Reading Comprehension for Elementary School Students

Reading comprehension is one of the most important skills taught in elementary school. Once your child develops strong reading comprehension skills, he or she will be able to read grade-level texts independently. Read on to learn some strategies you can use at home to help your child become a successful reader.

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Overview of Reading in Elementary School

Reading Comprehension Goals

The goal of reading instruction in elementary school is to help your child acquire the skills to read fluently and with good comprehension. Fluent readers read accurately and smoothly, and they also understand what they're reading.

Reading comprehension requires sufficient background knowledge and vocabulary to make sense of the text content. Other aspects of reading comprehension include the ability to think critically about the information and concepts in the text, as well as the motivation to learn to read.

Importance of Motivation to Reading

Your child's motivation to understand and learn from a text is a critical component of reading comprehension. It takes real effort to understand the many textbooks and other forms of complex written material that children encounter as they move through elementary school and into middle and high school. Children need to be appropriately engaged in order to fully apply the skills they have and be motivated to learn more.

How Parents Can Help

You're considered a partner in your child's learning experience. Try to foster a home environment where reading is valued, and where a variety of reading materials are available. Making sure you reinforce the importance of reading at home motivates your child to read for pleasure. Here are some specific activities you can enjoy with your child.

1. While reading picture books with your child, ask him or her to describe what's happening in the pictures and make predictions about what will happen next.

2. Expose your child to as much new vocabulary as possible. Although you may not want to drill young children in vocabulary, you can make sure that your child is exposed to new words in his or her daily life. For example, take your child to a zoo or an art museum so he or she can learn the associated vocabulary.

3. Read a story to your child and ask him or her to create the illustrations. Encourage your child to listen carefully in order to create accurate pictures. Practicing listening comprehension will improve your child's reading comprehension because those skills are related.

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