Comprehension-A Reading Skill Many Kids Lack

So your child is reading fluently now and is able to read books aloud to you and sound just like a grown-up. Hooray! Now comes the difficult step, reading comprehension.

Most of the students that I see for specific reading interventions (who are in third grade or higher) are seen for reading comprehension.  They are able to read with good speed and minimal errors; however, they are unable to understand what they are reading.  Sad, but true...and a VERY common problem.

The first thing I do is assess him/her just to make sure that he/she does not have any other reading problems such as phonological gaps.  If the tests show no errors in any areas, then my job is to TRAIN the student how to comprehend what he is reading.

Many people feel that reading comprehension will come if you are reading well, but that is not the case.  Reading comprehension must be specifically taught and practiced over and over, until it becomes a skill that the reader does naturally without thinking about.

One way of doing this is to have the child read aloud a portion of text (a paragraph or two), then have him rephrase what he read aloud or in written form (or both).  This works well when keeping a reading journal.  After much practice with this, he will start to do this within his head as he reads.

Another tool is to have him ask and answer questions before, during, and after he reads.  Before he could ask (and should write down as well), who the book will be about, what will happen (general), where it will take place, what genre is the book, etc.  Many of these questions could be inferred from a book's covers and title.  As he reads, he should stop often and see if he can answer any of his before-reading questions, and make predictions about what will happen next.  Then, after he reads the entire book/passage, he should look back and answer all questions.  Also, he could think about how he would have changed the ending of the story, or how he thinks the story would continue on (if in a series, or if he wrote the next book himself).

There are so man activities you can do to boost reading comprehension.  The ones I mentioned above are just a few.  Visit Carl's Corner for more ideas, printable worksheets, and games to help build reading comprehension.

*Do you have a specific reading comprehension question you would like answered? Leave me a comment below and I will answer.


  1. Did you write this for me?? GREAT post and super helpful.

  2. Stacey,
    Sure did! Well kind of...your son has one of the most common reading problems there is. The good news is it is very easy to overcome with proper training and constant repetition. Glad you found the resources helpful. I use the resources on that site with many of my students.


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