It’s never too late to utilize reading comprehension techniques to increase knowledge, memory, and connections, whether you’re a high school or primary school teacher. Since every learner is unique, adapt your teaching strategies!
The following are some of the best reading comprehension techniques:
- Improve on prior understanding
Lack of context is one of the main obstacles to reading comprehension. For instance, if you’re reading astronomy literature, have the kids write down or explain what they already know about the solar system. Ask students a few quick questions or have them complete a KWL chart, then discuss the answers to gain simple insights. Or examine works of both fiction and nonfiction that share or overlap topics. For instance, a nonfiction book on pigs or a children’s novel with pigs as the main characters. To explore what is fact vs fiction, teachers can use the information from the nonfiction book as a reference. Before reading the material, ensure all pupils are familiar with the work’s core concepts and vocabulary (literally). This lets students infer from the material and relate it to information they already have, leveling the playing field in terms of past knowledge.
- Recognize and summarise key concepts
After students have read it, summarising a material might help them extract important themes and absorb more information.
As you introduce a summary, assist students through the process with leading questions and a specific framework — length, main points, etc. To demonstrate effective summarising strategies, use the “I do, we do, you do” style. Teach students how to:
- Distinguish facts from views.
- Find significant concepts among the extraneous data.
- Recognize critical words and phrases
- Look up unfamiliar vocabulary.
Teaching students how to do this consciously helps train their brains to start summarising automatically, resulting in better reading comprehension.
- Make use of visual aids
Visual aids and visualization strategies help pupils form mental images of their reading. Begin by reading aloud and encouraging pupils to imagine what is happening in their thoughts. After that, utilize writing prompts such as:
- Which colors did you notice the most?
- What did you imagine the environment to be like?
- What words would you use to characterize the main character?
- What noises do you imagine hearing in the story’s world?
For a deeper understanding, have pupils create a scene, character, or tale. They may build a character family tree or entertaining notes to help them remember the essential parts of the novel!
Anchor charts, word boards, and picture books can also assist your kids in remembering important topics. They are more likely to recall essential information when envisioning the story or material they are reading.
- Develop vocabulary skills
Vocabulary is essential for understanding a book and reading with comfort and fluency. Vocabulary teaching tactics can assist pupils in developing the skills necessary to grasp new terms independently.
Try the following to help students learn and retain new words:
- Creating a classroom word wall
- Using new words in conjunction with physical acts
- Making graphic organizers help students connect known words to new ones
Read-aloud tactics can also help you mimic the process of teaching pupils new vocabulary. Show them how to interpret context cues and have them create a vocabulary list of all the new terms they know or wish to learn.
- Use thinking methods
To encourage pupils to think critically about a text, provide questions such as:
- Where they can detect bias in the content
- Why did the author select a specific genre or style?
- What people believe occurred before or after the tale
- Why did the characters react the way they did?
These prompt students to consider a book’s underlying meaning and encourage them to utilize critical thinking skills as they search for central themes. Encourage students to ask clarifying questions when they don’t understand the book or create mind maps to link ideas and past knowledge.
- Create situations with questions and answers
Questioning pupils on various text elements allows them to evaluate them with fresh eyes and discover new ways to perceive them.
Use questions that require students to think to obtain the answers:
- Several times throughout the passage
- On their own, utilizing prior knowledge.
- In their thoughts and answers to the work, ask students clarifying questions to help them comprehend characters better, make predictions, or appreciate the author’s aim.
Whether you answer these questions in a group or individually, they will encourage kids to ask questions and use critical thinking abilities. After all, the magic comes when pupils begin thinking outside the box!
- Promote mutual instruction
Reciprocal education provides students with four tools for reading comprehension and employs particular approaches to engage them in text interrogation.
Follow the four basic steps of reciprocal teaching using the “I do, we do, you do” method:
Predicting — Inquiring about what will happen in the tale and after it is completed.
Questioning – Inquiring about a story’s who, what, when, where, how, and why.
Clarifying – Assisting pupils in recognizing their bewilderment, identifying what perplexes them, and taking steps toward comprehension.
Summarizing – Condensing a reading to its most significant facts and concepts.
- Use summarising approaches
Although it may appear laborious at first, summarising approaches assist students in learning how to locate and combine significant concepts. It teaches students of all levels how to synthesize information as they read automatically.
When students first see a text, have them create a summary and encourage them to modify it until the relevant information is included. Ask clarifying questions to help direct their work, such as:
- What is the passage’s central point?
- What specifics in the tale support the primary idea?
- What extraneous information did the author include?
This helps children understand how different story elements are related and underlines the significance of providing textual evidence for their arguments and summaries.
- Instruct students to make predictions.
Predictions occur when students guess based on evidence from the opening of a text:
- What happens next?
- What did they believe the content would be about?
- What specifics will an author use to support their case?
At the start of a reading, have students write down their predictions. Following the reading, discuss what they got right and wrong. What prompted them to make this prediction? Did the author meet or exceed their expectations?
Use a think-aloud to model predictions, or offer students blank phrases to encourage their thinking.
This improves reading comprehension, encourages students to connect with the content critically, and teaches them how to construct solid and text-based arguments.
- Try drawing conclusions
When students create inferences, they use what they know to estimate what they don’t know. Instead of just guessing what will happen next, students draw inferences from facts outside the tale, such as what happened before the story began, the genre of the story, or what occurs after the story ends.
Inferences, like predictions, can be modeled via read-aloud or directed questioning. Students should create a prelude to the plot or a character backstory based on textual information.
Inferences assist students in drawing inferences from the text and their prior understanding of the world’s workings. It can also help them be more creative!