Reading comprehension is the ultimate goal of literacy. It allows a child to predict outcomes, evaluate characters, deduce, and make connections between the text and real-world events. A child’s comprehension skills can begin to develop even before becoming an independent reader. One way to do this is by reading to a child and discussing the story’s main idea, characters, and setting.
Explicit teaching, modeling, and guided practice of comprehension skills are also crucial. This is especially true for students whose reading comprehension skills lag behind their peers

Reading Comprehension Tutoring, Brooklyn Letters

Why Reading Comprehension is Crucial for Students

As your child moves up through the grades, their class work relies increasingly on supplemental reading materials for content areas in addition to explicit teaching and lecturing. Good reading comprehension skills is what it is all about. A student with good comprehension skills can:
  • Process and understand events, dialogue, ideas, and information
  • Relate new information to previous knowledge or what they already know
  • Adjust current knowledge in relation to new ideas or information and look at ideas in different ways or standpoints
  • Identify and recall key points in a story or other reading material
  • Understand hidden or underlying meanings (read between the lines)
Yet, teaching reading comprehension strategies continues to receive little attention in the majority of classrooms. This is despite the past 30-plus years of research that has provided proven strategies for students to improve their skills. At Brooklyn Letters, we implement these strategies to advance reading comprehension skills for children and adolescents, at all levels.
Reading Comprehension Tutoring, Brooklyn Letters

How to Improve Reading Comprehension Skills

Comprehension begins as the student identifies the initial meaning from previewing a text or source material and builds as he or she continues to read. Once reading is done, a deeper understanding of the text is achieved by reviewing, rereading portions of the material, discussion, and reflection. Throughout this process, the reader also relates new information to his or her own experiences or current knowledge. Improving one’s comprehension skills can be done through the following strategies:

  • Making connections or using background knowledge – Students relate new information with existing knowledge they acquired from their own experiences, other texts, and real-world events.
  • Asking questions – Students ask themselves questions as they go through the text. This helps the reader process and summarize information and identify main ideas and underlying meanings.
  • Visualizing – Creating mental images or “movies” of what they are reading to better understand events and situations in the text.
  • Determining the importance of a text – This means that a student can differentiate between crucial and interesting information and fact and opinion; identify cause and effect, themes; compare and contrast ideas; determine problems and solutions; summarize; list steps in a process; and recall information that answer specific questions.
  • Making inferences – Taking clues from the text and combining it with their background knowledge and identify underlying themes.
  • Synthesizing – Integrating new information with existing knowledge to create original ideas or new perspectives.
Other activities and strategies that strengthen reading comprehension also include:
  • Predicting
  • Think-alouds (monitoring comprehension)
  • Constructing, revising and questioning meanings made while reading
  • Determining the meanings of unfamiliar words and concepts
  • Monitoring understanding and making adjustments as needed
  • Using different approaches to specific genres of text
  • Paying attention to characters and settings while reading narratives (e.g. understanding story and text structure)
  • Constructing and revising summaries while reading expository text
  • Using graphic and semantic organizers.

Read more about Seven Strategies to Teach Students Text Comprehension.


Visualizing and Verbalizing

Children who have difficulties with reading comprehension will have trouble understanding information they have just read. Visualizing and verbalizing help this process by teaching students to create pictures in their minds. Much like making a mini movie of the text they are reading to visualize the main idea. This is also known as concept imagery.

Visualizing and verbalizing requite learners to apply their real-world experiences and knowledge to create meaning. By making text-to-self connections, it becomes easier for students to process, recall, and describe information using their own words. By drawing from the mental pictures they created, they can also respond to questions that need specific answers. An example of a visualizing and verbalizing exercise would be to ask a student to describe an object or photo that is presented to them. Once the child has gained adequate mastery of this skill, he or she is then asked to describe an object familiar to them but are not in front of them. This may be their favorite toy, a piece of furniture in their room, or a pet. (Read more about concept imagery in the book Visualizing and Verbalizing: For Language Comprehension and Thinking available on
For students to learn these comprehension strategies, modeling, practice, supervision, and feedback must be provided. At Brooklyn Letters, visualizing and verbalizing is one of the many tools and methods we use to help strengthen your child’s reading comprehension skills. We use these strategies and tailor them to your child’s individual needs. We want your child to not only understand what he or she is reading, but to learn to love reading and appreciate the knowledge derived from it. Whether your child is young or an adolescent, we will take the appropriate steps to help him or her become a stronger and more confident reader.

Read more about Brooklyn Letters’ reading comprehension and listening comprehension tutoring.

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