How to Help a Child With Reading Comprehension Problems

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Reading is the gateway to learning.

As soon as you learn this life skill, you get to open new doors to an infinite collection of knowledge, wisdom, and experiences.

For this reason, parents want their kids to learn how to read as soon as possible.

The thing is, reading is more than just recognizing letters, memorizing their sounds, and putting those sounds together.

With it comes comprehension, which is understanding what you have just read.

What if your child has trouble grasping what the words are trying to convey?

To learn how to help a child with reading comprehension problems, there are a couple of things you can do, including checking out reading programs like Children Learning Reading.

What Is Reading Comprehension?

Before anything else, let’s begin by understanding what reading comprehension really is.

As mentioned, it is the skill you use to determine the meaning of a text.

It is made up of three complex stages happening before, during, and after the reading action.

As someone who has been reading for a while, it can be challenging to recognize the thin line that separates these stages.

However, the same cannot be said for a child learning how to read for the first time.

The first stage is recognizing the letter shapes and the understanding of each one’s phonemes (or each individual sound).

The next step is determining the right phonic rules to use.

This pertains to the relationship between the sounds of each letter, how to put them together, and the possible words that can be constructed using these combinations.

Once you have correctly determined the word, you can then move on to see the relation of this word with the other words in the sentence.

Lastly, check if you got the right answer in the previous step, and if required, say the sentence aloud.

What Are the Two Elements of Reading Comprehension?

You also need to be aware of the two main elements of reading comprehension—vocabulary knowledge and text comprehension.

In a nutshell, vocabulary knowledge is a person’s word bank he or she develops through time and experience.

The reader should also be able to recognize the context upon which the word is being used.

The word “bark” is a good example. It could refer to the covering of a tree, or it could mean the sound that a dog makes.

Finding out the correct meaning will heavily rely on the surrounding words in the sentence or paragraph.

This code-cracking is the second element of reading comprehension, which is called text comprehension.

How Do You Build Reading Comprehension?

There are different reading comprehension techniques that teachers and parents practice to help a child develop his reading skills.

Like any other skill, the traditional (and most ideal) way to do it is through practice and experience.

You can do this by simply exposing the child to different reading materials and subject matter.

In doing this, make sure the effort is consistent, even beyond his or her elementary years.

After all, reading comprehension goes beyond the skill of reading.

It is not like riding a bike where you only need to learn once, and you’re good for life.

Rather, it is a never-ending process that even us adults could (and should) continually improve.

how to help a child with reading comprehension problems tips

Why Is Reading Comprehension Important?

It is essential to develop reading comprehension because it is what makes reading worthwhile.

Without it, the act of reading can be likened to looking at Egyptian hieroglyphics as an average person.

You will still be fascinated by the image of the characters, and your brain might find a recurring pattern.

However, in the end, they will mean nothing to you but an aesthetically pleasing collection of lines and shapes—nothing more, nothing less.

Reading comprehension is the magical element that provides meaning to the act of reading itself.

It is also important you understand your reading material during specific events, like signing a contract or finding out the dosage of a prescription.

Does Your Child Have Reading Comprehension Problems?

The good thing is, reading comprehension can gradually develop over time, even with minimal intervention, and especially if one is an avid reader.

The biggest hindrance is when the child has a reading comprehension issue.

Different signs show if a child is having problems with comprehension. Here are some of the most common symptoms:

1. A Lack of Interest in Reading

One of the tell-tale signs that a child has trouble understanding what he is reading is when he lacks interest in the material.

A child can get intrigued by books through their images, but it won’t be enough to keep his attention for long.

2. Difficulty in Following Simple Written Directions

Children with comprehension issues will also find it difficult to answer questions with written directions.

It will be most noticeable when answering assisted worksheets.

You might find that he actually knows the answer but keeps giving the wrong ones because he doesn’t understand the written directions.

3. Difficulty in Pronouncing Words

Comprehension issues can also come from poor word recognition. This is especially true for kids who haven’t really established their reading fundamentals yet.

Fortunately, this symptom is easy to determine.

Simply let your child read aloud and pay attention to how he pronounces each word.  An incorrect pronunciation is a good sign that a child doesn’t know what that word means.

The problem with this is the fact that a single word can make or break the idea of a sentence.

4. Poor Penmanship

Poor penmanship is not just a sign of weak or lazy hands. It can be a symptom of a much serious issue.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke names dysgraphia, a disorder characterized by distorted or incorrect writing, as a sign of other learning disabilities.

And, yes, it could impact reading comprehension, too.

5. Inability to Retain Information From the Reading Materials

You might have noticed your child having difficulty remembering statements or stories he has just read.

While it might also point to memory problems, it is still more likely to be an issue in comprehension rather than the prior.

Please take note that these are not the only signs you’ll notice from a person with reading comprehension troubles.

