What are the Best Strategies For Reading Comprehension?

Posted by Erica Warren on

Helping your students to develop excellent reading comprehension skills can help them to succeed in academics as well as life. However, simply learning to decoding words is not enough. 

Natural Strategies to Improve Student Learning and Behavior

How Can Reading Comprehension Be Taught?

Successful readers must remember content, understand inferences, maintain focus and make connections. It is a comprehensive process that requires mindful pre-reading activities, reading strategies, and post-reading procedures.

Pre-reading Strategies

These four pre-reading strategies can help learners prepare for the coming reading.

1) Reading or discussing a summary of the chapter or content

This helps students to conceptualize main ideas so that they can read deeper and prepare to visualize the content.

2) Questioning prior knowledge about the topic

Questioning can help students make connections to prior knowledge and it can capture their interest.  It also helps to make the information more "sticky" for long term memory.

3) Skimming a prior chapter or reviewing personal notes

This can help to bring back the plot or main idea for the reader so that they can drop back into the story, reactivate their visualizations, and grab their interest and attention.

4) Predicting what will happen in the story

Predicting can help to engage learners imaginations and creativity.  It also gets them excited to read.

Dyslexia Resources

Reading Strategies

There are also a number of strategies that can be employed to improve the act of reading.

1) Underlining

Underlining or highlighting important characters, settings and events can help the reader note and document important details.

2) Annotating

Annotating or taking notes in the margins can help students to document their thoughts and focus on important events or ideas. Symbols such as ☼ for setting and ✩ for important event can help students to be mindful of key features and actions.

3) Visualizing 

Pretending to be a movie director and trying to make the characters and setting come alive can help students remain engaged and can improve memory for the story.

Post-reading Strategies

There are a number of strategies that can support reading comprehension even when one has finished their reading.

1. Written summaries

Using a notebook or sticky notes to record 3 to 5 bullets that summarize each chapter can help the reader pull the story together. In addition, this strategy can also be used to help students to write a summary of the book. Furthermore, jotting notes can also offer a preview when the student returns to read another chapter.

2. Drawing pictures

Drawing pictures that capture key events or creating a series of drawings that summarizes the plot can help students to develop their visualization capacity.

3. Creating a timeline

As the reader progresses through the story, he or she can clarify the structure and the sequence of events. Colorful drawings can also be added to the timeline to help students imagine important details.

4. Highlighting descriptive writing

Making marks in the book where there are descriptive sections or character descriptions can be a good strategy for students that have trouble visualizing while reading. When they reach the end of a page or passage, they can go back and visualize the events and scenes.

I hope you found these strategies helpful. I would love to hear your thoughts. If you would like a free handout of these strategies click here.

Happy kids reading

Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

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