For both parent and child, one of the most confusing and frustrating learning-related issues is reading comprehension problems.
This becomes even more of an issue if the child already recognizes letters and letter sounds but still can’t understand what he’s reading.
These are problems that can literally hinder your child from appreciating how wonderful reading is.
While there are ways to help your child, the first challenge is to determine what causes reading comprehension problems.
In this way, you will also be able to figure out the best solution to take.
Speaking of solutions, we’ll also talk about one of the best reading programs you can access online right now, Children Learning Reading.
- Understanding Reading Comprehension
- What Causes Reading Comprehension Problems?
- What Are the Factors That Affect Reading Comprehension?
- How Do You Fix Comprehension Problems?
- More Tips to Improve Reading Comprehension
- Children Learning Reading
Understanding Reading Comprehension
Before anything else, let’s first make sure you have a good understanding of what reading comprehension is.
In a nutshell, it is the understanding of a text that has just been read.
While it may seem simple enough, especially to experienced readers, it is actually a complicated process that involves various factors and subskills.
For instance, understanding a story involves more than just vocabulary knowledge.
It also requires the ability to sequence events, recognize plots, and decode figurative speech.
Unfortunately, not being able to grasp the concept of any one of them (or more) can already lead to common problems in reading comprehension.
What Causes Reading Comprehension Problems?
Thankfully enough, many of these skills develop naturally and gradually with practice.
Did you know there are reading readiness skills that develop as early as the child’s first week through sound recognition?
After all, reading is a communicative process.
Any form of language comprehension will support reading comprehension (and vice versa).
On the other hand, weak language skills can also cause common problems in reading comprehension.
Then again, it is crucial to keep in mind that each child is unique.
Each child develops at his own pace. Some kids do so faster, while others require a bit more time.
There are also times when a child simply stumbles upon reading comprehension roadblocks.
What Are the Causes of Poor Reading Comprehension?
So, what causes reading comprehension problems and the factors surrounding them?
Here are the most common causes of poor reading comprehension:
The most common reason for poor reading comprehension is just the child’s active refusal to read.
It might be that he simply doesn’t find it as interesting as the other things surrounding him right now.
Thus, he just doesn’t care enough to think about what he is reading. It is a chore that he needs to do because you required him to.
2. Decoding individual words
Another one of the problems with reading comprehension are the lack of reading readiness skills.
Letter recognition, sound recognition, the skill to match them together, and the relationship between these sounds are crucial in learning how to read words.
Keep in mind that there are also English words that don’t follow the standard practice in pronunciation.
This linguistic ecosystem can be challenging to navigate, especially to new readers.
Unfortunately, some words can make or break the meaning of a statement or a story.
Missing those words can prove significantly detrimental to the child’s comprehension of the story.
3. A lack of linguistic understanding
There are also times when the child already knows how to read words, but he simply can’t decode them. This is a sign of a lack of linguistic understanding.
It could be that the child simply hasn’t been exposed to the words required to understand a specific reading material.
You can look into ways on how to increase a child’s vocabulary if this is the case.
4. Poor memory skills
Let’s suppose the child already knows how to read and, when asked what those words mean, provides the correct answers.
So, why can’t he retell a story he had just read using his own words? Why is he having problems with reading comprehension?
One of the reasons is poor memory skills. It can be a lack of attention span or connected to the next cause below.
5. Developmental disabilities and related medical problems
The last cause we will discuss is the possibility that the child has a developmental disability or medical issue.
The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development states some cognitive disorders can severely impact one’s capacity to read and comprehend, such as dyslexia or hyperlexia.
There are also cases when people lose the ability to read after a stroke or brain injury.
By the way, these are not the only causes of poor reading comprehension. There are definitely others out there. These are simply the most common ones.
What Are the Factors That Affect Reading Comprehension?
Let us now move on to the three main factors that can impact reading comprehension problems and solutions:
1. Lack of stimulation and exposure
The first factor is the lack of stimulation and exposure, not just to reading materials but also to language in general.