These are simply the ones that are easier to catch. Not to mention, reading comprehension issues can also be inherited.

tips on how to help a child with reading comprehension problems

How to Help a Child With Reading Comprehension Problems

Fortunately, there are ways to learn how to help a child with reading comprehension problems.

It is never too late for a child, or even an adult, to improve his reading comprehension.

Start by trying out the solutions we listed down below. For easy reference, we will be dividing these tips into two categories.

The first one will pertain to the methods you can do to help anyone improve his reading and comprehension.

The second subtopic will feature the steps that are more focused on parents.

How Do You Overcome Reading Comprehension Difficulties?

Are you wondering how can I improve my child’s reading comprehension?

First, you would have to acknowledge the issue and find out what could be causing it.

Once that’s done, you can go ahead and take the matter head on.

Here are the general points on how to overcome reading comprehension difficulties:

1. Don’t just focus on written text.

It is normal for people to believe that reading comprehension is an issue isolated to just decoding written text, but it’s really not.

It is, in fact, more than that and is actually a bigger language awareness issue.

One efficient way on how to overcome reading comprehension difficulties is by exercising other language-related activities, such as talking and listening.

The more words a child learns, even through spoken communication, the better his reading comprehension will be.

2. Practice reciprocal teaching.

One of the best ways to gauge if someone has already learned something is to ask him to repeat/teach it. This method is known as reciprocal teaching.

It is an instructional practice where a student assumes the role of the teacher for a specific duration.

You can certainly use it for different subject areas.

As for reading comprehension, you can assign a child with a book to read and then ask him to teach other students what it is about.

Don’t think this can only be done in a classroom setting. Parents can always play the role of the “other students” anytime.

3. Teach comprehension skills.

Lastly, comprehension, especially when used in complete stories, can be further broken down into analytical subskills.

These are sequencing, plot recognition, inferencing, and drawing conclusions.

How Can I Improve My Child’s Reading Comprehension?

While you can always practice the tips we just shared, some require methods that only teachers are confident doing.

To help with that, here are simple, actionable steps any parent can do at home:

1. Practice read-alouds.

Practicing the reciprocal teaching technique works, but not everyone has the patience to do it.

If that’s the case, you can practice read-aloud sessions at the very least.

Not only will it help your child gain more confidence when reading, but it will also allow you to identify any key issues that wouldn’t have been apparent otherwise.

For instance, it could be easy for a child to develop a habit of skipping words or lines.

That can be difficult to catch if you don’t read together with your child.

2. Improve vocabulary through reading sessions.

These read-alouds will build your child’s vocabulary, as well.

Encourage your child to ask you to define any word he doesn’t understand as he reads.

Digital readers will find that eBook applications with a built-in dictionary are extra helpful.

3. Leverage visualization techniques.

Got no idea how to do this? Here’s another quick exercise.

Ask your child to put down the book first and visualize what he has just read. Let him describe it, and encourage him to provide details.

Doing this can help relate words to thoughts and form a habit of thinking about what words mean while reading.

4. Find books your child is genuinely interested in.

Choose your reading materials wisely.

It’s great to have a selection of different topics, but make sure its reading level matches that of your child’s.

Be on the lookout for books about his favorite subjects, as well.

It will help your child pay closer attention and actually make an effort to decode what the words are trying to say.

5. Seek professional help.

Finally, there are times when you simply need help.

After all, some learning or developmental issues can lead to poor comprehension.

There is no shame in getting your child diagnosed by a professional.

This is especially true if it will give him a chance to overcome his issues and reach his full potential.

Children Learning Reading

children learning reading

There are various ways to help a child overcome reading comprehension problems.

Another great option is to sign up for a specialized reading program instead.

Programs like Children Learning Reading give you access to premium teaching materials with detailed instructions on the most strategic methods.

This particular program uses a pragmatic yet highly efficient approach to reading that promises to make your child a reader within 10 to 12 weeks.

Sounds like magic? No. It’s actually just science.

The primary secret is that it focuses on building phonemic awareness instead of the traditional sight-word approach.

In this way, your child will learn how to read through a deeper understanding of the relationship of sounds and character combinations instead of memorizing hundreds of word shapes at a time.

Impressively enough, this program can accommodate readers of any age, from one-year-old onwards.

How to Help a Child With Reading Comprehension Problems

Reading is indeed one of the most important life skills a person can learn, but it is practically useless without comprehension.

The problem is, comprehension is a reading aspect that doesn’t always develop naturally.

There are a lot of factors that can hinder this complex process, including genetics.

To improve your child’s reading comprehension, the first step is to recognize the issue.

Watch out for signs during the reading sessions and incorporate tried-and-tested reading methods and teaching techniques for intervention.

Developing a better language awareness and using reciprocal teaching methods are just two of the most efficient ways to do this.

Finally, you can also sign your child up for a reading program, such as Children Learning Reading, or seek professional help.

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