Ways to Improve Reading Comprehension

This Reading Mama lists 5 simple ways to improve reading comprehension and  her experience in using SNAP Learning to meet comprehension goals.

For children who struggle as readers (and even for those who don’t), comprehension is a big deal. And it starts from the very beginning. Before kids even open the book, we need to encourage them to think about what they are going to read. We can ask them to read the title or look at the cover, maybe even the Table of Contents. What is the topic? What do they already know about the topic? What do they think will happen in the story, based off what they know?

Using background knowledge is also vital as the child reads the text. What would I do in that situation? Has that happened to me before? I remember the time that… These thought patterns rely on what the child already knows to help them comprehend and make sense of the text.

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Top 10 Tips for Summer Reading


Summer is here! Are your kids reading? Kids need to read during the summer to help prevent the “summer slide”. Outlined below are ten ways to get your child reading more over the summer.


  1. Visit your public library weekly. Take part in your library’s summer reading program. Get to know your children’s librarian or youth librarian. Use them as a resource to help your child find books that will engage them.
  2. Bring a book with you everywhere! There so much time to sneak reading in everywhere we go. The park, the doctor’s office, and while waiting in line at the post office are all places where reading time is alive and well if children are prepared with a book.
  3. Vary fiction and nonfiction. A good balance between the two is important. Children need to know how to read both!
  4. Read about vacation destinations. Taking a vacation this summer? Check out books and websites about where you are visiting. Children having knowledge about where they are visiting will help them enjoy the trip even more.
  5. Get involved in a summer reading program. It is not too late to join in a summer reading program. Check out programs online from Barnes & Noble, Sylvan, and Chuck E. Cheese. Also check out your local public library’s program.
  6. Exchange screen time for book time. If your children want screen time make an exchange for book time. A reasonable exchange rate for most children is 30 minutes of reading for 15 minutes of screen time.
  7. Take advantage of summer nights for family reading and learning. On a warm clear night head outside with a flashlight and a book on constellations. Read under the stars about the constellations and their stories. Then find them in the sky. It may also be a great time for some ghost stories or scary stories.
  8. On a rainy day explore poetry reading and then write poems. It will help the time pass and let kids enjoy some fun on a rainy day.
  9. Plan a trip to the local zoo or museums by reading online about those places. Let your child research the location online. Allow them to read maps and plan a part of your trip. They will feel empowered through their reading skills and ability to make plans for their family visit.
  10. Be a reading role model for your child. Children who see their parents read will know that it is an enjoyable activity and will model that behavior. As your child’s first and best teacher, be the best reading role model you can be!


Ideas to Get Those Boys Reading


It’s no secret that as boys get older they begin to read less than girls.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, teen females have outperformed teen males on reading assessments at a relatively constant rate from 1971 to 2008. By the time students reach middle school, boys are almost one-and-half years behind girls in reading!

Knowing that boys view books and reading differently than girls, here are some ideas you can try to get your boys more interested in reading.

Comic Books: Kids love comic boys and boys especially so. Take them to the comic store more often, or better yet, scavenge through some garage sales for some fabulous comic collections. Let your son know the value in collecting old comics, and soon you’ll have a young reader devouring new words (in addition to the Bams! Pows! and Biffs!).

Non-fiction Subjects: There’s nothing like an active subject interest to get a boy reading.  Motorcycles, trains, rockets, how to build your own ant farm… sometimes exploring interesting non-fiction is a greater adventure than fiction.

Digital Devices: Devices are cools, books are not. So why not combine the two if it will get your boy to practice his reading, comprehension and vocabulary more? Reading apps are available for all age levels, some with fabulous integrated and redeemable reward points. Look for digital reading programs like Snap Learning’s Guided Reading Program which can be chosen by reading level, and incorporates vocabulary and comprehension exercises within the text. The Edmodo Snappiness reading program comes with rewards, badges and a story builder tool as well.

Library Card: Your first library card, in your own name is a moment to cherish. Ensure each of your boys have one too and make a big deal out of it. It is the key to an entire world of knowledge and should be treated as such.

Active Discussion: Reading is more fun when you share. Expressing what you read is integral part of comprehension and vocabulary development. Talk to your boys about their favorite part in the book, or whether they disagreed with anything they read recently. Encourage them to have an opinion and be active thinkers while reading.

With a little focus, boys can be great readers as well. Just remember the words of Plato, “Do not train boys to learning by force and harshness, but lead them by what amuses them, so that they may better discover the bent of their minds.”