What is Comprehension Strategies?

What is comprehension?

Comprehension, in this case, reading and literacy comprehension, is the student’s ability to understand the meaning behind their reading; this means that children can extract the meaning or message behind a writer’s story or text. It is a useful skill that children need to develop to progress through the National Curriculum. Comprehension skills discourage children from ‘passive reading’ in reading the individual words on the page without seeking to understand them.

What are comprehension strategies?

Comprehension strategies are good practices and methods that can be used as part of reading comprehension interventions to help your young students understand a passage, text, or story. Some reading comprehension intervention strategies can be used from early years, even before children can speak or read. They improve general thinking, logic, and creativity while encouraging children to pay attention to details, find hidden meanings and look for the big picture.

Understanding a text in whole and pieces is important for various exercises, activities, challenges, and tests the young ones face in pre- and primary schools. Whether they have to understand a listening task, read an entire novel, solve a Mathematics word problem or analyze a poem, comprehension skills will determine how successfully they tackle these.

What is a reading intervention?

Reading intervention is a 1:1 teaching program that uses strategies that help struggling students develop their reading skills at the expected rate. These intervention programs deliver reading sessions that combine reading and phonology skills to improve reading skills for individual students.

Trained teachers or teaching assistants can deliver these reading intervention strategies on a 1:1 basis.

Here are some quick Twinkl tips that you can use to create a positive reading intervention experience:

  1. Create a stress-free, positive environment. Focus on motivating and rewarding the child when they do well.
  2. Ask the child to follow each line with a ruler or a finger.
  3. Use a variety of books and reading materials. Children will find it even more difficult to focus if they’re not interested in what they’re reading. So read everything from stories, poems, or even fact files. Find whatever it is that makes children excited to read.
  4. Pre-teach vocabulary and focus on individual words. Learning a new language before diving into a text allows children to practice pronunciation.
  5. Boost children’s knowledge of sight vocabulary. You can read these words on sight without thinking about what they mean. It helps with fluency and will build children’s confidence when reading.

List of 12 reading comprehension intervention strategies

Here is a handy list of 12 reading and literacy comprehension intervention strategies and methods that you can use in reading interventions to support a child’s understanding of a text. These are all widely used practices inside and outside school that has proved useful from the early years. However, it’s important to note that these can, and sometimes should, be tailored to the children’s skills and needs. Some strategies can work better for your kids or pupils than others. It’s a process to figure out the most suitable for the young. You can try out plenty of them to find the best fit!

1) Making predictions about a text

Guessing what a story is about before even reading or hearing it makes children more alert when they read or listen to it. It also helps them to imagine the surrounding, the main figures or conflicts, and even the meaning of the text. You can give them clues, a list of information, or some illustration to guide their thought process. Then when they come around to comprehend the text, they can point out parts they guessed right and others they did not.

You can also use this strategy with older students and longer texts. After each reading session, try asking the child what they think will happen next to each of the characters and their plot. Again, it will encourage students to use their understanding of the text to discover what will happen next.

To get started using prediction as a reading comprehension strategy, we have many resources and teaching materials you can use with your children.

2) Using prior knowledge to connect to the text

Leaning on their existing knowledge can help children better understand a story and its meaning. In addition, their experience will give a framework for the new information they gain from the texts. That way, they’ll take in everything unknown quicker and easier.

3) Try metalinguistics strategies

Metalinguistics refers to students’ ability to think about, talk about, and manipulate language actively. For example, to consider to different meanings of a word.

Children can focus on the words or phrases they don’t know when reading or listening to a story. By learning new speech units, they can get more invested in the texts and more curious about their overall meaning or message.

It’s a great strategy to broaden your pupils’ vocabulary while encouraging them to focus on the text.

4) Visualise outcomes and alternative endings

One of the most popular teaching lists of reading comprehension intervention strategies visualization, and for a good reason – it’s fun! It’s a highly effective and fun creative exercise for children to get them excited to practice their reading skills. Creating a mental image of a text helps to pay attention to the details, see the connections, and get more invested in the story. So again, we have lots of fun and creative resources to help you and your students have fun with their reading intervention sessions.

5) Experiment with story mapping

Story maps combine visualization and summarization. Children must draw a map of the story they’ve read, highlighting the major events. They go from left to right, mapping the story from the beginning to the end. They can get creative and draw if they like or use colors to differentiate the various events covered in the text.

6) Zero in solely on the main idea of the story

Sometimes one of the biggest challenges with a story is to grasp its main idea of it. The text could be too long, too complicated, or use difficult words children might not know. So, figuring out what the text is about is key to comprehension. Your pupils can look for hints or dialogues that help them to determine the main idea. Because once they have that, it’ll be much easier to tackle the individual storylines or parts of the reading exercise.

Skim reading is one useful way for learners to look over a text to understand its meaning. Help your students develop this skill by encouraging them not to read all the details of a text when they first look at it. Instead, it should help them focus on the main ideas of the writing.

7) Look for details

Once your students comprehend what the story or writing is about, then they should read the text again much more thoroughly. To help them focus and read the text in depth, you can provide some questions about specific details. For example, you can ask multiple choice questions to get your students to correctly identify facts and figures, where something happened, or who was involved. Again, it’s helpful to give your students the questions in order of where they are written in a text so they can look for the answers as they read through.

8) Open a conversation with reading questions

It’s always a good idea to ask questions about a text and have children answer them. Or you can pair up your students and ask them to come up with their questions. This reading comprehension strategy can be helpful for students who struggle to concentrate or articulate their thoughts and opinions of a text. Thinking of questions and answers is a great way to reinforce comprehension and get the bigger picture.

9) Draw inferences from context clues

Making educated guesses about the hidden meaning of a text is a more complex strategy but one that greatly boosts comprehension. Finding clues and drawing conclusions improve the understanding of a layer children might not discover the first time they read something. Then, leaning on what they already knew and what they read, they can deduct certain additional information using inference.

10) Don’t forget to keep monitoring comprehension

A simple but highly effective way to help children understand a text is by checking what they do and don’t grasp. Ask them if they struggle with a word or phrase or find it hard to comprehend the overall meaning or message. Then, turn the activity into a group discussion where you go through the text together, allowing them to point out the parts they think are tricky.

11) Sum it up by summarising activities

When children are asked to summarise a text, they need to think over what it was about, who was in it, and what happened. It’s a great way to reinforce comprehension and improve memory while boosting vocabulary. Children will automatically try to use words they saw in the text when summarising it.

12) Hand over control by asking students to retell the story

Last but not least, you can always ask children to gather their thoughts and try to retell the story they’ve just read. It’ll encourage them to think about the smaller details as well as the meaning of the text. To help them out, teach them the 5 W’s that always come in handy once they answer the ‘who,’ ‘what,’ ‘when,’ ‘where,’ and ‘why’ they already have the basis for retelling the story.

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