Steps for reading comprehension
Strategies for Reading Comprehension :: Read Naturally, Inc.
Comprehension: The Goal of Reading
Comprehension, or extracting meaning from what you read, is the ultimate goal of reading. Experienced readers take this for granted and may not appreciate the reading comprehension skills required. The process of comprehension is both interactive and strategic. Rather than passively reading text, readers must analyze it, internalize it and make it their own.
In order to read with comprehension, developing readers must be able to read with some proficiency and then receive explicit instruction in reading comprehension strategies (Tierney, 1982).
Strategies for reading comprehension in Read Naturally programs
General Strategies for Reading Comprehension
The process of comprehending text begins before children can read, when someone reads a picture book to them. They listen to the words, see the pictures in the book, and may start to associate the words on the page with the words they are hearing and the ideas they represent.
In order to learn comprehension strategies, students need modeling, practice, and feedback. The key comprehension strategies are described below.
Using Prior Knowledge/Previewing
When students preview text, they tap into what they already know that will help them to understand the text they are about to read. This provides a framework for any new information they read.
When students make predictions about the text they are about to read, it sets up expectations based on their prior knowledge about similar topics. As they read, they may mentally revise their prediction as they gain more information.
Identifying the Main Idea and Summarization
Identifying the main idea and summarizing requires that students determine what is important and then put it in their own words. Implicit in this process is trying to understand the author’s purpose in writing the text.
Asking and answering questions about text is another strategy that helps students focus on the meaning of text. Teachers can help by modeling both the process of asking good questions and strategies for finding the answers in the text.
In order to make inferences about something that is not explicitly stated in the text, students must learn to draw on prior knowledge and recognize clues in the text itself.
Studies have shown that students who visualize while reading have better recall than those who do not (Pressley, 1977). Readers can take advantage of illustrations that are embedded in the text or create their own mental images or drawings when reading text without illustrations.
Strategies for Reading Comprehension: Narrative Text
Narrative text tells a story, either a true story or a fictional story. There are a number of strategies that will help students understand narrative text.
Teachers can have students diagram the story grammar of the text to raise their awareness of the elements the author uses to construct the story. Story grammar includes:
- Setting: When and where the story takes place (which can change over the course of the story).
- Characters: The people or animals in the story, including the protagonist (main character), whose motivations and actions drive the story.
- Plot: The story line, which typically includes one or more problems or conflicts that the protagonist must address and ultimately resolve.
- Theme: The overriding lesson or main idea that the author wants readers to glean from the story. It could be explicitly stated as in Aesop’s Fables or inferred by the reader (more common).
Printable story map (blank)
Asking students to retell a story in their own words forces them to analyze the content to determine what is important. Teachers can encourage students to go beyond literally recounting the story to drawing their own conclusions about it.
Teachers can ask readers to make a prediction about a story based on the title and any other clues that are available, such as illustrations. Teachers can later ask students to find text that supports or contradicts their predictions.
Answering Comprehension Questions
Asking students different types of questions requires that they find the answers in different ways, for example, by finding literal answers in the text itself or by drawing on prior knowledge and then inferring answers based on clues in the text.
Strategies for Reading Comprehension: Expository Text
Expository text explains facts and concepts in order to inform, persuade, or explain.
The Structure of Expository Text
Expository text is typically structured with visual cues such as headings and subheadings that provide clear cues as to the structure of the information. The first sentence in a paragraph is also typically a topic sentence that clearly states what the paragraph is about.
Expository text also often uses one of five common text structures as an organizing principle:
- Cause and effect
- Problem and solution
- Compare and contrast
- Time order (sequence of events, actions, or steps)
Teaching these structures can help students recognize relationships between ideas and the overall intent of the text.
A summary briefly captures the main idea of the text and the key details that support the main idea. Students must understand the text in order to write a good summary that is more than a repetition of the text itself.
There are three steps in the K-W-L process (Ogle, 1986):
- What I Know: Before students read the text, ask them as a group to identify what they already know about the topic. Students write this list in the “K” column of their K-W-L forms.
- What I Want to Know: Ask students to write questions about what they want to learn from reading the text in the “W” column of their K-W-L forms. For example, students may wonder if some of the “facts” offered in the “K” column are true.
- What I Learned: As they read the text, students should look for answers to the questions listed in the “W” column and write their answers in the “L” column along with anything else they learn.
After all of the students have read the text, the teacher leads a discussion of the questions and answers.
Printable K-W-L chart (blank)
Graphic organizers provide visual representations of the concepts in expository text. Representing ideas and relationships graphically can help students understand and remember them. Examples of graphic organizers are:
Tree diagrams that represent categories and hierarchies
Tables that compare and contrast data
Time-driven diagrams that represent the order of events
Flowcharts that represent the steps of a process
Teaching students how to develop and construct graphic organizers will require some modeling, guidance, and feedback. Teachers should demonstrate the process with examples first before students practice doing it on their own with teacher guidance and eventually work independently.
Strategies for Reading Comprehension in Read Naturally Programs
Several Read Naturally programs include strategies that support comprehension:
|Read Naturally Intervention Program||Strategies for Reading Comprehension|
|Prediction Step||Retelling Step||Quiz / Comprehension Questions||Graphic Organizers|
Read Naturally Live:
Read Naturally Encore:
Read Naturally GATE:
One Minute Reader Live:
One Minute Reader Books/CDs:
Take Aim at Vocabulary: A print-based program with audio CDs that teaches carefully selected target words and strategies for independently learning unknown words. Students work mostly independently or in teacher-led small groups of up to six students.
Honig, B. , L. Diamond, and L. Gutlohn. (2013). Teaching reading sourcebook, 2nd ed. Novato, CA: Arena Press.
Ogle, D. M. (1986). K-W-L: A teaching model that develops active reading of expository text. The Reading Teacher 38(6), pp. 564–570.
Pressley, M. (1977). Imagery and children’s learning: Putting the picture in developmental perspective. Review of Educational Research 47, pp. 586–622.
Tierney, R. J. (1982). Essential considerations for developing basic reading comprehension skills. School Psychology Review 11(3), pp. 299–305.
Teaching Comprehension Using the 5 Step Reading Process
If I were to ask you (or your students, for that matter) what the five steps of the writing process are, I’m pretty sure they would be able to tell me: brainstorm, draft, revise, edit, publish.
But I’m wondering if they can also tell me the five steps of the reading process?
If you think about it, the writing process is a process that we teach our students as early as kindergarten, and they follow the same writing routine all the way through to their college years… and even beyond. Most adults who engage in any form of writing will use this tried and true writing process.
We have a process for writing because it gives students a step-by-step framework that will help them become successful writers.
This has me thinking…why don’t we have a process to help students become successful readers?
When students are given a step-by-step reading process to follow they are more likely to experience success. A process gives them a starting point and a roadmap to follow when they get stuck.
In my mind, it only makes sense that we give our students a clearly defined process for reading as well.
The good news is that there IS a reading process! You just might not be aware of it or explicitly teaching it to your students. But after you read this blog post you’ll be all set to teach your students the five steps to the reading process.
The Reading ProcessStep 1: Preview the Text
The first thing we want to train our students to do is to preview the text BEFORE they start reading. When they take time to preview the text it warms up their brains and gets them thinking about what they will experience while they are reading… We want our students to know that no matter what type of text they are reading, they should take a few minutes to do the following:
- Notice the title (what is this text about? what might I learn in this text?)
- Study the cover and the illustrations (what clues might the author be giving me? what might I expect or anticipate to happen?)
- Look for illustrations or text-features in the text (can I start thinking about this topic or this story in a way that will help me understand it better?
- Is there a description written on the back of the book or an excerpt written at the top of the article? (are there any clues the author is leaving me that will help me understand the text on a deeper level?)
Why is this step important?
When we take time to preview the text, it gives us time to notice small details, make connections, and in general warm up our brain to get the most out of our reading experience. Previewing the text gives you the information you need to make an informed prediction, which helps your brain get ready to read the text. AND this is usually a step that all students can be successful with and we want them to feel confident when they sit down and start reading.Step 2: Access Background Knowledge
Accessing background knowledge is simply thinking about any previous knowledge or experience that we can connect the text to. We want our students to access ALL of their background knowledge before they begin reading because it will help lay the foundation for this reading experience. If students have SOME background knowledge they can apply to a reading experience, they will be a lot more likely to understand and enjoy what they are reading.
Now, a lot of times we think of background knowledge as just the facts or details we know about specific topic, but really, background knowledge can be so much more than that!
When your students are thinking about their background knowledge, prompt them with the following questions:
- What do I know about this topic?
- What do you know about this genre?
- What do you know about this author?
