pallison85 asks:

8 year old reading comprehension

I have an 8 year old daughter (just turned 8 in March). She is in 2nd grade currently. She is having trouble with reading comprehension. She reads a story and reads the questions associated with the story. She does not seem to understand what the question is asking, and she tends to "guess" a lot of the times.

How can I help her improve her reading comprehension?

She is at a DRM reading level of 20 and should be at 28.
In Topics: Helping my child with reading
> 60 days ago



Lonnie K. Chin
Sep 16, 2013
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What the Expert Says:

Hello Pallison 85!

      Learning how to read is one of the most important and complex skills that children undergo in the beginning of their school career.  Learning to read starts long before kindergarten at home when parents speak with and read to children.  The more children have opportunities to use language and acquire vocabulary through their experiences, the easier time they will have learning how to read, and especially, understanding or comprehending what they read.  Good readers usually have had many opportunities to hear stories and opportunities to question and speak about all kinds of things in their lives.  So, continue to discuss  all kinds of things that happen in your family, around the community, and even around the world.  Prior experiences help build children's store of vocabulary and make it easier for them to make connections in their reading.  

      At second grade, children are building up the basics of decoding words and adding to their store of vocabulary words.  At the same time, children need to use their decoding skills (sounding out words) and names of words (vocabulary) to figure out what the sentence or story is about.  Comprehension or understanding what the words are all about is the ultimate goal of reading.

      Help you child improve his/her comprehension by asking questions about the words and about the story.  What is this story about?  Who are the characters (people) in this story?  What are they doing?  What is happening to them?  When and where does this story take place?  Is this story about factual things (non-fiction) or is it make believe (fiction)?  Is there something wrong; what are they feeling?  What do you think happened before; what do you think happens next?  Do things make sense?  What's funny? What would you do in this situation?  Have you had an experience like this before? How does this story start?  What happens next?  How does it end?  Help your child understand that stories usually have a beginning, a middle and an end.    Oral discussions about stories and daily events help children make connections between actual personal experiences and literature.

      Children often have difficulty with comprehension because they do not understand the meaning of some of the key words in a sentence and/or story.  Help your child learn the various meanings of words and use them in sentences that show the different meanings. For instance, the word "bat" has several meanings: a winged flying mammal that lives in caves, a stick that's used in playing a ball game, or the act of using a stick to hit something, usually a ball.  In this sentence:  "Johnny's parents bought a baseball bat and gloves for his birthday."   What does "bat" mean in the context of this sentence?  Why doesn't it make sense to think that "bat" means a winged mammal in this sentence?   What are the clues that tell you that?  Children should be asking these kinds of questions each time they are trying to comprehend a sentence and/or a story.  
       I hope these suggestions will help your second grader.  Take time to ask questions and discuss possibilities.  Always use context clues to improve comprehension.  Continue to provide experiences to enrich your child's life so that he/she can make connections to what he/she reads.
       Good luck and happy reading!!

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