Reading Comprehension for 5th Grade Students

By the 5th grade, some students are reading fluently, but many still struggle with reading comprehension. There are things that you can do as a parent to improve your child's reading comprehension in the 5th grade. Read on to find out more.

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Helping Your 5th Grader Practice Reading Comprehension

What's Expected of 5th Grade Readers

What your 5th grader needs to know depends on your location and what kind of school your child attends. Reading requirements can vary from a public school to a specialized private school. However, most school curriculums follow similar reading standards.

In the 5th grade, your child will most likely be required to know the difference between genres and be able to recognize literary devices. Your 5th grader will not only need to be able to comprehend individual texts, but also compare and contrast different texts to each other. By the end of the school year, your child will be required to read poetry, stories, plays and books independently and understand them.

How Frequent Reading Helps

One of the best ways your child can improve his or her reading comprehension is by reading frequently. Fifth graders who read for pleasure have many opportunities to practice comprehension skills. If you engage your child in discussions about the books he or she is reading, you will give him or her the chance to think about and interact with the text. A fun family activity is to read the same book and have a family book club.

Increasing Your Child's Vocabulary

Without a strong vocabulary, it can be especially difficult to comprehend literature. Help your 5th grader's vocabulary grow every day by teaching words directly. Create word lists and vocabulary flashcards and help your child memorize them.

Another way that your child can learn words is by deciphering what they mean in context. Sit with your child and highlight the words that he or she doesn't know. Together, you and your child can use the other words in the text and the process of elimination to figure out meaning. The more you do exercises like this with your child, the easier it will become for your child to learn words alone.

Useful Tools and Resources

Your child can use reading comprehension tools from a number of websites to interact with text. Many of these tools are free and will give your child the opportunity to organize, sequence and summarize literature. Many sites provide practice with vocabulary, sentence structure and paragraph structure.

If you're concerned about the reading portions of 5th grade English/language arts standardized tests, practice and sample tests are available online and elsewhere. Check with your state's Department of Education or your child's school. Such exams usually are comprised of multiple-choice questions following passages of text. Comprehension is a major area that most of these 5th grade standardized tests address.

If your child needs extra help with comprehension, there may be after school, weekend or summer programs that he or she can attend. Some of these may be at your child's school, the local library or a community center. You can also hire a one-on-one, private or online reading tutor to help your 5th grader.

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