7 Reading Comprehension Strategies


Teaching your child to read is just the start. Teaching your child reading comprehension strategies is the ultimate goal.

I know teaching your child to read can be challenging. It requires consistency, sitting, and practising with them each day as they s-l-o-w-l-y read the words on the page. 

Reading Comprehension Strategies

It can also be difficult for your child to stay engaged. I found that a great way to keep my child interested in reading was by incorporating text into everyday play and introducing reading into fun activities like treasure or scavenger hunts.

Teaching your child to read is just the start, though, reading comprehension is the ultimate goal. 

To help you teach your child the 7 reading comprehension strategies, we have included everything you need to know in this post and included some great resources to help you.

In this post I’ll cover:

  • What is Reading Comprehension?
  • The 7 Reading Comprehension Strategies
  • How to Teach and Improve Reading Comprehension
  • Comprehension Questions to Ask While Reading

What is Reading Comprehension?

Your child has excellent reading comprehension skills when they fully understand what they are reading. Your child can visualise, question, predict, and interpret the text. They are also able to form opinions about what they are reading and think about how they feel.

The 7 Reading Comprehension Strategies

There is an abundance of information about reading strategies, but in summary, there are 7 comprehension Strategies.

  1. Making inferences – This is where your child can make inferences about something in the story that is not explicitly stated. They use prior knowledge and recognise clues to form sensible conclusions.
  2. Comprehension monitoring – This is where your child can understand what they are reading. As their reading improves, they should know when they do not understand something and use strategies such as rereading or clarifying words to understand. Children should also notice what they are thinking while they are reading. When they start to read, many young children do not know they are thinking, as they are so focused on just getting the words right.
  3. Visualising – This involves the ability to make mental images of what is happening in the story as your child reads. Your child's ability to connect visually with the story allows for a better understanding of the text.
  4. Determining what’s important – This is the ability to identify important ideas or themes in the story or text that your child is reading.
  5. Questioning – Being able to use questioning techniques helps your child understand what they are reading. Your child should also develop their own opinions about what characters are doing and why relations between characters etc.
  6. Making connections – This is where your child can link what is happening in the story to a personal experience or think about implications not immediately connected.
  7. Synthesing – This is where your child can retell and remember information from the story. In our article titled 10 Great Ways to Encourage Your Child to Read, we outlined how getting your child to re-enact books and stories using puppets or toys is a great activity that your child will love

Now we have dealt with the different comprehension strategies, let me share some ways you can teach these to your child.

Reading Comprehension Strategies

How to Teach and Improve Reading Comprehension

Comprehension skills are critically important. They need to be active readers that understand what they are reading.

To teach and improve your child's reading comprehension, you should:

  1. Have them read aloud – This will force your child to read slower, which means they will have more time to think about what they are reading. It would help if you also read aloud to your child, so they hear how the expression in your voice adds to the meaning of the story. Young readers do not initially read with expression as they are focusing on getting the words right.
  2. Make connections – As you are reading together, connect with what you are learning to your own experiences, for example, places you have been or people you have met.
  3. Provide books at the right level – Ensure the books your child reads is appropriate to their level. If they stop too often to figure words out, it makes it difficult for your child to follow the story and becomes frustrating for them.
  4. Reread to build fluency – The more fluent your child is, the better they will comprehend what they are reading. A good idea is to reread simple books that your child is familiar with, as this will allow them practice to understand what they are reading. Looking for ways to improve your child's fluency? Our comprehensive article How to Improve Children's Fluency has 15 Tips you can use.
  5. Ask questions and talk about what they're reading – This will help your child remember and think about the themes of the story. It would help if you asked questions before, during, and after reading.

Comprehension Questions to Ask

Below are examples of the types of questions you can ask before, during, and after reading. We have also put together a cheat sheet with these questions, which you can keep this handy when reading with your child.

Before Reading

  1. Why did you choose this book?
  2. What do you think is going to happen?
  3. What kind of characters do you think will be in the book?
  4. Do you think there will be a problem in the story? Why?
  5. Do you think this book will be like any other book you have read? If so, which one and why?

During Reading

  1. Is the story turning out the way you thought it would?
  2. What do you think will happen next?
  3. What has happened so far?
  4. Do you think that character would make a good friend? Why or why not?
  5. Could this story happen in real life? Why or Why not?

After Reading

  1. What did you like about the book?
  2. Who was your favourite character? Why?
  3. What was your favourite part of the book? Why?
  4. If you could change one thing in the book, what would it be?
  5. Did the book end the way you thought it would when we started the book?

Have fun reading with your child; this is a great way to improve the parent/child bond.

There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island.

Walt Disney

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