Strategies for Building Reading Comprehension

Does your child struggle with reading comprehension?

SO many kids do. Mainly due to the fact that good reading comprehension requires so many skills all rolled into one!

First, your child has to be able to accurately read and understand the words on the page. If they don’t know a word, they have to figure out the meaning. Then, they have to be able to understand the content that they read and put it together in their mind so that it makes sense. AND THEN… to top it all off… they have to answer challenging, thought-provoking questions about what they read and explain their ideas in their own words.

Talk about a lot!!

The best way to help your child with reading comprehension is to practice, practice, practice. Below I will share with you some of my favorite strategies for practicing reading comprehension.

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Modeling Good Reading Comprehension

When I say “modeling,” I’m not talking about strutting your stuff in front of the camera.

I’m referring to modeling in the sense that you need to show your child what good reading comprehension looks like. How are they supposed to know what to do without seeing a good example? Model for them how you think through what you read and how that helps you to better understand.

The best way to do this is by “thinking out loud.” As you read a book or article with your child, share your thoughts and questions out loud and encourage your child to do the same. When you are finished reading, discuss the text together. Don’t just ask your child questions, but talk through the answers with them.

By using this strategy, you will give your child an example of what good reading comprehension looks like. Then your child can try to model his or her own reading comprehension skills after yours.

Take a look at this video for a step-by-step approach to modeling a text.

picture books For reading comprehension

picture books

Picture books are a GREAT way to practice reading comprehension skills, even for older kids! This is because picture books are somewhat shorter and follow a predictable pattern. They are also just more fun! However many picture books have complex themes and subtle messages that are excellent for developing higher order thinking skills.

Before you start reading a book with your child, you’ll want to make a plan. Read through the book on your own first. Think about good places to pause and discuss what is going on. You may even plan out a couple of good discussion questions to talk about as you go. I like to use sticky notes to mark places where I know I want to stop.

picture book with sticky note questions

Anna at The Measured Mom has some excellent posts on using picture books to help with reading comprehension. She also has a plethora of book lists to use with different reading strategies. Check out her resources below!

reading Comprehension passages

While you may be hesitant to use worksheets with your child, reading comprehension passages can be very beneficial when used correctly. First of all, reading passages are most similar to what your child will see on tests in school. It is important for them to get used to that format. Additionally, passages are typically shorter than an actual book, which makes them great to use for a quick comprehension check. Plus, reading passages usually come with comprehension questions already created. These questions will test a variety skills and will be presented in different formats, which make them an excellent low-prep and easy-to-use resource.

One of my favorite collection of passages again comes from Anna at The Measured Mom! Can you tell I just love her resources?

She has created two different sets of reading comprehension passages. One set focuses on Famous People and the other is about Biomes and Habitats.

Each set includes 12 different topics.

For each topic, there are 3 articles, each at a different reading level (low, medium, and high) for students from 1st-3rd grade.

differentiated reading comprehension passages

Each topic also includes a teachers guide with great suggestions, and text-based questions.

What I love most about these passages
  • They are differentiated! That means you will certainly be able to find an article right at your child’s reading level.

The low level passages are approximately level J (an end of first grade reading level).
The medium level passages are approximately level L (a middle of second grade reading level).
The high level passages are approximately level N (an early third grade reading level).

  • The question sets are also differentiated, offering simpler questions for the lowest reading level, and gaining in difficulty for the medium and high reading levels. She also uses a variety of question formats, such as multiple choice, short answer, and graphic organizers.
  • Each article is high-interest and full of important information. Based on your child’s level, different graphics and vocabulary words are also included to enhance the learning experience.

Follow the links below to check out this great product! Anna provides a very detailed description, along with sample pages, so you know exactly what you are getting before you buy.

36 Reading Comprehension Passages about Famous People

reading comprehension passages- famous people

36 Reading Comprehension Passages about Biomes and Habitats

reading comprehension passages- biomes

I know you will really enjoy reading these articles with your child as you work on improving reading comprehension!

Happy Tutoring!


Two Dogs Tutoring

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