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How To Teach Reading Comprehension To School-Age Children

Medically reviewed by Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS · Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Sep 06, 2022

    How To Teach Reading Comprehension To School-Age Children

    The ability to understand written words is called reading comprehension. When kids understand what they read, words are not just words – they become thoughts and ideas that make reading informative, exciting, and enjoyable. Good reading comprehension will not only help your little one have a fulfilling life in school, but they can also take it with them in the years to come. In this article, we’ll talk about some tips on how to teach reading comprehension to children. 

    1. Choose Reading Materials They Are Interested in

    The first step in teaching reading comprehension to children is to make sure they have an interest in the material. Important factors to consider include font size, color, thickness of the book, pictures, and of course, whether they are for leisure or academic purposes.

    Most kids are fascinated with stories, so choosing a book is not really a big problem. Still, don’t forget to explore more options by showing them books about history, science, or even math. 

    Just a quick reminder though: Even if you want to widen their reading horizons, make sure that the material is age-appropriate. It’s not a good idea to choose books that are way too advanced for them as they might associate reading with something difficult. If this happens, they might develop a general dislike for the activity. 

    2. Ask Questions

    Asking questions is a classic way to teach reading comprehension to kids. 

    While they are reading, insert curious questions like Who is the main character?, What do they do?, or Why do you think they did what they did? 

    Also, don’t forget to listen to and observe your little one’s reaction. If they seem sad or angry or excited, ask why they feel that way. If they look confused, ask them if the section is unclear, so you can reread and explain it to them. 

    3. Make Connections

    It’s easier for children to understand what they read when they can relate it to the things they’ve already seen, heard, or experienced. So, if you notice that a portion of the story is relatable, expound on it. Encourage them to recount what happened to them and how they can relate it to the storyline. 

    4. Help Them Visualize

    What better way to understand words than to picture them in your head? You can help them visualize while reading, by initiating what you see in your mind’s eye and then asking them to add details. Alternatively, you can also ask them to draw a memorable event in the story. 

    5. Re-read Books

    To teach reading comprehension to children, don’t hesitate to make them re-read books. 

    Using the same materials repeatedly (with reasonable intervals) allows children to remember words, helping them build fluency, the ability to read smoothly and quickly. 

    6. Don’t Forget The Basics

    Some of the basic steps on how to teach reading comprehension to children are:

    • Ask them to read aloud, especially when they find a particular sentence or line confusing. 
    • Improve their focus by encouraging them to use their fingers when reading. 
    • Remind them to skim the headings. Skimming the heading gives them a better idea of what’s the content of the book or chapter. 

    7.  Watch Out for Signs There’s a Problem

    Do you notice that your child is getting “stubborn” when it’s time to read? Do they give excuses like they want to play some more or perhaps they tell you they don’t want to read? Poor academic performance and a decrease in attention span are also signs to watch out for.

    If that’s the case, check if they have an underlying issue. Sometimes, kids would rather say they don’t want to read than admit that they can’t. Perhaps they need to wear glasses. Or maybe they are experiencing dyslexia, a learning difficulty that involves reading difficulties. 

    The sooner you bring them to the doctor for a diagnosis, the sooner interventions can be made to correct or manage the problem.  

    Learn more about Child Development here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS

    Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Sep 06, 2022

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