Interventions to Improve Comprehension Skills

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Use these simple reading techniques to improve comprehension skills.

The ability to comprehend or understand what one reads or hears is an extremely important skill to develop for both education and life after school. The ability to read has no value if the read passage cannot be comprehended or understood. When children begin to learn to read, their focus is on decoding and recognizing words. However, as one develops as a reader, one must learn to understand what the text is saying, both explicitly and implicitly.

As students enter middle school and high school, the texts in various subject areas become more difficult. If there is an inability to think about, process, reason and evaluate what has been read, it causes them to either lose interest in reading or places them at a risk for failure.Thus, comprehension becomes essential for success across curriculum and grade levels. Let us look at a few general strategies to use with the whole class to help them improve their comprehension skills:

1. Graphic Organizers

Graphic organizers are useful in helping students of different abilities systematically go through a given text. The use of different types of graphic organizers helps students brainstorm, analyze similarities and differences, understand cause and effect and understand sequences. Students are often able to recall and learn information better with the use of graphic organizers, including individuals with specific learning needs.

2. Activating Prior Knowledge

Teachers can help students activate prior knowledge through questions, cues, and scaffolds while introducing a topic or text. This is an important strategy to improve comprehension skills. Having students answer bell ringer questions at the beginning of class about previous readings can help students remember what they have learned before they move on to something new. This helps students understand the connections between all of their assignments.

3. Question Generation &Analysis

Teaching students how to generate questions based on a given text, to help them explore the text, is an important aspect in improving comprehension skills. Requiring students to come up with three questions after a reading assignment ensures that students begin to think about what they read and possibly dive deeper into the meaning and concepts within the text.

4. Effective Summarization

Teaching students effective summarization skills helps them analyze the text, pick out essential information from it, and synthesize the main ideas in a concise way. Requiring students to summarize a reading assignment demonstrates their level of understanding and forces students to think about what they read in their own words.

Incorporating these simple reading techniques into reading assignments can help students understand and retain information better.


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