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How to Teach Kids to Read with Intention and Comprehension


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How to Teach Kids to Read with Intention and Comprehension
by: Priyanka Raha ~7/20/2023


As an educational platform committed to nurturing lifelong learners, we understand the importance of teaching children to read, not just read mechanically, but to read with intent and comprehension. By learning this skill your child doesn’t just learn to read - they learn to understand, analyze, and translate their thoughts into articulate pieces of writing.

Learning to read with comprehension, although complex, is a critical skill that children must learn. It is the cornerstone of all future learning. Reading not only opens up an entire world of imagination, wonder, and storytelling, it cultivates essential cognitive skills like critical thinking and empathy. It is a skill that extends beyond the classroom into the real world. It helps children be active seekers of knowledge and ultimately become lifelong learners.

Like any other skill, reading with comprehension can be taught, acquired, and honed with the right approach, methods, and consistency.

Cultivating a love for books

The first step towards helping children develop reading skills is to cultivate in them a genuine love for books. Start by introducing them to multiple genres of books and letting them choose. In order to help children develop reading skills, it is important to lean into content that they find intriguing in order to build their eagerness to read. This choice and familiarity with the content empowers children to really engage with what they are reading and absorb it. Remember it’s not about how much they read, but how well they understand and engage with the text.

Finding the right content

Learning how to write depends a lot on what the children are reading. As children grow they develop their own interests about what they like to read. It’s important to find books that are one, at the right reading level, and two, cater to their individual interests. This helps in capturing their interest and motivates them to read more. Research shows that learning happens when students can make sense of the new ideas in relation to what they already know. So finding the right books that relate to what children know or like will teach them to read with comprehension.

Encouraging to be active readers

Teach your children to be active readers. Encourage them to ask about a new word they have come across in their reading. Engage in conversations about the stories they are reading and help them connect the events or learnings to their day-to-day lives. Ask open-ended questions that will prompt them to think deeply about the text and express their thoughts about the story or information. These discussions linking to real-world situations help children extend their thinking beyond the book, fostering both understanding and application of what they have read. For younger children, you can model these behaviors while reading with them so one day they can do it independently.

Connecting to reading while writing

A significant aspect and outcome of active reading is that it creates opportunities for your children to respond to what they are reading through writing. Lean into plots from stories to draw inspiration while you are working with your children on their writing projects. You can challenge your child to write about an alternate ending to a story they have read. If it is an informational book they have read, encourage them to journal about their reading. As they write they will need to reflect on the text, thereby deepening their understanding as well as developing their writing skills simultaneously.

Leaning into technology

While reading is a skill that everyone can learn, for some it might be slightly more challenging than others. Fortunately today, we can leverage technology to navigate some of those challenges. E-books, educational apps, and a gamut of online reading platforms provide a more engaging and interactive way to learn how to read. Children can interact with the text in a multi-sensory way - they can hear the words, see the text, and engage with the interactive components which can immensely boost their understanding. Additionally, technology can provide customization features allowing children to learn at their own pace. With the proper guidance and supervision, technology can be a powerful ally in helping children develop robust reading skills and a deeper love for reading.

Reading is not just about recognizing words on a page. Whether or not children are reading fictional stories or informational books, reading is about developing a deeper understanding of the world around us, connecting with our communities, reflecting on ideas, and forming our own opinions. By teaching children to read with intention, you are not only improving their reading and writing skills but also nurturing critical thinkers, effective communicators, and empathetic individuals.
Finding new ways to inspire kids to write and communicate effectively is one of my life’s work which is why I include many fun activities in our writing classes to inspire the next generation of thinkers. Want to learn more about our story writing classes? Check us out here.

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