Happy Cheetah Reading

The Steps to Reading: Comprehension (Step 4 of 5)

Children who have learned to read have the ability to translate symbols into sense.

“Reading” involves more skills than just identifying the sounds in a word. It’s a multi-layer process. Experts have identified five skills necessary for your children to read well.

So interesting to see what researchers has discovered!

First: know that words are made of distinct sounds.

Second: match the sounds to letters or groups of letters.

Third: gain the ability to read easily and accurately.

In some ways, doesn’t that seem like enough? How can there still be two more steps after fluency?!

That’s what I thought! I mean, once children are fluent, reading becomes easier and easier.

However, just because children can read the words, this does not mean that they understand what they are reading.

The fourth step in learning to read is, thus, comprehension.

Children need to be able to comprehend what they are reading.

The easiest way to check comprehension is to listen to them read aloud. If something they’ve read doesn’t sound right or make sense, they should self-correct.

As a listener, you’ll hear something like this: “We go to, no . . . we like to go to the beach. We jump in the w-, um, . . . in the cool waves.”

When children self-correct like that, it shows that they are comprehending as they read.

Ideally, you won’t ever hear, “We went to the pancake.” Children like to go to the park, and using a word like pancake instead is a giveaway that the reader is not comprehending.

Good readers might make lots of mistakes, but they never lose the meaning.

If your children say a word that is clearly wrong and keep reading, or if they skip a line and don’t realize it, or if they use a finger to mark their place even when they already know the words, or if your children have good fluency but poor comprehension, get their vision checked. In all of these cases, there is some reason that your children are working too hard. A visual acuity test, for 20/20 vision, is not comprehensive. Look for a pediatric optometrist who does a dilation midway through your visit, not at the beginning!

It’s an exciting day when children transition from learning to read to reading to learn!

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