How to Improve Your Child's Reading Comprehension
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How to Improve Your Child’s Reading Comprehension

How to improve your child’s reading comprehension: Here are some simple ideas on how to help your child get more out of the book they are reading.



How to improve your child’s reading comprehension 1:

Be aware of their own reading

Talk to your child about what is happening in the book they are reading.  Guide them to be aware about what they can understand and what they can’t yet understand.  Work with them to find ways to help them understand it.

This could be as simple as rereading each sentence clearly once they have sounded out each word.

Once you have some strategies that work build them into their reading so that they can use them independently to boost their own understanding.

How to improve your child’s reading comprehension 2:

Use the pictures

This can be a great way of addressing misunderstandings in reading.  You can do this with the pictures already in a book or you or your child can draw your own.

Draw a picture of what is happening and discuss it.  You could do a single picture or map out the whole story with small sketches.  For small sequences you could use a story board.  This is particularly useful for events in a story that are not already included in the pictures.

Visualising in this way will add depth to your discussion and give your child something to support their understanding.



How to improve your child’s reading comprehension 3:

Act out the story

Acting out a part of the story can work in a similar way to drawing pictures. It can allow you to revisit a part of a story and assist understanding or address misconceptions.

How to improve your child’s reading comprehension 4:

Ask them questions

Answering questions about what they have read is crucial to developing understanding.


Ask questions about the book itself and the information found in it:

What was Naomi’s favourite food?

Why didn’t John go to the party?


Ask questions about the choices the author made:

Why do you think the author used a question here?


Ask questions that get them to read between the lines:

What caused Joe to say that?


Ask questions that get them to think about their own experiences:

Have you ever been to a fair like the one in the story?  What was the same and what was different?


This is a very basic dip into the types of questions you can use.  If this is an area that you would like to expand further or just find some more question examples there are lots of great resources available on the internet. I haven’t included a link because there are so many different approaches you can find the best one for you.



How to improve your child’s reading comprehension 5:

Get them to ask questions

Creating a question about what they are reading is a great way to build understanding.  They could ask you these questions, ask themselves or create questions for research.



How to improve your child’s reading comprehension 6:

Retelling or Summarising

This can be used to recap or retell a whole story once its finished or for each chapter or page as you progress through a book.  It can be done formally as reading task during a reading session or it can be very effective used informally in conversation: “Can you remind me what happened?”  “Why don’t you tell your sister what happened in that story?”

  • Natalie Brett
    Posted at 14:38h, 07 November Reply

    Our son Ethan is 5 and a really good reader, so for us, comprehension is now really important to understand and expand on what he’s reading. Great tips!

    • tomrussell
      Posted at 14:50h, 07 November Reply

      Thank you Natalie, I’m really glad you found it useful. It’s an area I’m going to write more about in the future.

  • Emma T
    Posted at 00:29h, 08 November Reply

    They really ram the reading comprehension into them at my son’s school – he’s year 3. He hates it, but loves getting his highlighter out to mark the main points. When reading he always says he can’t remember what he’s just read. Asking the questions are definitely essential to prompting him

  • Kelly Walton
    Posted at 22:49h, 16 November Reply

    So many useful hints Thank You

  • Claire | the ladybirds adventures
    Posted at 06:17h, 17 November Reply

    Great ideas. We’ve been told our yr 1 daughter needs to work on comprehension so I’ll try some of these tips

    • tomrussell
      Posted at 20:47h, 17 November Reply

      Thank you! I hope they’re helpful!

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