Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies
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Teaching reading comprehension can be one of the most challenging aspects of elementary education; it is made even more difficult in secondary education if the foundation from previous years has not been properly created. However, because this is such a difficult component of education, there has been extensive research done on various strategies to increase student success. Some are relatively simple to implement, while some require substantial planning and effort on behalf of the instructor. By at least considering some of these various options, instructors are far more likely to implement a technique that will enable all their students to build the foundation necessary for later success.
First, instructors should teach students how to monitor their own comprehension. Students are going to be the first to realize if they do or do not understand something; giving them the skills to correct such a lapse is essential to ensuring their ultimate success. Second, encourage teachers to think about the way they think—a process known as meta-cognition. When they can identify what areas they are struggling with, they are far more likely to receive the support they need in overcoming these difficulties. Third, incorporate graphs and organizers in class; when students can take the material covered in a piece of writing and turn it into a graphical representation, they are far more likely to effectively comprehend the material, and to comprehend it at a deeper level of understanding. Fourth, challenge students to create and answer each other’s questions. Being able to craft answers from a piece of literature demonstrates a deeper level of understanding than does simply answering a teacher’s question. Finally, always ensure students can summarize a story. Because recall is the foundation of comprehension, being able to put the story or piece of writing into their own words is the first step toward the most effective form of comprehension. By ensuring students can do each of these steps—just a few of the possible techniques that can be used when working with students’ reading comprehension—increased success is most likely to follow.