ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Reading Comprehension Skills- How to Help Kids Understand What They Read

Updated on June 21, 2014
Diane Lockridge profile image

Lockridge homeschools her children and holds an EdS in Curriculum and Instruction, an MS in Elementary Education, and a BA in History.

Expose your children or students to more than just fiction books. Non-fiction can be just as exciting, because the stories are real.
Expose your children or students to more than just fiction books. Non-fiction can be just as exciting, because the stories are real. | Source

While some people like to read just for fun, most of the information we read on a daily basis is non-fiction, meaning that it is important information.

Learning how to process information will not only improve the reading and rationalization skills, but it will help students better comprehend what they read, and may even help them yearn to read more often.

So, how can you help students better comprehend what they read?

Read Aloud Together

Studies prove that using multiple senses allow for better comprehension. So, when people look at a words while hearing the same words read aloud, it allows for multiple senses to be in use at the same time.

Reading together with younger children also helps them learn to read better, because it allows them to hear the pronunciation and voice inflection of words. For example, if a student encounters a word he is unfamiliar with he may be able to decipher the word's meaning if he hears how someone else says it in the context of the text.

Hearing how someone pronounces words also helps students who are struggling with phonics as well. If a student doesn't know how to pronounce (and therefore read and understand a certain word) he won't really understand the meaning of the text.

Point Out Contextual Clues

Adults may realize the importance of bold words, subheadings and graphics (such as charts and photos) in a textbook or article, however younger students may not notice them on the page unless they are pointed out.

The old phrase "a picture is worth a thousand words" is true, to an extent. However sometimes photos are not placed correctly near an article or do not correctly depict what is represented in the article itself. (Consider Jay Leno's "Headlines" sketches on "the Tonight Show" where incorrect captions are placed near photos.)

On the other hand, sometimes students can also get so engrossed in a photo itself, and not bother reading the caption below the photo (or the text on the page). Point out contextual clues to students, but bring them back to the actual text, since that is the "meat" of the content.

Video: How to Find Info in a Book

Learn How to Research Using the Parts of the Book

When introducing a new textbook to your students, show them the different parts of the book, such as the glossary, index, table of contents. Helping students learn how to research things for themselves allows them to be independent and better students.

Create Visual Representations

While some people learn best by reading content or listening to people talk, others learn better by looking at visual representations in the form of charts, diagrams, acronyms or pictures.

For example, if the class is reading about something such as World War II, it may be important to create a timeline of events that occurred. You could also create a list of important people, or a list of important terms (and their definitions). Showing a relationship between different people graphically could also help students remember content better.

Breaking up classroom (or silent) reading with note-taking often increases comprehension as it allows students a chance to "digest" what they have read and mull it over for a brief period of time. Writing down information also allows students to make connections and group information together in a way that is personal to them.


If you really want to know if someone understands a topic ask them to summarize it.

Ask students to submit a small essay, give a brief oral report, or draw a diagram or picture that represents the information. Remember, any time a student reviews information and has to process it in a different way, it allows them to comprehend (and therefore retain) information better than if he read the material alone.

Evaluating said summary allows students to know if they comprehend the material correctly, and could allow teachers to re-present material (or ask students to re-read portions of the book) for better comprehension. Teachers can't just expect their students to understand everything the first time, sometimes it is best for students to re-read material in order to really understand it.

© 2011 Diane Lockridge


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)