Top strategies to enhance student reading comprehension

Teachers often lament the fact that their students can’t understand what they are reading. They can ask the students to focus all they want, but the solution to this problem is not so straightforward. This is especially true for middle school students, when the complexity of the subjects goes up a notch. A problem in reading comprehension, if not rectified, can have an adverse effect on students’ academic performance. Moreover, this problem is not limited to struggling or average performing students in a class, but even the best student in the class may struggle with understanding what they read. Thus, it is a more pervasive problem than we would like to admit. 

Nowadays, schools are actively working towards modernizing their teaching and management styles by employing the help of various educational tools such as smart classes, LMS, and likewise. Teachers can make use of these educational tools in actively working towards enhancing student reading comprehension. While some students might be struggling with limited vocabulary, others might not be able to understand the dense information presented in a compact form in their textbooks and yet others might not be able to concentrate on what they are reading. The point is, every student may have different learning needs, and teachers need to provide them personalized attention in order to help them overcome their difficulties with reading comprehension. Below are a few maxims of teaching that an educator needs to follow in order to improve the student reading comprehension in their classroom….

Provoke Questions-

This is a great way of teaching your students to read between the lines and critically examine the crux of the matter. Instead of rushing through the reading material, ask your students to pause and generate questions based on what they just read. Questions can range anywhere from their interpretation of what they just read to their prediction of what might happen in the future based on the text and likewise. In this way, you can get your students to learn how to focus on the central idea of the passage and get them to be more engaged with the passage. Furthermore, once the students have completed their reading, you could ask them to then go back and generate questions. This will help them in looking at the reading material with a different perspective and help them in getting a better understanding of it. 

Read the material aloud-

By reading the text aloud in the classroom, educators can teach their students the correct way of reading to understand exactly what the author wants to convey to the readers. Students often struggle to pay attention to the text structure, punctuation and other elements of language which are essential in getting a thorough understanding of the text. Thus, it helps educators to model correct reading etiquette in students. Furthermore, while reading the text aloud, teachers should take regular stops in between to check if the students are understanding it. After reading aloud, teachers can also encourage class discussion which will help the students in making key connections. 

Paying attention to the structure of text-

Asking the students to pay attention to the structure of the text can be a great way of improving their reading comprehension. Students who struggle can be greatly benefitted by perusing through the headings and subheadings in the reading material. Ask them to pay attention to any visual cues present in the reading material which might help them in getting a sense of what the text is all about.

Context clues-

Context clues are the hints provided by the writer of the text. While encountering new words, students need to be able to decipher it’s meaning in the context of the passage, based upon the words or phrases directly before or after the said word. Understanding context clues is half the battle in improving one’s reading comprehension as it is not practical to look up each word one stumbles across, in the dictionary. However, students need to put in some work if they hope to get better at understanding context clues, and as a teacher this is what you should be pushing them towards. 

Reading comprehension is an important skill which directly or indirectly affects not just a student’s academic performance, but also their success and quality of life long after they have left their school. By using the teaching strategies outlined here, educators can help in improving the student reading comprehension in their classroom.

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