- Reading Comprehension
Good readers are actively engaged as they read, busily comprehending what the words mean and how that meaning relates to them. They draw on their knowledge of vocabulary and language structure, their understanding of the concept of the text and what they want to learn, and their experience and world knowledge. Purposeful reading is a complex process that does not happen automatically when a child first begins to read words; rather, it is a skill that is learned gradually so that as a child grows, comprehension comes easily and naturally. Quick and easy comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading. That is why All About Reading starts teaching listening comprehension—a precursor to reading comprehension—in our Pre-reading program. We help the child build a storehouse of knowledge—knowledge of places, events, emotions, vocabulary, and language structure. The child will later draw upon this information when he is reading independently.
Comprehension is the purpose of reading. Good readers can understand what they read, remember it, and share it with others. Once your child starts to read, our series uses six different strategies to help him identify and resolve comprehension issues:
- Graphic organizers: Graphic organizers visually illustrate concepts and how they are related to other concepts within the same text. This strategy is especially helpful when a child is reading informational text, such as that found in science, social studies, or history lessons.
- Answering questions: Our lessons have you asking questions of your student to determine if he understands what he is reading, which helps you monitor and guide your child’s learning progress. Answering questions also helps your child by stressing that there is a purpose to reading, focusing his attention on what he is reading, showing him that he must think about what he is reading, encouraging him to monitor his comprehension, and teaching him how to look back in the text and search for answers.
- Asking questions: We also teach your child to ask his own questions. In doing so, he becomes aware of whether he can answer the questions, and if he really understood what he has read. Asking questions further hones the child’s skill of actively processing and comprehending text.
- Recognizing story structure: By looking at story structure, your child will learn to identify the various parts of a story and how they are organized into a plot. This skill develops greater appreciation, understanding, and memory of stories.
- Summarizing: With our program, your child will learn to determine what is important in what he is reading and how to condense that information and put it into his own words. Summarizing is a valuable skill your child will use not just in his school years as he studies various subjects, but throughout his whole life.
- Gaining background knowledge: Our program also provides your child with background knowledge, a very important component of reading comprehension because it provides context for what is being read. For example, if a child is about to read a story set in India, we will locate India on a globe or map and talk about the culture. Putting a reading passage in context is one of the most important ways to support your child’s reading comprehension—but it is also the most overlooked strategy. There is added value in providing background knowledge, too, for it teaches your child the benefit of digging deeper for greater understanding.
Besides the reading comprehension strategies outlined here, our program also teaches vocabulary and fluency skills and provides solid phonics instruction. This totally integrated approach to teaching reading, in addition to our simple step-by-step multisensory lessons, ensures that your child will not only learn to read with our All About Reading program, but that he will learn to read well—a skill that will bring significant value to his life.