It is sad to think some children grow up in an environment where they have limited opportunities to socialize and communicate, but it happens.
2.Lack of variety in reading material
Another main factor is the lack of exposure to different reading materials, especially those they will potentially be interested in.
We all have preferences. Children have them, too.
3. The methods of reading instruction
How you teach reading also plays a significant role in reading comprehension problems and solutions.
There are numerous teaching techniques and strategies, but not all of them will necessarily fit your child’s needs.
However, finding the right one can positively encourage your child’s progress.
How Do You Fix Comprehension Problems?
To fix a child’s problem with comprehension, address each of the causes listed earlier.
Here are our tried-and-tested methods to leverage the factors affecting reading comprehension to our advantage:
1. Don’t just focus on reading.
Instead, expose your child to various opportunities to communicate with you and other people.
Always talk to your child. Start conversations on various topics, even those you don’t think your child will understand.
Just make him used to these different sounds, sound combinations, and the process of using words as a way of conveying thoughts and meaning.
2. Go beyond books.
Books will remain the most popular form of reading material, possibly until the end of civilization.
Even so, this doesn’t mean it is the only medium your child should be able to access.
There are other enjoyable forms of reading materials out there. Comic books and eBooks, for instance, are popular with children.
We also encourage you to get them in a variety of topics, focusing on those that your kid will genuinely enjoy.
3. Seek help.
Finally, don’t be afraid to seek and accept help from others.
Whether in the form of reference articles, structured reading programs with teaching manuals, or actual learning specialists, psychologists, and other experts—get them when you need to.
More Tips to Improve Reading Comprehension
Here are other general tips on how to overcome reading comprehension difficulties:
1. Choose the right books.
As mentioned, we recommend getting books on a variety of topics.
The theme is not the only factor you should consider when choosing books.
It would be best to look into the intended reading level or age of your chosen reading material.
In fact, the actual material of the book is essential, as well.
You wouldn’t want to give a hardbound literary classic to a toddler, nor would a grade-schooler enjoy a board book.
2. Make books accessible.
In relation to the previous point, the fragility that paper has is one reason why some parents might be adamant about making books accessible to children.
Especially for avid bookworms, it’s normal to worry that their child wouldn’t treat their books with the same “respect” they do.
However, they are kids.
Accept that making books accessible also means putting them at risk of getting torn, drawn on, and spilled on.
And that’s okay. What’s important is to get your child more used to reading.
3. Leverage technology.
Another alternative is to download a reading app for children.
These apps give access to a library of educational and entertaining books for a wide range of various reading levels and ages and a collection of topics.
They also feature built-in dictionaries and pronunciation guides.
4. Teach your child to use a dictionary and have one at home.
Don’t just rely on mobile applications. Get your child his own dictionary and teach him how to use it.
Encourage him to ask adults the meanings of the new words he encounters, as well.
Children Learning Reading
For us, the best way to improve a child’s reading comprehension is still through a structured reading program, preferably taught by a professional or a parent.
We recommend Children Learning Reading because it uses well-researched techniques that have been proven more effective than what the traditional school system uses.
You also won’t need to worry about not having any previous experience in teaching.
Its methods are straightforward and easy to follow. After all, the program is designed for both teachers and parents alike.
What Causes Reading Comprehension Problems
Without reading comprehension, words, even the most complicated and meaningful ones, will mean nothing.
This is the reason why reading comprehension problems can prove detrimental to one’s learning.
Different reasons cause these issues, and various factors affect a child’s reading comprehension level.
A lack of interest in reading is the most common reason. Still, there are others, such as inadequate reading readiness skills and poor memory skills.
You don’t need to worry about them, though.
There are methods to help you increase a child’s reading comprehension, like the tips we shared earlier.
Alternatively, you can always sign up for a more structured program, such as Children Learning Reading.