- What do I know about this series?
- What do I know about this character?
- What do I know about the title?
Thinking about all of these things will help students tap into everything they know that will help them with their reading experience.
Why is this step important?
Our background knowledge is the foundation upon which we build reading upon. If our students have absolutely no background knowledge that they can connect a reading experience to, they will probably be disengaged, and won’t comprehend what they read. If we want our students to become life-long readers, they need to know how to access ALL parts of their background knowledge in order to enjoy what they read.Step 3: Read and Think
This is the bulk of the reading process. Students should spend most of the time reading, but we also need to make sure that students know that reading is thinking, and both should be happening simultaneously. It’s not uncommon for students to read… and then forget everything they read. This is why it’s important that they understand reading and thinking go hand in hand. It can be helpful to give students an idea of the type of thinking they should be doing while reading. I typically encourage my students to do the following while they are reading:
- Ask Questions
- Apply Strategies
- Analyze Text Clues
Obviously, there is A LOT that happens during the reading and think portion of the reading process, but when you break it up into these three categories, it gives students the freedom and choice to self-select the strategies that will help them be successful readers.
Why is this step important?
This step is arguably the most important. This is the equivalent to the drafting part of the writing process… This is where a lot of the heavy lifting is done, but if students are just reading the text (even if they are applying comprehension skills), they still won’t have a complete reading experience. So, we want to emphasize the metacognitive part of this step as much as we do the reading!Step 4: Respond to Reading
Anytime students read, we also want them to respond in some capacity. Responding to a text is part of how we personalize and internalize what we read. It’s important for students to realize that responding to our reading can happen in a variety of ways. You can have students respond by:
- Respond by organizing their thoughts in a graphic organizer
- Respond in writing – either in a reading journal, an exit ticket, a summary, or simply using a stop-and-jot sticky note
- Creative Response – let students give a book talk or create a piece of art work that shares their thinking about the text
- Respond by discussing what you read – talking can be just as effective as writing when it comes to responding
Why is this step important?
This step is important because it helps students see that we DO something with what we read. Reading is meant to change us as people. It helps us learn new information, and gives us a different perspective on life. Teaching students to respond now in the classroom gives them a chance to express what a book meant to them.Step 5: Evaluate and Reflect
This can be part of the response process or a separate step. Some prompts for reflecting on reading can be:
- What is my opinion about the book/text?
- Did I enjoy reading about the story/topic?
- Did I fully understand what this text was about?
- Did I like the genre?
- Did I enjoy reading from this author?
- Would I read another book by this same author?
Why is this step important?
When students take time to reflect on and evaluate their reading experience, they begin to really build and create their own reading identity. They start to figure out what books, genres, and authors they enjoy reading. They start to develop strong opinions about topics and themes they read. If students never are given time to pause and think about their reading opinions, their identities as readers will be stunted. Instead, they will only read when it is a task or an assignment. This is not how we build life-long readers!
So, if you are looking for a more formulaic approach to engaging your students in reading, start thinking about your reading instruction as a process! When students make it to the end of the process with one text, they begin again with a new one! Following all 5 steps will further engage your readers, and in turn, help them grow!
Put it into practice…
If the idea of teaching students a 5 step process to understand what they read is interesting to you, then you might want to check out episode #8 of The Stellar Teacher Podcast where I talk more in-depth about this process.
But if you think you are ready to get started with it right away this week (yay! go you!) then be sure to download the free reading process checklist to share with your students. This will remind them of each step and will serve as a guide for their independent reading.
I hope this super easy to follow 5 step reading process helps boost your students’ reading comprehension.
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.
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.
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 attention span, 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!
7 Easy Ways to Improve Your Reading Comprehension • BUOM
By the Indeed Editorial Team
June 9, 2021
This article has been approved by an Indeed Career Consultant.
Comprehension is an important aspect of reading. When you read, try to understand and extract the meaning for a better understanding of what you are reading. By learning and implementing reading strategies and changing the way you read, you can improve your reading comprehension and make reading easier and more enjoyable.
In this article, we look at what reading comprehension is and the best strategies you can use to improve your reading skills.
What is reading comprehension?
Reading comprehension is the ability to comprehend or understand what you are reading. This is the intentional and active part of reading that happens before, during, and after you read something. By being able to understand what you read, you can make sense of the text and better understand what the author is trying to convey.
