to connect two different ideas within a passage.
    • Your child cannot summarize what they have read or answer questions about the characters, main events, or other elements of the story.
    • Your child can read a lot of words, but doesn’t understand what they mean.

    If you spot any of these signs, it could indicate that your child is struggling with reading comprehension.

    Why Does My Child Have Trouble With Reading Comprehension?

    There are a number of reasons why a child may struggle to develop strong reading comprehension skills. Some of the most common causes of reading comprehension problems include:

    • Dyslexia: This learning disability makes reading much more difficult, which can impact a child’s ability to understand what they are reading.
    • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): Kids with ADHD find it hard to pay attention, so they may not be able to focus on what they are reading, which can impact their ability to understand it.
    • Lack of interest: If your child is not interested in reading, they may not be motivated to focus on the text.
    • Limited vocabulary: If your child’s vocabulary is limited, they may find it difficult to extract meaning from a text since they won’t be familiar with most of the words.
    • Lack of instruction: Some children struggle with reading comprehension simply because they have not been taught how to develop these skills.

    As a parent, you should try to pinpoint the underlying issue that is causing your child’s reading comprehension problem. This will help you determine the best strategy that can be implemented to improve your child’s reading comprehension skills.

    How Can I Improve My Child’s Reading Comprehension?

    There are countless ways that parents can help improve their child’s reading comprehension skills at home. Try these strategies:

    Ask Questions

    Parents should get in the habit of asking their child questions about the text they are reading. Don’t wait until your child has finished reading a story to ask. You should try to ask them questions before, during, and after they finish reading. Start with these:

    • What do you think this story will be about based on the cover’s illustrations?
    • What do you think will happen next?
    • What caused this event to happen?
    • What was the character feeling when he said or did this?
    • What’s the main character’s name?

    Asking questions like these will keep your child engaged in the story, help them connect ideas, and deepen their understanding of the text.

    Choose the Right Books

    Let your child choose what they want to read. Letting your child choose will give them the opportunity to select a book that they are actually interested in reading. This may improve their ability to focus, which will enhance their reading comprehension skills.

    You should also make sure that you are choosing level-appropriate books. If the text is too difficult for your child, it will be incredibly challenging for them to understand what they are reading.

    Reread Difficult Passages

    If your child doesn’t understand a passage, ask them to reread it with you. Then, use this as an opportunity to teach them how to extract meaning from a difficult passage.

    If they encounter a word they aren’t familiar with, show them how to look it up in the dictionary. Point to context clues in the passage that they can use to figure out what the text means. Help them connect the events of the story to something that has happened in their life.

    Teaching your child these strategies will help them drastically improve their reading comprehension skills.

    What is the Best Reading Comprehension App For Struggling Readers?

    One tool that parents can use to help their children improve their reading comprehension skills is the Readability app. Readability is the only app that is designed with a voice-based questions & answers feature, which allows your child to communicate with the app like they would with a reading tutor.

    The app will ask your child questions about the text and listen as your child responds to confirm that they understood the passage. This innovative feature will keep your child engaged with what they are reading, which can help them develop stronger reading comprehension skills.

    Download the Readability app on your smartphone or tablet to start the free 7-day trial today.

    6 Key Skills for Reading Comprehension

    For some people, reading is like a walk in the park on a warm summer day, an enjoyable activity that is easy to master. In fact, reading is a complex process that involves many different skills. Together, these skills lead to the ultimate goal of learning to read: comprehensive reading comprehension.

    Text comprehension can be difficult for children for many reasons, but regardless of them, knowing what underdeveloped skills this is due to, you will be able to provide your child with the best help.

    Let's take a look at the six reading comprehension skills and how you can help your child develop them.

    1. Decoding

    Decoding is an extremely important step in the reading process. Children use this skill to sound out words they have heard before but not seen written. The ability to decode is the foundation of all other reading skills.

    Decoding relies on one of the first language skills to develop, phonemic comprehension (this skill is part of a broader set of skills called phonological comprehension). Phonemic awareness allows children to hear and distinguish individual sounds in words (also known as phonemes). It also allows them to "play" with sounds in syllables and words.

