Reading comprehension isn't instantaneous. It doesn't occur the moment a child learns to read. In fact, kindergarten through 3rd grade are the years children are learning to read. Fourth grade and up, students are reading to learn.
Not long ago, a teacher asked me this question: "What do I do with a student who can read very well but her comprehension level is 2-4 grades below her reading ability?
When asking this teacher more about this student, I determined that the student was missing several components needed for reading comprehension.
The first component necessary for reading comprehension is being able to decode a word.
The second component is being able to decode AN unfamiliar word effortlessly and quickly. This is called automaticity.
The third component is having a broad
Background knowledge provides the student with enough information that she will be able to make inferences if needed.
Comprehension is hampered when reading is choppy with lots of starts and goes; and do overs. Meaning is often lost when the passage takes to long to read. So the fourth component is fluency. Using
decodable books will help your child's reading fluency.
When children begin to read, they may not comprehend even the most simplest sentences. The fifth component of comprehension is being able to paraphrase. Paraphrasing is being able to retell what has just been read. Being able to paraphrase is a good indicator that comprehension is taking place.
Re-reading the passage for a context clue for an unfamiliar word is often used with struggling readers. However, this technique does not work.
In fact, it only serves to frustrate the student. Usually the student won't read it any faster or with any more comprehension than she did during the first reading.
When a student is having trouble reading a passage, using some proven
reading strategies to help her understand the reading will of great benefit. These would include decoding any unfamiliar words, review meanings of unknown words and giving some background knowledge.
Once a student knows and masters several reading strategies, then reading becomes less of a chore and more fun. She may not become the fastest reader, but comprehending what she reads is more important than speed.
Students who are auditory learners as well as visual learners can increase their comprehension from listening to books on tape while following along with the words in the book. The local library usually has a large selection of these kinds of books. If you want to purchase books on tape go to
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Biographies are a great way to teach history. Many to choose from.
PARENTS: You can enjoy the classics you read as a child when you once again read them to your own child.
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Games are essential to reinforce reading and math skills in a fun and entertaining way. Here are some of my favorite as well as some new ones.
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This specialty store has many special gifts selected for the person who loves to read. You will find bookmarks, book ends, book plates as well as jewelry. Gifts are added regularly.
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This store has children's books that have at least one character that has a learning disability. You will also find resources for parents.
Even young children, ages 1 to pre-K, need to have books to look at and books that can be read to them over, and over, and over again.
Workbooks that teach one phonetic skill at a time are listed on this page. These are workbooks that I have used for over 20 years and are wonderful for the very young; K-2nd grade.
Reading Cornerstone On-Line Stores
This page lists all of the specialty stores with a description of each store.
This page has some wonderful teaching accessories. Things like an easel, a lighted world globe, a puppet theater and more. You will also find things like reading pillows that will make reading easier for the reluctant reader.
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On this page you will find some of the newest novels for teens. Some of these are biographies, and some are historical fiction.