Better Reading Comprehension Strategies

Comprehension should always be the chief concern when teaching reading. What good is reading if the child has no understanding of what is read? In this article I will outline key reading comprehension strategies and show how they should be used.

reading comprehension strategy that I have found to be highly effective is to do vocabulary work before hand. You can introduce children to new words. Have them break them up into syllables. Put the new words on flashcards. You can also have children find out the meaning of these words in the dictionary, with all this groundwork, once you get to the text it will be smooth sailing.

1. Context Clues – When you are reading, suppose you come across a word that you have never seen or heard before. If you understand the other words, sentences, and paragraphs that come before and after the new word, you will be able to figure out what that new word means.

Example: Two friends met and had a persiflage over lunch. They talked about seeing a movie, going shopping, or going to the beach. Can you tell that ‘persiflage’ means light, frivolous talk? The two friends did not discuss anything of major importance.

2. Cause and Effect – We all know that actions have consequences. Think of the actions as causes and the effects as their consequences.

Example: The Miami Heat want the fans to wear white during the NBA Finals games. As a result, the seats in the arena are filled with fans wearing White Hot shirts!

WHY are the fans wearing White Hot shirts? They are wearing white shirts BECAUSE the Miami Heat requested it. When you ask a why question (the effect), you want to know the reason (the cause). Clue phrases that indicate a cause is to follow include ‘as a result’ and ‘in order to’.

3. Drawing Conclusions – Sometimes you will be asked a question about information that has not been given. There will be enough clues, however, for you to imply the meaning.

Example: Marvin was exuberant that his parents were allowing him to stay up past his bedtime so he could see the fireworks at a nearby park. Luckily, there would be a great view from his own patio! The fireworks were scheduled to start at 11:30 PM but, by 10:30, Marvin was feeling extremely tired. When he woke up the next morning, Marvin asked his mother why the fireworks had been cancelled.

Although the information is not directly given, you can draw the conclusion that Marvin was so tired that he fell asleep and missed the fireworks.

4. Sequencing – As the old saying goes, “Put one step in front of the other.”
When you are putting directions or events in sequential order, you start at the beginning and go step-by-step, in a logical or chronological order, to reach a conclusion. Young children just learning this skill begin their sentences with First, Next, Then, and Last; older children do not necessarily need those key words.

Reading fluency is the ability to read quickly and accurately. A person with good reading fluency is able to comprehend more because they instantly group and recognize words. Doing this instantly frees up the brain for comprehending what is actually being read. Good reading fluency will help people learn more and excel at school or on the job. It is common for people to struggle with reading fluency. There are, however, specific training programs that allow an individual to strengthen their reading fluency.

Read A Book; Watch The Movie And Inspire Discussion

A school break can be an ideal time to read more books and watch more movies-and if you coordinate this kind of fun into a family activity, there may be far more benefits for your children than what first meets the eye.

“Watching a movie gives children and adults an opportunity to discuss the content together, covering its events, dilemmas and moral implications,” says Dr. Andrea Pastorok, educational psychologist for Kumon Math and Reading Centers. “Moreover, reading a book based on a movie provides opportunities to revisit the tale in another format. This combination sharpens boh comprehension and decoding abilities, two of the most important skills for future academics and for life.”

Reading the book first is recommended so that children use their imagination to bring the story, characters and scenes alive. On the other hand, the movie may spark a child’s interest to read the book, so a little parental flexibility on this could achieve the same goal.

Most story lines contain conflicts or problems. Dr. Pastorok recommends using them as points of discussion with your child. “Talk about the conflict of the various characters by asking: ‘How would you handle that dilemma?’ Also, ask your child which version of the story he or she likes best, and why,” she says.

Dr. Pastorok also suggests choosing titles from Kumon’s Recommended Reading List, which pairs some of the most popular books with their corresponding movies:

• “Charlotte’s Web”

• “Jumanji”

• “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”

• “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”

• “The Wizard of Oz”

• “Pippi Longstocking”

• “Alice in Wonderland”

• “The Secret Garden”

• “A Wrinkle in Time”

• “Clifford the Big Red Dog”

• “Curious George”

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Audio Books – 5 Frequently Asked Questions

My friends and colleagues consider me as the audio books expert. They tell their friends that they know an audio books expert and the outcome is that I keep getting dozens of audio books questions and inquiries each day. I have decided to gather the most frequently asked questions for everyone’s benefit.

Here are the top five frequently asked questions about audio books (and the answers of course):

1. Are there free audio books? How do I get them?

In one word: NO. In two words: Not exactly. Depends of the type of audio book you are looking for (downloadable audio book are cheaper than the other types), and the audio book title (new audio books cost more), you could find low cost audio books.

I believe that one should pay for each product or service he gets. Yet, you could find free audio books mostly by signing up for the free trials most of the online audio book services give you.

2. What is better – Audio books rental or audio books buying?

I personally prefer audio books rental. Mostly because of the price – I read a lot of audio books and it will simply cost too much to buy them all. However, audio books that I really like, Ones that I want to listen to time after time, I buy and keep them on my audio books library.

Yet, I have friends who are more possessive – they are not willing to rent audio books and they must hold a remarkable huge audio book library.

3. What do you suggest – downloadable audio books, audio books on CD or books on tape?

Well, that’s a tough question. Basically, I believe that the most worthy audio books format nowadays is downloadable audio books. You must own a media player (e.g. Ipod) to listen to it. Yet, it costs less than the others and has a better quality.

However, the widest collection of audio books could be found on the audio books on CD format. If you want to listen to old books you will find them only on CDs.

I do not recommend getting books on tape (also known as audio books on cassettes). They are expensive, low quality and not user friendly.

4. When can I read audio books?

The answer is – Anytime and anywhere. Here are a few examples: While cooking, cleaning the house, exercising, running, walking, driving, flying, before going to sleep, commuting, working etc.

5. Are audio books expensive?

Audio books are not expensive at all. In fact, Downloadable audio books are very cheap – they cost much less than real books and renting them is the most worthy deal. Audio books on CD cost about the same as real books and books on tape are the most expensive ones.

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