- 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)
The ultimate goal for literacy is to comprehend well what one is reading. As one of the Five Pillars of Reading, reading comprehension enables a child to predict outcomes, evaluate characters, deduce, and make connections to real-world events.
A child’s comprehension skills can begin to develop 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.
A child has mastery of reading comprehension when he or she can:
Key Comprehension Strategies for Students
When reading, comprehension begins as the student identifies the initial meaning from previewing a text or source material. It builds as one continues to read through predicting, making inferences, synthesizing, and seeking answers.
Once reading is done, the student creates a deeper understanding of the text by reviewing, going over parts of the text, discussion, and reflection while also relating these 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 their existing knowledge, which includes their own experiences, other texts they have read, and what they know of the world.
Asking questions – Students ask themselves questions as they go through the text, including how they feel towards what they are reading and the author’s purpose. This helps the reader process and summarize information and identify main ideas and underlying meanings.
Visualizing – Students create mental images of the printed word to understand events and situations in the text. Studies show that visualizing allows readers to have better recall of what they have read.
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 and themes; compare and contrast ideas; determine problems and solutions; summarize; list steps in a process; and recall information that answer specific questions.
Making inferences – Students take clues from the text and combine it with their background knowledge and identify answers to underlying themes.
Synthesizing – Students are able to use new information in combination with existing knowledge to create original ideas or new perspectives.
For students to learn these comprehension strategies, modeling, practice, supervision, and feedback must be provided. Read more about Brooklyn Letters’ reading comprehension tutoring program.
Likewise, listening and processing what is being said and read is essential for academic success. But sometimes, difficulties understanding spoken and written language can also indicate a receptive language disorder. This involves difficulties in processing messages and information that one receives, whether through listening or reading. It is not a disorder of hearing, e.g. hearing loss.
Before an individual can use language to communicate (expressive language), one must first understand and grasp spoken language. That is why most children with receptive language disorder also struggle with expressive language. This is called mixed receptive-expressive language disorder.
(Find out more about receptive and mixed receptive-expressive language disorder.)
There are also instances when listening comprehension difficulties are caused by a central auditory processing disorder. This involves problems in processing speech or verbal information when presented with noise. The brain fails to assign the correct meaning to the words one hears and does not identify the subtle differences in them. Like receptive language disorders
Central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), also known as auditory processing disorder, refers to difficulties in processing speech or taking in verbal information when presented with noise. The brain fails to assign the correct meaning to the words an individual hears and does not identify the subtle differences in them. The condition is not related to hearing problems or intelligence. However, it may coexist and overlap with other disorders such as ADHD, language disorders, and learning disability.
(Find out more about the signs of a central auditory processing disorder and how to treat it.)
At Brooklyn Letters, we specialize in working with students who have difficulties processing language, students with reading comprehension difficulties, students diagnosed with dyslexia, and students with auditory processing difficulties.
Our specialized intervention focuses on improving the student’s listening or reading comprehension skills, vocabulary (nouns, action words), grammar (understanding complex sentences, paragraphs, directions), and improving organization to help facilitate what they heard or read.
We let the students know what we’re doing, so they can be part of the process. We also take their interests, strengths, and learning style into account, maximizing effectiveness and ensuring the students don’t get frustrated. After all, we’re not trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.
If your child likes music and flying saucers, let’s incorporate it! Drawing and imaginary animals? For sure! These skills are targeted for remediation during fun activities, and they are also implemented into the student’s curriculum
We have a veritable toolbox of tools to help your child. We teach strategies to facilitate comprehending language, and these include:
using preparatory sets (before reading/hearing a story, activate background knowledge about the material, discussing unfamiliar vocabulary words, making predictions about the material)
using visual aids (e.g. visual and verbal organizers)
understanding story grammar (make story maps – who is the main character, what did the main character do, etc.)
comprehension monitoring to help students be aware when they do not understand what they read or what they heard
repeating information, summarizing, paraphrasing, visual imagery, self-question strategies (e.g. what is the main idea, asking questions after reading or listening to a passage to monitor what they are comprehending, understanding character’s plans and intentions, including creating illustrations)
using imaginary play to act out comprehension
drawing pictures to illustrate understanding of what they are reading or listening
understanding pronouns and connecting pronouns to characters in the stories
understanding word relations and conjunctions (e.g. temporal words such as then, after, etc., and oppositional relation words, such as but, though, etc.)
We take advantage of a variety of techniques and tools that aid in literacy development, including a systematic multisensory approach. ??????????????? discusses evidence based techniques to facilitate literacy development.