    Decoding also relies on the ability to match individual sounds and letters. For example, to read the word "sun", the child must know that the letter "s" sounds like "s". Understanding the relationship between letters and sounds is an important step towards "voicing" words.

    How to help: Many children learn phonological awareness naturally by reading books, listening to songs and poems. But for some children it is not so easy. In fact, one of the earliest signs of reading difficulty is trouble with rhyming, counting syllables, or identifying the first sound in a word.

    The best way to help your child improve these skills is to guide them with precise instructions and lots of practice. Children need to be taught how to correctly identify sounds and work with them. You can also develop phonological perception by playing with words, reading poems aloud to your child, or using special computer techniques aimed at developing phonemic perception and decoding.

    2. Reading fluently

    To read fluently, children must recognize words immediately, including words that do not read as they are written. By developing reading fluency, the child increases not only reading speed, but also reading comprehension.

    Decoding and reading each word can be a lot of work. Word recognition is the ability to recognize a word instantly just by looking at it, without having to read it out loud. When children can read quickly and with almost no errors, they are said to be able to read "fluently".

    People who can read fluently read fluently and rhythmically. They use the context to understand the meaning and change the intonation in their voice depending on what they are reading about. The ability to read fluently is critical to a good understanding of the text.

    How to help: Word recognition can be a big hurdle for beginning readers. Usually a person needs to see a word from 4 to 14 times in order to learn to automatically recognize it. But, for example, children diagnosed with dyslexia may need to see the word up to 40 times.

    Many children have difficulty reading fluently. To improve word recognition and other reading skills, children need help and a lot of practice. The best way to strengthen these skills is to practice reading books. It is important to choose books that are appropriate for the child's reading level.

    3. Vocabulary

    To understand what you read, you need to understand at least most of the words in the text. A rich vocabulary is a key component of text comprehension. Students can learn new words during class, but they usually learn the meaning of words through everyday situations and while reading.

    How to help: The more new words children learn, the more their vocabulary grows. You can help your child develop vocabulary by talking to him often about different topics, introducing him to new words and concepts. Word games and funny jokes are also fun ways for children to reinforce these skills.

    Daily reading together also helps to build vocabulary. When reading aloud to your child, stop when you encounter new words and explain their meaning. But it is also important that the child reads independently. Even if there is no one to explain the meaning of a new word, the child can guess its meaning from the context, and also learn with the help of a dictionary.

    Teachers can also help by choosing interesting words to study and learning them all together in class. To practice vocabulary, the teacher can engage students in dialogue during the lesson, or play word games to make learning new words fun.

    4. Sentence construction and cohesion

    Understanding how sentences are built can seem like a skill necessary for writing. The same can be said about the connection of ideas within and between sentences, which is called cohesion. But these skills are also important for reading comprehension.

    Knowing how ideas connect at the sentence level helps children make sense of passages and entire texts. This also leads to what is called coherence, or the ability to relate ideas to other ideas in a common work.

    How to help: Explain the basics of sentence construction to your child. Work with him to connect two or more thoughts, both in writing and orally.

    5. Expanding horizons and reasoning

    read. It is also important to teach the child to “read between the lines” and find meaning where it is not literally written.

    How to help: Your child can broaden their horizons through reading, socializing, watching movies and TV shows, and exploring art. Also many things come with years of personal experience.

    Open up opportunities for your child to gain new useful knowledge in different areas and discuss with him what you have learned from the experience gained, both together and separately. Help your child make connections between new and old knowledge and ask questions that require extended answers and thoughtful explanations.

    You can also read these tips on how to use cartoons to help your child learn to judge for themselves.

    6. Working memory and attention

    These two skills are part of a group of skills also known as executive functions. They are different, but closely related.

    When children read, attention allows them to absorb information from the text. Working memory helps them retain this information and use it to make sense and gain knowledge from what they read.

    The ability to control oneself while reading is also related to executive functions. The child must be able to recognize when he does not understand something, stop, go back and reread, so that there is no doubt about the understanding of what he read.

    How to help: There are many ways to help your child improve working memory, and it doesn't have to look like a lesson. There are many games and daily activities that can help develop working memory in a way that your child won't even notice!

    To improve your child's concentration, look for reading materials that interest and/or motivate your child. For example, some children love graphic novels. Teach your child to stop and reread the text when something is not clear to him. And show him how you “think out loud” when you read to make sure it makes sense.

