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"Testing" for reading comprehension- Does that feel like scrutiny?

When we take that approach, are we making the child feel like they are being scrutinized? If that's how they feel, then definitely it's not a great feeling. Worse, no one tells them how to do better but gives a red mark indicating lack of something.


Have you been told that your child does not write enough detail in response to reading comprehension questions? Does not use information from the text or does not quote information from the text? This feedback typically could indicate lack of context. Children tend to express themselves without giving context. Since they know the context, they don't feel the need for giving the reader or listener context.

What could be the issue with reading comprehension?

More than one if you take notice.

a) Not adept at reading in the first place: Some children take time to pick up on reading and need a lot of support to pick up. When that is lacking, they find themselves lagging behind as they move to higher grades. To make up they try to guess the words. Sometimes this process leads to the child reading the word completely wrong and even worse not knowing what it means. Here is an example. An eight year old lagging behind in reading ability read the word 'shell' in a level 2 book as 'slave'. When asked how he decided that the word 'shell' should be read as 'slave', he had no answer. When encouraged to use the phonic rules that he is familiar with, he read the word correctly. Without that assistance, he would have read the word "shell" as "slave", not understood what it means and moved on. Later when quizzed, his answers may not have made any sense. He would be branded as a child who needs to improve his reading comprehension skills. The parents would be told that he must read more to enhance his comprehension abilities. What is missing in that advice is the role of the parent- it is making reading level appropriate books more easily available and more importantly making the time for fun reading every single day. That would help build a positive connection with reading in general which is so crucial for reading comprehension.

b) Making sense of the teacher's feedback in a productive way: A young reader and I chose to document our thoughts while reading a book together. His responses were apt and easy for me to understand simply because I was reading the same book with him. However, for someone who does not know the context in which his thoughts were written, his response to a leading question would be hard to understand. Could this be the reason for feedback from the teacher that reads in the lines of, "Does not provide information from the text to support the answer."

access to books the key to enhancing reading comprehension

c) Lots of practice: As children grow, their reading material must also grow. More and more opportunities to enjoy reading must be made available. This could be in terms of reader's notebooks, book clubs, discussions with peers etc. Above all, easy access to books.

d) Buying books for your child? that's good, but don't fret if they choose to abandon a book: Good children's literature sometimes becomes a little expensive. It is only natural to feel upset if your child puts the book away, refusing to read it and instead demands a new book. Refusing to read a book typically means that either the subject matter of the book is not absorbing enough or it is too high. Try a good library subscription instead for hassle free reading experiences and in the process raise a happy reader.


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Both weekday and weekend batches are available at the Young Readers' Club. While this program is for the 8-12 age group, the Young Writers' Club program for the 13-15 age group offers a weekly platform to read and discuss curated articles from the news, observe writing approaches and practise one's writing skills.

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