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Tips to Improve Reading Comprehension

Feb 08, 2016
Reading is more than simply pronouncing words — a successful reader understands and interprets the words that are being read.
Here are strategies you can use with your child to encourage him or her to be a purposeful, active reader:
Make connections. Successful readers connect what they read to their experiences and knowledge. Ask young readers if they have experienced the situations in the book, if they understand a character’s feelings, or what they know about the topic. 
Make predictions. Ask your child to predict what will happen next in a story. This involves understanding what has happened so far and thinking ahead. Make sure your child is clear on what he or she has read, and encourage re-reading if necessary. Ask for new predictions as the book progresses, based on how the plot unfolds, pictures or illustrations, and chapter headings.
Visualize. Encourage kids to create mental images while reading so that they actively engage with the text. Ask your child to visualize a setting, character, or action. What do they see, smell, hear, taste, or touch? What words in the book helped them create this image?
Make inferences. Inferences involve drawing conclusions or reading between the lines. Ask your child “why”. Why did the character do this? Why did this happen? Why did the author write the story this way?
Determine importance. Before reading a textbook or nonfiction book, ask your child what he or she already knows about a topic. Show your child how nonfiction books are organized and examine clues to understanding content: chapter and section titles, headings, bold or italicized words, and captions on illustrations. The first and last paragraphs of a section often address key points, as do the first and last sentences in a paragraph.
Ask and answer. Encourage your child to ask questions about anything that they find confusing. Help to find the answer. Have you already read the answer? Would a dictionary help? What about an index or glossary? If the answer is not in this book, where else could you look?
Like any skill, reading improves with practice. One of our learning experts visited CTV Morning Live to share tips on engaging children to read and making it an enjoyable experience. To watch the segment on the CTV website, please click here.
At West Vancouver Sylvan Learning, we personalize reading tutoring to each child’s needs. As your child progresses, our tutors adjust your child’s learning plan, so reading stays challenging and fun, but not frustrating. For more information about our reading tutoring programs, please give us a call.