    More ways to help with text comprehension

    When children have difficulty learning the above skills, they may find it difficult to fully understand what they read.

    Find out what might be causing your child's reading difficulties. Remember, if a child has difficulty reading, it does not mean that he is not smart. But some children need extra support to successfully develop reading skills. The sooner you contact a specialist or start applying a special corrective technique, the less stress and lag in learning and development your child will receive. Pay attention to the computer technique Fast ForWord, aimed at developing the skills of phonemic perception, decoding, memory, concentration and other executive functions.


    • Decoding, reading fluency and vocabulary are key skills needed for reading comprehension.

    • Understanding how ideas connect within and between sentences helps children understand the entire text.

    • Reading aloud and discussing experiences can help a child develop reading skills.

    Quickly and permanently develop reading skills: decoding, reading comprehension, extracting meaning from context, reading fluency, etc., as well as concentration, memory, information processing - classes using the Fast ForWord online method will help you.

    Sign up for trial online classes in Fast ForWord right now!
    Don't delay helping your child!


    How can I improve my ability to understand the text I read?


    Strategies for autistic, parents and teachers to overcome difficulties with reading

    Source: Autism after 16


    Many people can read, but after reading it is difficult for them to remember, about what they read. There may be several reasons for this. It is possible that a person puts so much effort into voicing words (out loud or to himself) that they lose their meaning. In other cases, the topic is so uninteresting that it is difficult to focus on the information in the text. Many children and adults with autism spectrum disorders have severe reading comprehension difficulties, even if they have no problems with reading as such. This can make it very difficult to study at school even for children without intellectual disabilities, especially in high school, when the requirements for reading and understanding large amounts of text increase significantly, and texts become more complex. The following are strategies for improving text comprehension that adults with autism spectrum disorders and parents and educators of children with ASD can use.

    Metacognition - thinking about how we think - is the basis for improving understanding while reading. In other words, to improve text comprehension, we must consciously stop while reading and analyze our opinions, perceptions, and thoughts related to what we have read. For example:

    Before reading

    - Determine the purpose for the upcoming reading. Think in advance about what you should find in the text while reading.

    Look at the title of the text and try to figure out what the text might be about.

    Skim through the entire text without reading carefully, paying attention to headings and subheadings, bold words and illustrations. Think about what this text might be about.

    - Try to remember what you already know about the topic, the author, or this story.

    While reading

    - Reflect on what you have read after each paragraph or chapter.

    Consider whether you agree with ideas, characters, or facts.

    - If you do not understand the meaning of some sentences or paragraphs, write down what you do not understand.

    - Write down unfamiliar words to find out their meaning after reading.

    After reading

    - Think about what you learned while reading.

    — Write your own questions for the author.

    Think about how what you read relates to your own life.

    - Formulate a summary of what you have read.

    - Review your notes and try to find answers to your questions through repeated reading, searching the Internet, or talking to another person.

    Talk about what you read

    Discussing what you read with another person provides another source of information instead of rereading the text. This is especially useful if you don't really enjoy reading. While talking about what you read, you will be able to ask questions that you have, this will allow you to learn more about the point of view of other people and will provide you with the opportunity to put into words what you have read, which will help you remember and understand the text better.

    Practice reading as often as possible

    The best way to improve reading comprehension is to read as much as possible. It doesn't matter what the person is reading. The more you read, the better your comprehension skills will be. Here the “Matthew effect” takes place, when “he who has will be given and will be multiplied, and what he has will be taken away from the one who does not have.” Students who enjoy reading read a lot and often, and their reading skills improve. Those who do not enjoy reading devote little time to it, as a result, their skills lag more and more behind their peers. That is why our first priority is to motivate children to read. If they enjoy reading comics, sports articles, or online magazines, then encourage them to do so as often as possible.

    Take the children to the library as often as possible and let them look at any books they want. Do not try to force on children what you think they should read. We want them to read—as much as possible. And that's it. If they liked a book by a certain author, then find all the books by that author so they can pick something. If the children are interested in a topic, then find them reading material according to their interest.