There are two components of reading comprehension: text comprehension and vocabulary knowledge. Vocabulary knowledge is the ability to understand the language being used, while text comprehension uses that language to develop an understanding of the text's meaning.
Why is reading comprehension important?
Reading comprehension is important for several reasons and can provide many benefits. The ability to read effectively can improve both your personal and professional life and increase your overall reading enjoyment. Knowing how to understand text can help improve your knowledge in certain areas and help you pick up new skills and information more quickly.
Additional benefits of good reading comprehension skills include:
Ability to understand, analyze and respond to documents and written communication in the workplace
Improved your ability to write clearly and effectively
Ability to understand and participate in current events which are presented in written form, for example, in newspapers.
Increased ability to focus on reading for extended periods of time.
Better Reading Enjoyment and Motivation
Related: The Value of Expanding Your Business Vocabulary
7 Reading Strategies You Can Use to Improve Your Comprehension Skills today to improve your reading comprehension skills.The more you practice, the better you will understand what you read. Below are seven simple strategies you can use to work on your comprehension skills:
Improve your vocabulary.
Make up questions about the text you are reading.
Use context clues.
Find the main idea.
Write a summary of what you read.
Break the reading into smaller parts.
Related: The Complete Guide to Strategic Planning
1. Improve your vocabulary
Knowing what the words you read means can improve your ability to understand the meaning of a text. To expand your vocabulary, you can:
Take the online vocabulary test to assess your current level of vocabulary understanding.
Use flashcards to test yourself for words you don't know once or twice a week.
Be sure to use the newly learned words in oral and written communication.
Read as much as you can to improve your ability to guess the meaning of a word in a particular context.
Make a list of unfamiliar words as you read and look them up in a dictionary.
Read more: 10 Easy Ways to Improve Your Vocabulary
2. Make up questions about the text you are reading
By asking questions about what you are reading, you can improve your reading comprehension by allowing you to immerse yourself in the text. It can also expand your overall understanding of what you are reading, allowing you to explore themes, motifs, and other components of the text that you might not otherwise know about. The following are examples of questions you could ask as you read:
Why did the author start the book from this point?
What is the relationship between these two characters?
What do we know about the main character up to this point in the book?
Are there any themes that keep popping up throughout the book? If yes, what do they mean?
The more specific your questions, the more likely you are to understand the text and its meaning.
3. Use context prompts
Using context clues is a great way to understand what you're reading, even if you don't know all the vocabulary involved. Context clues can be found in the words and sentences surrounding a word you are unfamiliar with. To use context clues, you can focus on key phrases or ideas in a sentence and infer the main idea of a sentence or paragraph based on that information. You can also search for nearby words that are synonyms or antonyms for a word you don't know.
4. Look for the main idea
Determining the main idea of a paragraph or article can help you determine the importance of the article. Understanding why what you read is important will help you better understand what the author is trying to convey. When reading, pause every few paragraphs and see if you can decipher the main idea. Then try to state the main idea in your own words for even greater understanding.
5. Write a summary of what you read
A great way to expand your reading knowledge is to write a resume. Summing up requires you to decide what is important in the text and then express it in your own words. Summing up allows you to determine if you really understand what you read and remember what you read better in the long run.
6. Break your reading into smaller parts
If you are reading a longer or more complex text, consider breaking it up into smaller parts. For example, you can read two paragraphs at a time and then pause to quickly summarize what you just read in your mind. Sharing what you read will help you feel less overwhelmed and give you a better chance of really understanding the information in the text.
7. Keep up the pace
Tempoing yourself is also an effective way to work on your reading comprehension skills by allowing you to set realistic goals for your reading practice and habits. This is especially true for books or other literature that you find difficult. Set yourself a goal that you know you can achieve every day. For example, instead of saying that you want to read the entire book in two days, say that you will read three chapters a night. This allows you to achieve your goals and also gives you enough time to process what you read between each session.
Tips for getting the most out of your reading comprehension practice
Reading is a fundamental part of everyday life. The more you include and prioritize reading and comprehension of what you read, the better your overall reading comprehension will become. These tips will help you make the most of your time as you practice your reading skills.
When you are distracted, your ability to understand what you read is impaired. When reading—even if it's just an email—eliminate distractions and focus solely on the text. This will help you learn to pay attention to what you are reading and will let you know if you understand what you are reading.
Read a book below your reading level
Starting with books below your reading level, you will be able to develop and build on a basic level of reading comprehension.