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Reading and comprehension

LettersReading and comprehension

Teacher shares ideas to improve reading comprehension in the classroom

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Dear Editor,

Reading is described as a process that entails the sounds of the alphabet which are put together to form words.

Many students are able to successfully accomplish this process. What they struggle with is understanding the meaning of words and sentences. It is for this reason that I want to focus this piece on ways to improve reading comprehension by sharing with you the following ideas that have worked. One, ensure that the texts are at the students’ reading level. Reading easy books may get your students bored, while books that are too hard will get them discouraged. Researchers recommend that students should be able to recognize at least 90% of the text given to them.

Ask questions before, during and after a reading session. For example, before reading a passage, have students identify and discuss difficult words and phrases in the text. During the reading process, call on students to summarize key sections of the text. Finally, after reading, have students recall and tell in their own words the important parts of the text.

Let them write about what they read. Have them make predictions by using evidence from the beginning of a text to guess: What will happen next? What do they think the text will be about? Students can draw inferences by using the information they know to make a guess about what they don’t.

Make a word wall in your classroom to help students remember and learn new words. Encourage them to read frequently and build up their vocabulary by looking for the meanings of unfamiliar words.

Allow them to find the main idea of the passage. What is the passage about? This can help students get a clear understanding of what is the point of what they are reading. You can also have them re-read the text at a slower pace. Sometimes a certain section of the text does not make sense. By having them re-read the text more slowly, this will assist them to understand it better.

Finally, the use of a graphic organizer to help students organize the main idea and details of a passage is encouraged. This will help them make sense of what they are reading.

Reading comprehension is an ongoing process and requires varied effective teaching activities to help students understand the meaning of the words and sentences they read. To me, if students do not understand the meaning of the written or printed text, then the purpose for reading is not achieved.

Delbert Garcia, Sr.
A retired teacher

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