How to Make Young Learners Read and Understand What They Read

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According to socio-economist Randall Bell, author of  Me We Do Be: The Four Cornerstones of Success, people who read seven or more books every year are more likely to be millionaires. Their chances of succeeding in life are higher than those who never read or only read one to three books a year.

And the best time to build great reading habits is in childhood. Reading stimulates the imagination of children and increases their understanding of the world. They develop language and listening skills and understand text better. If you’re a teacher or a tutor and want your students to be successful in life, enhance their reading skills by doing this. However, it can be a challenge for teachers or parents wanting to learn how to improve reading comprehension for their learners.  Here are a few ideas to help you out:

  1. Make Your Students Read Every Day So They Can Fall In Love With Reading

Students who read every day perform better at school because they understand concepts better. They score higher in all subject areas and have greater knowledge than their non-reading peers. They also take the skills they have honed through reading--like analytical thinking skills and greater focus--into adulthood, setting themselves up for success.

Independent reading time is crucial in any reading program because it gives students a chance to put together everything they’ve learned. But it can only be fruitful if they really spend that time reading. Provide a rich class library, make sure your students read for the entire period, and hold them intellectually accountable for what they read. 

They will become lifelong independent readers. If you’re wondering how to improve reading comprehension, here’s one way to go about it: get students to write about what they read after independent reading time. Give them a targeted question to help unlock their comprehension. 

  1. Make Prompting the Norm

Think about it. How many open-ended questions do you ask students after they read? Open-ended questions allow students to include more information, like their feelings, attitudes, and understanding of the subject. This allows you to better understand their true feelings. 

However, open-ended prompting isn’t the norm in most schools. It’s so unusual that when a teacher does it, students change their answers because they think they got the answer wrong. If your goal is to promote discussions around reading, don’t let this be the case. Prompting can help your students learn problem-solving skills and articulate their thinking.

  1. Choose the Right Reading Material

400 Lexile level books aren’t created equally. For example, your young learners may be able to understand stories with one main character but struggle understanding a story with multiple characters with different points of view. To increase your students’ reading comprehension, start with 400L text books with many pri­mary characters. Don’t get a book with only one protagonist. Also, make sure you pick a book that builds the right skills in your students.

Reading ability greatly determines success in later life. One study showed that the reading ability of 7-year-olds can be used to estimate their income 35 years later! So, if you want your students to make it in life, teach them how to read and to understand what they read.

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