Factors that lead to good comprehension skills:
We've had our share of lively debates in the field of reading, but not on this particular topic: background knowledge.
There is a virtual consensus that background knowledge is essential for reading comprehension. Put simply, the more you
know about a topic, the easier it is to read a text, understand it, and retain the information. Previous studies
(Alexander, Kulikowich, & Schulze, 1994; Shapiro, 2004) have shown that background knowledge plays an enormous role
in reading comprehension (Hirsch, 2003).
9 Steps to Comprehension
Source: Carolyn Evans, Grand Rapids Public Schools
- When you read with your child, ask them questions as they move through the book: Why did Mr. Smith do that? How do you think Suzy feels?
- Help your child make text-to-self connections. Ask them how they feel about a situation in the book or what they would do if they were the character in the book.
- Help them make text-to-text connections. Ask them: What other stories have you read that talk about going on a trip?
- Make sure they are reading at their level. A book that is too hard frustrates a child. A book that's too easy doesn't challenge him.
- Set aside at least 20 minutes to read every day.
- Help your child find books that they enjoy. This keeps them motivated.
- Make reading more important than TV.
- Model reading yourself. Children need to see parents read for fun.
- Encourage writing. Have children write about what they have read or keep a daily journal.