As expanding multimedia channels children become objects of a growing level of information from everywhere, reading has been replaced in many cases with other stimuli. Despite tablets and e-readers, kids just don’t read as much these days. As a result, the development of reading comprehension has consequently dropped.
These facts are worrying because the importance of reading and reading comprehension has not fallen. In a worrying statistic, experts estimate that around two-thirds of students who reach fourth grade without mastering reading comprehension may experience poor performance and poor self-esteem. The experts give us some positive news too. Those children who develop strong literacy skills get better grades, have better attendance, and enjoy school more. As adults, literate children will fill better jobs, enjoy higher incomes, and even experience low cognitive decline at a later age.
The complex process of reading
Reading is one of the most complex processes in the human brain, in which we decipher symbols (letters) to derive meanings. Much more than words on a page, reading involves experiences of the mind, knowledge of languages, beliefs, attitudes, and worldview. Beyond simply word recognition and sentence comprehension, the reader must be able to place what he or she reads in a context that makes sense. The only way to master reading is through practice, but even extensive reading practice does not guarantee effective reading comprehension development. A discussion about what young students read helps them expand their comprehension skills.
The importance of reading comprehension
As adults, we read for many reasons. We read for pleasure or to learn about current events. We read to increase or gain skills and abilities. We often read in the course or in the context of our work. Unless we are able to understand what we read however, we have little hope of achieving any of these goals. For children, the risks are even greater. Learning is cumulative, especially for young children, and each new piece of information builds on what was before it. For learning to progress, your child must effectively understand what he reads.
A common problem today in schools and workplaces is known as functional illiteracy, in which an individual has the ability to read, but, in understanding is poor, has little or no reading comprehension or the value that is wins is deficient.
Help Your Child Increase Reading Comprehension
Parents and guardians can help a child increase his reading comprehension skills in many ways. Talking to the child about her understanding of what she has just read is important, but the process can begin even before the child opens the book. Look at the title with him and discuss what the book may be suggesting. Ask him what he or she already knows about the topic, or what he or she thinks you can learn. Encourage him to talk about passages or concepts that confuse him. Lastly, I ask that you relate what you read to your own experiences. You can find a wide variety of helpful instructional programs to improve your child’s reading comprehension. This is important for beginning readers, and also for struggling young readers.