Improve Your Child’s Reading Comprehension

How to improve your child's reading comprehension

Teach Think, Explain, Ask, Clues, Handwrite

Just because kids love to read doesn’t mean they love to read what’s required in school. Dr. Linda Silbert offers a 5-step plan to improve your child’s reading and comprehension.

Dear Dr. Linda,
Charlie is in the 4th grade and loves to read. But when he reads his books from school or a handout that a teacher gives him, he gets nothing out of it. How can I help him?


Dear Sandy,
Charlie isn’t getting anything out of reading textbooks and other school related reading material because he’s not interested in it.

Next time Charlie has to read something he’s not interested in, try this five step method to improve reading comprehension when you’re not interested in the reading material.

Each letter in the word TEACH stands for a step to Improve Your Child’s Reading Comprehension

1. Think
Have Charlie think about the topic of his reading assignment. Have him tell you what he’s thinking about. He’ll probably say, “I don’t know.” Or you may be happily surprised when he tells you something about the topic.

2. Explain
Then ask Charlie to explain further. Ask him what he already knows about the topic. He’ll become more engaged in the reading if he can relate it to something he already knows about, something in his memory and his experience.

3. Ask
To help him explain what he thinks the reading will be about, even if he says, “I have no idea,” ask him the 5 Ws. 1. Who do you think are the important characters? 2. When do you think the event takes place? 3. Where do you think it takes place? 4. What do you think it’s about? 5. Why do you think it happens? Even if he gets them all wrong, he can now relate what he reads to something in his memory. As he reads he’ll say, “I was right,” or “That’s who it’s about!”

4. Clues
Together, look for clues about what Charlie’s going to read, what to focus on when he reads, and what’s important to remember in your reading. Specific sections of the book will help for remembering important material: summary, review, end-of-chapter questions, key words, headings, diagrams and captions, graphs, maps, the back cover, and pictures.

5. Handwrite
Now as he reads, have him write, not highlight. You may want to do this at the same time. In other words, you write down everything you read that you think is important also. Organize the reading material into an outline, picture story, or any other graphic organizer. The two of you can compare your outlines or picture stories. By writing and drawing as Charlie reads, he’ll understand and remember more.

Using the TEACH method should improve your child’s reading comprehension.

Don’t do too much at one time. Since the brain can usually only process about five things at a time, keep your study time short and effective.

Dr. Linda Silbert

P.S. The Tiger Tuesday Multidisciplinary Interactive Reading Program includes exercises and games for reading comprehension.

Phonics Centered — Consistent with Orton-Gillingham — Multisensory