How To Help Your Students with Reading Comprehension

Parents are often asking me “How do I help my student with reading comprehension”. As a teacher, I know exactly what steps to take but I wanted to talk to parents who have heard this and aren’t sure of what path to take to help students with reading comprehension.

I had a conversation the other day with a friend of mine. We have gotten to know each other quite well but still are learning about each other. She let me in on something about her student that I found really interesting. Likewise, her student was struggling and I remember saying “I can help you.”

How To Help Your Student With Reading Comprehension

The first thing I told my friend was teach her to recognize she’s made a mistake. We talked about self monitoring. Self monitoring is done by the child thinking while reading. If they are reading a sentence and make a mistake, do they recognize it or keep reading? While they are reading, if they stop and reread, their brain recognizes they made a mistake. Ask your student “Does that make sense?”. For example, if they read a sentence with the word chamber and replace it with character, it changes the meaning of the sentence. Have students practice reading one or two sentence at a time to see if this is happening.

How to use Vocabulary to Help with Reading Comprehension

Parents can put their vocabulary words in a sentence and leave the word blank. After the student fills in the missing word, have them read the sentence back to you out loud. Sometimes, they will make a mistake and do not recognize it. So, ask them “Can you read this to me again?” or “Did that make sense?” (you read it back to them the way they read it to you) Teaching your student to recognize they made a mistake will help them understand what they are reading. Chances are, if your student is struggling with comprehension, they are not thinking while reading.

How to Help Your Student with Reading Comprehension Tip 2

Which leads me to my next tip to help your student with reading comprehension. Students who struggle often are not picturing in their mind what is happening. So, we spent some time using our vocabulary words to practice this. The sentence I gave her was “While dad was sick, he was very _____.” The vocabulary word was feeble meaning weak. I asked the student “Can you imagine dad in being very sick in your mind?”. Furthermore, the student was quickly able to describe to me where dad would be if he was sick and how he would look. Next, we discussed how to do this when we are reading. As a result of this, the student who is in upper elementary and within just a few minutes was able to grasp this skill.

Focus on Learning Vocabulary for Reading Comprehension

I’ve talked a little bit about this but vocabulary is so important for reading comprehension. I encourage you to take a look at your students weekly words. Chances are your student has spelling AND vocabulary words. Also, take a look at your spelling words. Can your students tell you the meaning of these words? If not, use these printables to help you. Furthermore, have students learn the meaning of words, even the ones they are only asked to spell.


How to Help Your Student with Spelling Words

Next, let’s focus on how to help your students spell their words. For example, look for a pattern in the words. Do you see an obvious pattern? If not, ask your child’s teacher or message me 🙂

Next, find the pattern in their words and have students sort them by that pattern. This will teach students to pay special attention to the letters in the words. Students in all grades can do this. In upper elementary, your student will likely have prefixes to sort them by. As a result, we made these simple word sorts with index cards.
Use Word Sorts To Help Your Students with Reading Comprehension

Play Games with their Weekly Words

Have students arrange their words in ABC order. Even the older students. This teaches them to look through each letter of the word! Finally, this is an important step to improve vocabulary. Likewise, use the time to have real life conversations about the words they are studying. Furthermore, it would give students a way to practice the words in a variety of ways!

The most important aspect to helping your student at home with their reading comprehension is just to teach students to slow down, think while reading and use every opportunity to practice reading. Often, schools are so caught up on a certain program ( I will not use the name, but it’s essentially a program that encourages students to read and take a test). This can be devastating to a student who struggles. What if the books they WANT to read aren’t on that list? As a parent who’s been in that spot, I say who cares how many “points they have”. Don’t make your child HATE reading to suffice this goal.

Encourage your student to read other types of print like magazines or anything they like to read. My one son loves to read the bible. If you can read and comprehend that, it’s impressive. No, he didn’t have the most “points”, but he was reading and reading something that is very important.

If you are struggling with how to help your students at home, I put together this guide for you.

Parents Guide To Reading Instruction

A guide with actionable steps for parents to take at home to help their students succeed.