As with reading fluency, many of my students who have difficulty with reading comprehension need explicit active reading instruction from a professional, but for all of the other days of summer, I encourage students to read, read, read (with a few stipulations, of course…)
Reading Comprehension Tips (Elementary Edition)
- Silent reading without reflection, conversation, or demonstrable application of active reading comprehension strategies does not help students who have difficulty with reading comprehension
- Some students have difficulty with focusing on details, with others have more difficulty with the “gist;” similarly, some students have difficulty with literal questions (answering questions that are answered in the text), while others have more trouble with inferential questions (answers you have to infer or guess). Focus on the skills that are most difficult for your child, while also celebrating their strengths
- use an active reading bookmark to remind them to ask questions, visualize, make predictions, make inferences, make connections, form opinions, and summarize (see example on the right; you can download the Active Reading Bookmark here)
- use post-its to ask and answer questions (ask questions at the end of a chapter – 1 can be a question you can already answer, but 2 should be genuine questions to guide your reading). To the left is an example from the first chapter of Hoot.
- after the first chapter or two, cast the movie of the book. Use google searches, imdb.com, or magazines to do this. Revise your cast list after every new, important character is introduced
- when you are a little further than halfway through the book, make a poster for the book as if it were a movie. You can use your actors that you “cast” after the first few chapters. Use Google Drawings (a standard Google Drive feature), pixlr.com; for iPad I like Sketchbook X or Sketchbook Pro
- at the end of the book, make a slideshow of the book. I recommend: storybird, animoto, photopeach, or ThingLink (for iPad). Here is an example of a Photopeach slideshow for the book No Talking
Support for these Active Reading Comprehension strategies can be found at the Institute of Education Sciences’ report on reading comprehension.
Download the Stop #summerslide: Reading Comprehension (Elementary Edition) handout and supporting documents here.