Seventh Grade Reading: How to Help 13 Year Olds with Comprehension Problems

With all of the pressures of seventh grade, reading can be avoided or neglected. However, it is extremely important for kids to develop an appreciation for literature and an understanding of what they read. If your seventh grader is having difficulty comprehending what he or she reads, keep reading for tips on how you can help.

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Ways to Help Your Teen with Reading Comprehension


Before your teen begins reading a text, whether it's a novel or a chapter from a textbook, have him preview the material first. If he knows what he's expected to learn before he even begins reading, the material can seem less intimidating. Your teen should look at the title, subsections, pictures and graphs. He should also look over comprehension questions before reading so that he knows what to look for.


If your teen struggles with identifying the main events of the story, have her stop every couple of pages and give you a summary. Summaries can give students practice with identifying the main events in stories and the main idea in textbooks. The retelling should be no more than a couple of sentences, which will force her to think only about the most important events that have happened so far. Alternatively, she can also write it down, which may be a valuable resource when she has to write an essay - she'll know exactly where to find a quote.


Taking notes can provide your teen with a purpose, which can increase his concentration. Because seventh graders are expected to analyze a text, it can be helpful if your teen keeps track of the literary devices throughout the novel. For instance, he may make a note whenever there is a shift in the point of view. Similarly, keeping track of story elements and character development can help when he has to define the central theme of the story.


Another important aspect of seventh grade language arts is finding quotes to support claims about the text. After completing her reading homework, have your teen pick out a quote that was especially powerful or important to the story. After she reads the quote aloud, ask her to explain its significance in terms of the story as a whole. This activity will not only help your teen become an active reader, but it will also increase her comprehension because she'll be reflecting on what's happened so far in the story.

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