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Reading Comprehension Tools: 5 Tips for Early Development

reading comprehension

Why we need Reading Comprehension tools!

Reading the words is one thing, but teaching students to READ with MEANING is so much more! Whether you're developing reading comprehension IEP goals and objectives or are just looking for reading comprehension strategies for elementary students, I came up with 5 quick tips for developing reading comprehension tools for the earliest readers.

When my son started reading at age 2, it was a fun circus trick. But at the time, he didn't have the language skills for the words he was reading to mean anything. That took time and work. As his language skills improved and his social awareness increased, his ability to understand and apply what he was reading also improved. 

Reading words is, yes, about decoding and building sentence structure, but it's also integrating world knowledge and connections and social prowess and all sorts of stuff. 

So, we gotta start young! Here are 5 tips to promoting reading comprehension in your youngest readers!

reading comprehension, reading meaning, understanding

1. Read Aloud​

One of the first reading comprehension tool is to simply take turns from the earliest age. Use silly voices, hear and fix pronunciation errors. Teach your student to recognize when things don't sound right. When you read to them, make silly errors and let them correct you! Always have “reading is meaning” in your mind! 

2. Use Visual Aids

Visual aids like picture books (<–I love these ones!) are perfect starters. You can also use communication visuals or sock puppets and stuffed animals to reenact what you read. Teach your student to use the picture to extract meaning from the text. It also makes reading more fun!

3. Encourage Predictions

I love this strategy for strengthening early reading comprehension skills! This promotes understanding but also language development and social emotional learning! My book, I Get it!, is largely about this. “What do you think he'll do?” and “What might happen next” and “Where do you think she's going?”

You can use this strategy from the very first board books with minimal to no words to Harry Potter! Get students thinking about the meaning behind what they read and what they see and how it connects to them.

social thinking reading comprehension
Check out the book here!

Or see Michelle Garcia Winner talking about it here.

Check out this FREE simple reading comprehension activity

4. Discuss Vocabulary

Vocabulary will promote language development as well as reading comprehension tools. Stop on unfamiliar words and have your student make a smart guess on what it means. If you can write your own passages, throw in unfamiliar OR nonsense words and let them find them and try to figure them out. Promotes reading comprehension and makes reading fun!

5. Reflect and summarize

At the end of even a simple and short reading, match the student's language ability and ask appropriate reflecting questions. Could be as simple as “Who was in the story” and “Where did they go?” or more complex “Why do you think she did that?” Make connections to the student's own life. “Do you remember when YOU lost a tooth?” This solidifies understanding of the text.

reading comprehension, reading meaning, understanding

In the end, whether you're parenting or teaching a child just learning to read or one with diverse needs who may be struggling, building your reading comprehension tool belt will hopefully help bringing meaning to the words and make reading fun! 

Check out some reading comprehension learning tools!

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