Students frequently struggle with understanding what they read. There can be many reasons for this such as vocabulary issues, to struggles with just sounding out the text. Another common problem, frequently seen among native speakers of a language, is the students just read without taking a moment to think about what they read. This lack of reflection and intellectual wrestling with the text can make so that the student knows they read something but knows nothing about what they read.
In this post, we will look at several common strategies to support reading comprehension. These strategies include the following…
Walking a Student Through the Text
As students get older, there is a tendency for many teachers to ignore the need to guide students through a reading before the students read it. One way to improve reading comprehension is to go through the assigned reading and give an idea to the students of what to expect from the text.
Doing this provides a framework within the student’s mind in which they can add the details to as they do the reading. When walking through a text with students the teacher can provide insights into important ideas, explain complex words, explain visuals, and give general ideas as to what is important.
Asking question either before or after a reading is another great way to support students understanding. Prior questions give an idea of what the students should be expected to know after reading. On the other hand, questions after the reading should aim to help students to coalesce the ideals they were exposed to in the reading.
The type of questions is endless. The questions can be based on Bloom’s taxonomy in order to stimulate various thinking skills. Another skill is probing and soliciting responses from students through encouraging and asking reasonable follow-up questions.
Connecting what a student knows what they do not know is known as relevance.If a teacher can stretch a student from what they know and use it to understand what is new it will dramatically improve comprehension.
This is trickier than it sounds. It requires the teacher to have a firm grasp of the subject as well as the habits and knowledge of the students. Therefore, patience is required.
Reading is a skill that can improve a great deal through practice. However, mastery will require the knowledge and application of strategies. Without this next level of training, a student will often become more and more frustrated with reading challenging text.