    Reading Motivation

    The first task for the unmotivated reader is to find reading material that is directly related to what interests him outside of reading. For example, if a child enjoys watching movies, they may enjoy reading movie reviews online or in movie magazines. You may think that this is not a "real" reading, but it is not at all the case. Many people believe that the only way to develop reading skills is with books. In fact, this is not necessary at all, especially in our age of the Internet.

    Also, if children read often about things they are interested in, this will help them become better readers in general, especially if they practice reading comprehension skills in parallel. After the motivation to read begins to form, you can begin to practice reading less interesting materials. That said, if the strategies to improve comprehension have already been practiced on interesting texts, it will be easier to use them while reading on boring topics.

    Strategies to improve reading comprehension

    Start with the strategies that seem most attractive and try them one at a time. Don't try to master every single strategy, sometimes less is more. In other words, it's best to master a few strategies to perfection, rather than practicing all the strategies without exception, which can make it unclear what to use right now. Strategies to improve reading comprehension include:

    - Conversational reading: Ask questions, argue, clarify, summarize, and predict as you read.

    - Stickers: Use stickers to write words you don't understand, or write exclamation marks on them to mark sentences you like and question marks to mark phrases or paragraphs you don't understand.

    - Pair reading: Reading aloud with another person one paragraph at a time. Discuss what you have read with each other after each paragraph.

    - Thinking out loud: As you read aloud in pairs, voice any thoughts, questions, or misunderstandings that come to mind. For example, if a character or event reminded you of something, stop and talk about that personal association. This technique helps to remember what has been read in the future.

    - Re-reading: Read the text again, trying to find answers to the questions that have arisen.

    - Text connections: As you read, determine how this text relates to you, to other texts, and to the world in general. In connection with yourself, you need to think about how the read relates to you personally. In World Links, you can link text to what you already know. Finally, in text links, you can link what you've read to what you've read about before.

    - The Three Bears Principle: When choosing a book from a library or bookstore, think about whether it is too simple or too complex. Too simple means that the reader will easily understand all the words or have already read this book many times. Too complex means that there are more than five unfamiliar words on one page or the meaning of the first page is not clear. If the book is just right, then this is a new book, where the reader may not know some of the words on the page, but in general understands what is at stake.

    - Dividing the text into parts: Read only a few paragraphs or sentences at a time. Think about what you read using reading strategies before continuing.

    - Visualization: While reading, always try to visualize how the characters and the scenes described look like.

    - Blogs: Check if there is any blog or forum on the Internet where this topic or book is discussed online, read what other people think about it and try to write your own opinion.

    - Journaling: As you read, write down your thoughts in a special journal.

    - Graphic organization: Make a chart showing your understanding before, during and after reading.

    Progressive Implementation Model

    If you are a parent or educator, you can use the Progressive Implementation Model to help a student with autism learn strategies for reading comprehension. First, demonstrate to the student how you yourself read using this strategy. Then use this strategy together, under your guidance. Then ask the student to apply this strategy again (in a different situation) on their own.

    Make sure you discuss reading with the student and whether the strategy is helping or not. You may need to model this strategy for the student many times, or practice it many times together until it becomes a natural part of the reading process and the student can apply it completely on his own.

    Availability of books to read

    If reading skills are too low, use books on topics that are interesting to the student, but with very low reading requirements. As a rule, they have a lot of illustrations and little text. It can be children's encyclopedias and reference books. They keep the reader motivated, their topics are age-appropriate, and the reading isn't too difficult.

    You should also pay attention to the following books:

    - Books with many photographs and illustrations, which will greatly facilitate understanding.

    - Books with fairly large letters.

    - Books with a small amount of text on one page so that the amount of text on the page does not cause stress.

    - Books that have titles, subtitles, clear definitions of words in the glossary. These books are the easiest to understand.

    Relationship between reading and writing

    You may be wondering why it is so common to write things down while working on reading comprehension. The reason is that this is another way to better understand and assimilate the material read. For example, if someone finds it difficult to speak verbally about what they have read, then keeping a diary, blogging, or graphing can help analyze what they read and update the information in memory, but without verbal dialogue.

    Closing Thoughts

    The purpose of all reading is to understand the text, so it is hoped that these strategies and ideas will enable you to improve your reading skills or help your child or student reach that goal.

    Learn more