7 Keys to Improve Comprehension

Read to Understand!

Reading is more than just turning pages and sounding out words. Successful readers, those who read well or enjoy reading, actively engage with the text as they create meaning.

The 7 Keys to Improve Comprehension focus on how we, as sophisticated readers, develop the fluent-comprehending skills – sometimes referred to as the higher order reading skills – which allow us to engage with increasingly challenging texts. This is an key goal for young readers, who can often read the words on the page but may still struggle to create understanding or ,simply put, “get it.”

Child reading

“If your child begs to you “keep reading,” chances are good she comprehends. If she laughs at the funny parts and cries at the sad parts, most likely she’s making meaning. If she pulls out books to get information about zebras, cats, dogs, stars, it’s a very good sign that she’s on the road to understanding. If your child is engaged and entertained by books and pleads to be read to, most likely she “gets it.”

– Susan Zimmermann (7 Keys to Comprehension: How to Help Your Kids Read It and Get It!)

The Seven Strategies.

Visualizing (Create Mental Images)

Good readers create images  as they read, and they become emotionally involved with what they read. These images are not just visual but can include the other senses.

Connecting (Use Background Knowledge)

Before, during and after reading good readers will tap into their prior knowledge. This will add to their understanding of what they are reading.

Questioning (Ask Questions)

Before, during and after reading good readers will generate questions.They will seek to  make predictions, clarify meaning and focus on what is important.

Inferring (Make Inferences)

Good readers use their prior knowledge and the information they gather as they read to develop their understanding of the text. They will make predictions, create questions, seek answers, draw conclusions and generate interpretations.

Summarizing (Determine the Most Important Ideas or Themes)

Good readers can distinguish between important and unimportant information. As they read  they will identify the key ideas or themes.

Synthesizing (Synthesize Information)

As they read good readers will track their thinking as it evolves. This will enable them to  develop their understand of the overall meaning.

Using fix up strategies

Good readers are aware of when they understand and when they don’t. If they have trouble understanding specific words, phrases or longer passages, they use a wide range of problem-solving strategies including skipping ahead, rereading, asking questions, using a dictionary and reading the passage aloud.