Students need to learn that they need to and are expected to take responsibility for understanding (comprehending) what they have read.

Don’t always give your child the word or the meaning. Let the child problem solve. Ask him/her, “What can you do to figure this meaning or word out?” Teach students strategies for comprehending and then expect them to use these strategies.
Let children make choices about what they will read and how they will engage with what they are reading. Modeling a comprehension strategy to give students guided practice. Gradually give students more responsibility for becoming independent in the reading process.

How Parents and Teachers Foster Reading & Math Comprehension – Feedback

Students need feedback or response to their attempts to comprehend text. Successful learning or comprehension is based on social interaction. A student learning to comprehend from the young child to an accomplished reader learning how to comprehend unknown material or unknown text structures, needs to interact with experienced comprehenders. The beginning learner tries his/her out their new skills and strategies as each attempts the comprehending process. The accomplished comprehenders give feedback and direction to the beginning learner.

Have discussions with the child about what he/she is reading.

Discuss the process of HOW he/she is understanding as well as WHAT he/she is understanding.

Have discussions that negotiate the meaning of what students are reading.

Talk about the thinking processes that students are using.

Ask questions that are open-ended and involve children in thinking about why and how they came to understand their response. In discussions after reading ask students to explicitly discuss what comprehension strategies they used and how a particular strategy helped them understand.
If the child has a problem understanding ask him/her where or what he/she thinks the problem was. Then discuss with him/her or model how together they might solve the problem. Provide plenty of student to student interaction about the reading comprehension process.

How Parents and Teachers Foster Reading & Math Comprehension – Expectations

Students need to have the expectations communicated to them that they will learn how to comprehend what they have read. They need to know that they are expected to comprehend what they have read.

Primary caregivers need to talk with children about what they are understanding when they read or are read to. Teachers need to explicitly tell students that the end result of reading is comprehension. We read to understand.
Ask your children what they think is happening or is going to happen in the story when you read to them or when they are reading. Be careful about putting too much emphasis on decoding. Students can come to believe that reading is saying the words correctly. They need to know the purpose of reading is to understand.

Multiple Approaches to Reading & Math Comprehension Improvement

Large amounts of time for actual text reading–opportunities to orchestrate the

  • Skills and strategies of proficient reading.
    • Choice-Provide opportunities and guidance in making reading selections. Choice is related to interest and motivation.
    • Assurance–Ensure that all students spend most of their time reading books that are appropriate in difficulty.
    • Multiple readings–Honor and encourage rereading, which will lead
      to fluency and greater comprehension.
    • Provide regular opportunities for readers to discuss what and how they are
      reading. Reading comprehension is a social as well as a cognitive process.
  • Teacher directed instruction in comprehension strategies. Teacher modeling and explanation of strategies, guided and independent practice accompanied by feedback and application in real reading situations.
    • Teach strategies that are authentic–as much as possible like the ones
      actual readers use when trying to comprehend.
    • Focus on flexible application of the strategy rather than a rigid
      sequence of steps.
    • Focus strategy instruction on what, why, how, when, and where¬†a strategy could be used.
    • Encourage and facilitate transfer of thinking processes.
  • Opportunities for peer and collaborative learning are an integral part of comprehension instruction.
    • Allow students to gain access to other’s thinking process.
    • Strengthen a sense of belonging to “the literacy club.”
  • Time to talk about reading.
    • Provide for student-centered discussions that honor multiple interpretations.
    • Foster an environment for responsive teaching and responsive learning.
    • Create an atmosphere for grand conversations that instill a life-long love of reading.
    • Promote various purposes for reading
      • Efferent reading (when a reader gets information)
      • Aesthetic reading (when the reader has a lived through experience of reading and responding personally to a text).
  • Promote the idea that learning about comprehension is embedded in discussion.