8 Reading Strategies That Improve Students’ Comprehension
If there is one thing all teachers can agree on, it’s that many students could use help with reading comprehension. The best way to improve reading comprehension is to read – and read some more. But what can you do if students are struggling with comprehension?
Teachers can hold focused mini-lessons on specific reading strategies. Depending on the students’ needs, teachers may select different strategies.
There are eight core reading strategies that will help students improve their reading comprehension. Each one will help students in different ways. In this post, we will give a short summary of each reading strategy.
(For more information, you can click the links to longer posts that focus on just one strategy.)
8 Reading Strategies To Help Your Students’ Comprehension
Visualizing is when students (or adults) make a picture in their mind’s eye about what they are reading. This visualization helps with comprehension because it requires the reader to use all of their senses to create a picture.
I loved teaching visualization because it feels exciting for students. Who doesn’t love to use their imagination?
There are many ways you can teach visualization in your classroom and many books that are just perfect for practice.
Click on the image to learn more.
We have students in our classroom that do the same thing. Many of them will fly through a passage but be unable to tell you what the passage meant. For these students, you want to teach them the strategy of questioning.
When you teach students to ask questions about what they are reading, you are helping them to slow down and think about what they are reading.
Click on the image to read more about questioning.
3. Main Idea
Along with teaching students to ask questions, students need to know how to find and understand the main idea of a text. What good is it for students to be able to read quickly without being able to tell you the purpose of the text?
Finding the main idea of a text can be difficult for some students – everything seems important. These students need help identifying the core points in their reading. When I researched teaching the main idea, I found three easy steps to use.
Click on the image to learn how to find the main idea in a simple and effective way.
4. Nonfiction Text Features
Do your students have a thorough understanding of text features?
I found myself assuming my students had a basic understanding of text features without my teaching it to them – and ended up frustrating both them and myself.
Give your students the opportunity to grow as you teach them nonfiction text features. Identifying these features helps students to both comprehend the text and find specific information.
You can teach nonfiction text features to your students in 3 simple steps. Read more here:
5. Types Of Text Structure
Teaching reading comprehension can be frustrating at times. When it comes time to teach your students about text structures, you may feel like throwing in the towel! There are so many text structures, and it feels like teaching them takes forever.
But you can (and I advise that you do) break up these concepts into manageable chunks for both you and your students.
Click on the photo to learn more about teaching text structures.
How do we understand the best way to make an educated guess? How do we intrinsically know to read between the lines?
The answer is simple: we don’t.
One way or another we were all taught the art of inference.
Inference is an integral part of reading comprehension, but it can be difficult to teach students. Many students can get caught up on the apparent ambiguity of inference. With your help, students can become confident in making inferences.
Click on the photo to learn more about how I teach inference to students.
Eventually, the time you spend reading with your students is less about how to read and more about what you are reading. When this happens in your classroom, students will need to start showing you they understand the text.
The easiest way for that to happen is by summarizing. However, just like with the main idea, many students struggle to separate the details and write a short summary.
See the five easy ways I teach summarizing in my classroom by clicking on the photo below.
Do your students know how to synthesize information?
As students develop their reading comprehension, they also have to learn how to combine what they’ve read from various sources with what they already know to gain a fuller understanding of their topic.
Synthesizing can be tricky for some students to figure out, which is why I worked hard to make it as simple as possible.
See my methods for synthesizing information here.
Why Does Using The Right Reading Strategy Matter?
Have you ever asked yourself this question? Don’t most reading strategies get the same results?
I think the answer to this question is a bit complicated. At the end of the day yes, learning any reading strategy can improve reading comprehension. However, it is more effective to analyze what the student needs and focus specifically on that. After all, if students can identify the main idea with ease but cannot synthesize what they have read across multiple texts, it won’t really help them to do a week of practice on main idea.
Reading Strategies Big Bundle
With so much to cover content-wise, I wanted to make sure I was teaching those reading skills the most effectively. Otherwise, I knew I’d keep reteaching the same skills again and again.
Plus, I wanted to take the best practices and create activities that could be used with any book – and reused. Finding new activities to teach a skill was so time consuming – and half the time I didn’t have the book or enough copies to use what I could find.
I created the Reading Strategies Big Bundle to help you support your students – while saving your nights and weekends for yourself.
This 8 unit bundle is exactly what you need to teach your students effective reading strategies that they can use for the rest of their lives. These lessons can be used with any book, so they are flexible to use across grades and skill levels – and they can be reused over and over.
Each unit includes one full week of instruction, as well as activities to do in small groups or with a partner, and activities that are done solo.
The Reading Strategies Big Bundle is just what your classroom needs!
Click on the photo to grab yours today.
I hope you find success using these strategies in your classroom too!
Still have questions about reading strategies or our Big Bundle? Email me! I’d love to help!