“Wow you read that beautifully!” exactly the statement I said to my child after reading a story with perfect fluency; using all expression correctly, pausing at full stops and commas.
But she was shocked when I ask her to tell me what happened in the story. Alas! She was focusing on reading it perfectly, and she had forgotten to READ it! However, if a child can’t understand what he or she is reading, is the child reading? There are ways you can encourage comprehension of reading in kids. It will make them understand what they are reading.
Below are some strategies you can use to help your kids understand and remember what it is they just read:
Make it – You can ask your kids to make a craft activity out of the story. If the story has a food component, you can ask your child to write a recipe from the story. You can ask them questions like “Which part of the story are you making” when they are busy and “What happened in that part of the story?”
Invent it – If you find out that your children are great with imaginations, you can ask them to invent it. Such kids would tell, draw or write the next series of the story if the story were to continue. How else could the story end if it didn’t end that way?
Match it – You can match the whole story with a situation the child has once been into before. It can be about their pets or the family. Whatever the situation it relates to, the key point is to let your kids understand a particular comprehension.
Act it out – Acting the story out is a simple thing your child can do. It is a fun way to help kids remember what they read from a passage. Acting can be in the form of simple finger puppets or a quick mask. You can also set up a little space with some props. They will love it and will remember the story for life.
Draw it – If your child loves to play with art and loves drawing, you can ask him or her to draw the beginning, middle and the end of the story. They will use this method to remember what happened in a story. The pictures may not resemble, the idea is to create a scene. You can ask younger children to draw their favourite page or part; they will relate the whole story to that part.
Find it – Some books may be written with words big enough for kids to comprehend. This way, you will have to find a way to explain those tricky words to them. Check the dictionary, talk about those words and explain it in their own words the meaning. You can also draw a picture to match.
Above all, if your kids still don’t get it, ask them to re-read! You can help their situation by reading it to them or having them read it back to you another time. If they can’t comprehend again, try another book. You don’t have to put them off reading (nothing is worse than this), just make it fun and keep them confident.