Reading ComprehensionReading happens in various stages throughout a child’s growth and development, and it varies from child to child. Therefore, it is more important to foster your child’s development and interest in reading than it is to focus on the reading level of your child or what they are reading.


  • Read new words, material, or stories that capture your child’s interest(s).
  • Read riddles or sing songs with them.
  • Help your child read a newspaper story and then discuss it with them.
  • Expose your child to as many authors, texts, and books as possible.
  • Watch your child read, and observe their reaction to the text.
  • Allow your child to read at their own pace, and in their own way.
  • Read together and/or to each other, and have a discussion about what you are reading.
  • Engage your child with the words/text/book by discussing the nuance of the language.
  • Ask your child questions about what they are reading – this is a great way to see how your child is reading and what they are picking up from the text.
  • Connect the story to other ideas or interests to help stimulate thinking skills that most enhance literacy.
  • Provide real world connections to what they are reading to help their minds continue to grow and expand.
  • Model good reading behavior. It is just as critical for children to read as it is for them to see their parents read. When children see their parents read for pleasure, it makes reading seem like less of a chore.
  • Check out the Jeanne Chall Reading Lab webpage via Harvard’s Graduate School of Education website for great tips on language and literacy. Dr. Jeanne Chall was my mentor and trainer when I was a student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. I utilize her approach to reading with all of my clients at Ivy Prep. She remains a great source of inspiration to me and the work I do.

Engaging and interacting with your child when they read allows them to not only develop a connection with the books they read – and with you! – but also to the rest of the world. Books provide us with meaningful context and understanding of life. We shouldn’t be limiting our perspective of the world with narrow, leveled readers, but developing and expanding it with books that help us grow, and challenge us, as readers, and as humans.

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  1. My son is having a little bit of trouble with his reading comprehension, so it will be good to know a few tips that will help. Reading through a newspaper article with him and discussing what it means seems like a great tip. He sometimes asks questions about the headlines that he sees in the paper, so I should take time to read through these articles with him to help improve his reading comprehension.

  2. What a great way to both help your son with his reading comprehension given his interest in the world around him. You can discuss the photos and related blurbs or highlighted quotes as a way to engage his comprehension. Also you and he can predict a few ideas or themes that you and he anticipate the article referencing or expanding upon. You can also discuss how an article or headline relates to an article from the day before or perhaps to an op-ed or editorial that appears that same day on the given topic. Another way that we encourage students to think about the main idea of the article and inferences or their opinions is to ask open-ended but specific questions that target the ‘what’ or meaning of the information that the journalist is reporting (“Had the journalist expected the candidate to stump the same speech in both cities or had he been surprised when the candidate spoke off the cuff about the change in the law?’), as well as the ‘so what’ or significance of the details (“Do you think, based on how the crowd reacted, that the campaign manager will encourage that or want the candidate to stick to a prepared speech in the future? What would you recommend if you were the campaign manager, and and why?’) Also, you may want to keep in mind that there are simplified (print and online) magazines designed for English as a Second Language (ESL) students or younger children that keep the content level high but control for language so that the sentences are less difficult to read. Since reading a newspaper is an example of ‘reading to learn,’ it may be that using a more streamlined text will enable your son to practice and enjoy his newspaper experience…. and in time he can move onto a more sophisticated version. I look forward to hearing about how this works out and if you and your son identify other ways to use the newspaper articles that we can share with other readers of the blog.

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