Three Easy Ways to Increase Reading Comprehension
Copyright 2005 Adam Waxler
The primary purpose of reading is comprehension, or
understanding. Unless you comprehend what you read you might as
well be reading a different language.
Unfortunately, for many students school reading may actually
seem like a different language. That's okay - by using various
teaching strategies teachers can greatly increase their
student's reading comprehension.
Today, more and more teachers realize that reading is not the
sole responsibility of the language arts teacher. However, many
teachers struggle to come up with ways to actually increase
reading comprehension in the classroom.
The key to increasing reading comprehension is to tap into
students' prior knowledge about a topic before actually reading
about the topic. There are many ways teachers can go about
tapping into students prior knowledge such as Venn diagrams, KWL
Charts, and prediction strategies.
1. Venn diagrams - while Venn diagrams are usually used after
reading as a way to compare and contrast something the students
just read about, Venn diagrams can also be a great tool to use
before reading as a way to increase reading comprehension. For
example, students can create a Venn diagram on the similarities
and differences between the North and the South at the beginning
of the U.S. Civil War. Prior to the reading the students can
create their Venn diagram based on what they already know about
the topic. From there the students can pair up and share their
Venn diagrams to further build on their background knowledge.
Once the Venn diagram is completed the students can then read
about the topic. After the students complete the reading they
should go back and check their Venn diagram, make corrections,
and add any new information. By encouraging the students to
think about the topic prior to reading the assignment, the
students will increase their reading comprehension.
2. Prediction Strategies - another way to tap into students
prior knowledge and increase reading comprehension is to have
students make predictions about the topic prior to reading.
There are many different types of prediction strategies a
teacher can use to increase reading comprehension. Here is an
example of a simple prediction strategy: