The best tutors use an evaluation and assessment to determine how to use these nine fundamental reading comprehension activities to support children.
- Logographic representation
- Wide reading
- Keyword identification
- Think Alouds
- Intensive Reading
- Extensive Reading.
If your third-grade child is behind in reading by more than one grade, they may be held back. This is scary, and we look for ways to help our kids be successful. That’s why the federal government instituted the Third Grade Reading Law.
Reading Comprehension has a pyramid-like structure, and this triangle has five subcategories of comprehension. These five subcategories become more potent as students improve in each area. The pyramid is built on the ground of letter recognition and connects those letters and letter combinations with sounds. The first of these five subcategories is vocabulary. The pyramid’s base is built on letter recognition, called lexical (linguistic) comprehension. The larger and richer a child’s language, the better reader they will become. You can do three activities with your child to improve their vocabulary: logographic representation, front-loading, and wide reading.
- Logographic representation uses a visual or a “logo” to represent a word. For example, if students were learning the meaning of “sizzle,” they would write the definition and draw or identify an image of a piece of meat on the grill. This technique is particularly effective in helping students to understand and remember new vocabulary words, especially when dealing with abstract or complex concepts. Similarly, for a word like “frustration,” students might draw a picture of a person pulling their hair out or banging their head against a wall. By providing a visual or “logo” for a word, students can more easily make connections between the word and its meaning.
This approach can benefit visual learners, students with learning differences, and English language learners. In addition, parents, teachers, and other educational professionals can help students build a more robust and meaningful understanding of the language by providing a visual representation of new vocabulary words.
- Front-loading vocabulary identifies potential words that students would struggle with and provides definitions before reading. Then, tutors would discuss the word’s meaning with their students before they read the text. By providing definitions and discussing the implications of these words beforehand, students are better prepared to understand the text and engage with it more deeply.
This strategy is fantastic for students who need help with reading or have limited prior knowledge of a topic. By providing the vocabulary, they need to understand the text. Therefore, they are better equipped to comprehend the material and connect the new information and what they already know.
By introducing new words in a meaningful context, students are more likely to remember them and be able to use them when writing and speaking. This can lead to more tremendous success in both academic and real-world settings.
Wide Reading and Literal comprehension
- Wide reading is an additional reading done outside of class. It’s eclectic reading at a student’s reading level. The tutor gives brief definitions of unfamiliar words.
Once understood at the lexical level, they move to the second of the three reading comprehension levels. Literal comprehension is the middle of the reading comprehension pyramid. Literal comprehension is the “Get Smart, Just the Facts Ma’am” level of understanding where students can answer the four questions (Who, What, When, and Where)
- Essential word identification is locating the vocabulary in the text that carries the most meaning. Then, students can underline or highlight these words as they read and return to them later when answering questions.
- Scanning is looking for a predetermined piece of information within the text. For example, the student may be looking for the definition of the word “scan” and would move their eyes over the page looking for the keyword “scan,” pause there and see if the definition followed. If not, they would continue through the text until they locate that information.
- Skimming is similar to scanning because students aren’t looking for the nitty gritty. Instead, students are trying to get the broad strokes of the material being read. At the end of skimming, students should have the main idea of that particular chunk of material that they are reading.
Think Alouds – Intensive and Extensive Reading
Once children have a strong vocabulary foundation and are proficient at the middle of the pyramid with literal comprehension, they are ready for the top of the pyramid. Unfortunately, the top of the pyramid is so high it’s peaking into the clouds. This is because it’s the highest level of reading comprehension. There are three types of reading comprehension at the top of the pyramid: interpretive, applied, and affective comprehension. Three activities tutors can use to enhance the higher level reading skills of interpretive, applied, and affective comprehension are Think Alouds, intensive reading, and extensive reading.
- Think Alouds are tutor lead and involve the tutor reading aloud and explaining what’s going on in their head as readers. This strategy can help struggling readers identify areas in which they can improve.
- Intensive reading involves diving deep into the literal meaning of the text. With intensive reading, students seek to gain information they can use later. An example would be reading a school science textbook.
- Extensive reading entails reading a broad range of material. The difference is students ask themselves interpretative, applied, and affective comprehension questions. These questions involve character motivation, feelings, and reasons for actions. They analyze the text to extract themes and meanings.
A pyramid is an easy way to visualize the different subcategories of reading comprehension. At the base is lexical comprehension, in the middle is literal comprehension, and at the top are interpretive, applied, and affective comprehension. The best tutors use the nine reading activities, three at each level of the pyramid, to help your child become a better reader.