Teaching Kids Text Comprehension

Teaching comprehension is a complex process that requires planning. This skill places the responsibility on the student to take control over their understanding of a given text. The seven strategies listed below are some suggestions that are backed by research. 

Experts suggest that these strategies be explicitly taught to students through the following steps: (1) direct explanation, (2) teacher modeling, (3) guided practice, and (4) application. These steps are effective through cooperative learning, in which students work in small groups or pairs to accomplish a given task. Meanwhile, teachers facilitate this process by modeling comprehension strategies and providing assistance to the students. 

The Strategies

·       Monitoring comprehension – this is when a student can understand when they understand a text or not and deploy strategies aimed at addressing the comprehension concerns.

·        Metacognition – also known as thinking about thinking; this strategy is used when readers can think about and prepare for reading. They know the reason why they are reading, use methods that help them read fast while understanding information being said in the text. Some may even quiz themselves to check if they understood what they read.

·           Summarizing – this is when readers are able to pick up on the main idea of a text and say it in their own words.

·          Asking questions – this has to do with readers who formulate questions that are drawn from specific parts and elements of the text—not just asking fact-based questions like “who are the main characters?” “where do they live?” and “how many main characters are there?”.

·          Answering questions –  in this process, readers are trained to focus on the text so that they can remember and understand details that they may be asked about.

·          Graphic organizers – also known as maps, graphs, charts, clusters, and frames. These are used to focus on and connect certain concepts within the text. Mind maps are a good example of a graphic organizer.

·          Structure recognition –  in this strategy, readers pick out the important elements of a text. In a short story, the elements would be the characters, setting, events, conflict, and resolution.

Final Thoughts

Students can be taught skills on how to check for understanding a text. Students do not always have to rely on teachers and tutors to give them quizzes and assessments and use this as prompts to look into the important details of a text. When a student is reading independently for his or her own pleasure, he or she can deploy any of the strategies stated above to check if they understood what they read

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