During my time on placement I came across many children who had trouble with reading comprehension. The children who struggled with comprehension were not taught the strategies successfully to help them with their reading. Due to this, these students lost the motivation and passion for reading. Implementing some simple strategies such as questioning to the student gave them some tools to improve their comprehension and therefore increased their motivation to read. Lets face it, who here can say they enjoy something they aren’t really good at? This is the same for children with their reading! If a child can’t find some success in reading they are more than likely going to lose enjoyment and motivation. It has been stated that even implementing one comprehension strategy will improve a student’s comprehension of text.
Below you can find some simple strategies that I recommend which were taken from Literacy Fourth Edition, a great book used during my degree. If these comprehension strategies are used effectively students will be able to understand text successfully. You can find the reference to the text-book at the bottom of the post if you would like to do some further research.
Students have a large supply of prior knowledge built up from experiences they have had within their own worlds. A student’s level of comprehension is affected by the amount of information the child knows of the type of text they are reading. For example a student who has little to no prior knowledge about a narrative may be confused by the series of events taking part in the story. Students need prior knowledge of:
· the topic of the text
· the text type
· the structure, layout and features
· the vocabulary
Introducing topics that the students may be exploring during their reading will give them prior knowledge and preparation so that they are focused before reading. The text type is also important. As mentioned earlier before if a student is not well acquainted with a certain text type or genre then they are going to have trouble comprehending their text. Structure and layout of the text will depend on what type of genre is being read. If the child is reading a news article then the structure and layout can be very important. Teaching your student to be aware of the major titles, images and sub headings will help them get a better understanding of what is being transferred to the reader. Finally the vocabulary needs to be at an appropriate level. If the vocabulary of the text is at a higher level than that of the child, then it would be misguided to prescribe such reading material. This could also be said for a vocabulary level that is much lower than that of the child, causing them to lose interest and motivation as the text is not challenging enough to interest them.
SQ3R- Survey Question Read Recite Review.
One strategy that has been used to help teach reading comprehension was the SQ3R method which seems to be aimed more at the higher levels of primary school children but can be easily adapted to the lower levels. This strategy covers most aspects of reading and also, if taught successfully, can give students the appropriate skills to read independently giving the teacher the confidence that the students are using this strategy to comprehend their readings.
S- Survey, this involves the student examining the text by reading introductions, major headings, summaries and also any visual cues such as illustrations before reading the text.
Q- Question, once the student has surveyed the key aspects of the reading, such as the headings or images, they now ask themselves some questions of what this text might be about which could also be known as predicting. Doing this makes the student read in a focused way to see if what they predicted was correct.
R- Read, very simple, the student now reads the text with a focus to connect the headings, visual cues and their questions with the text.
R- Recite, the student will briefly go back over their work, reciting what has been learnt which may include the answer to their question or any main points discovered from the text.
R- Review, once the student has read the text and recited what they have learnt they can now refer back to their questions/predictions that they first wrote down before reading. This could be done individually or even in pairs, comparing questions and answers with each other. This process is great as students may have different perspectives on the matter and bring prior knowledge from different experiences to the discussion. Allowing students to take part in a rich conversation.
Duke, N. K., & Pearson, D. P. (2002). Effective practices for developing reading comprehension. In What research has to say about reading instruction. Newark, Del: International Reading Association.
Winch, G., Johnston, R. R., March, P., Ljungdahl, L., & Holliday, M. (2010). Literacy: Reading, Writing and Children’s Literature (Fourth.). Oxford University Press.