Practical Homework Help – Tips for Reading Comprehension
Did you know that parents have much more influence on their child’s reading comprehension development than they think may be possible? If you are struggling with how you might be able to help your child understand what they are reading, here are some practical homework insights that you can easily adopt at home.
Model Good Questioning Skills
If you are curious about a topic or you need more information, verbalize that question and ask it out loud when reading or talking with your child. Phrases like, “I’ve never heard about that before. I wonder where I can find more info?” or “I still don’t understand that. Let’s look it up” show your child that it’s ok not to have all the answers and that adults still learn new things every day. In turn, your child will adopt the same desire to dig deeper into understanding what they are reading.
Ask Probing, Open-Ended “Why” Questions
There are surface questions that you should ask your child to help them recall the facts of the text. Generally, these question words are referred to as part of the 5 W’s – Who, What, When, and Where. For example, a surface question might be “What color was the boy’s shirt?” Then follow up with the last “W” question – a probing “Why” question like “Why did he wear that color? Was it for a special occasion? Did it have a special meaning for him?” These probing “Why” questions help your child explore a full range of possible answers. By making inferences based on recalled facts, your child will be able to dig deeper into comprehending what was just read.
Make It Relevant
Opportunities to connect with the text make the reading much more meaningful. A simple connection might be to have your child remember a time when they had the same feelings as a character in the story, or experienced a similar situation. If you are reading a non-fiction text, a simple connection might be to have your child watch videos related to that content. For example, if they are learning about volcanoes, watch a news clip about recent volcano activity on YouTube. If they are learning about animals, it would be a great idea to make a family outing to the local zoo!
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