Gathering from the parents and teachers whom I spoke to, it seems that the task of reading comprehension is a challenge for many students. And most are puzzled, and I believe, also frustrated at why the children just seems unable to perform well in this section despite countless practices and gentle (sometimes not-so-gentle) reminders to read the passage carefully, slowly and maybe a few more times.
Well, the first misconception to clear up is that being able to Read does not equate to Comprehension. They are in fact two very separate tasks that require different abilities, yet at times are as one.
For the purpose of helping our child be better in Reading Comprehension (as a task), let’s take a look at the underlying abilities necessary to accomplish this task. (And, NO. It is more than and beyond just the subject of English)
Using the following ‘simple’ passage as an example:
Q1. Why were we scared when we arrived at the farm?
Q2. What can we feed a baby cow with?
Based on the above passage, here are the underlying abilities a child needs (besides just being able to recognise words and read sentences):
To differentiate between words that are similarly spelled (such as dairy / diary, scared / sacred, or some may misread ‘quite’ as ‘quiet’)
Meaning of Words (commonly known as Vocabulary)
To be able to answer the questions that follow, a child would have to understand that ‘calf’ refers to a baby cow and that ‘herd’ refers to a big number of cows
The word ‘milk’ appeared twice but actually have different contextual meanings (one is referring to an action while the other is a noun)
Visual Tracking and Focus
To follow the sentence from left to right, beginning to end, without skipping lines or words
Verbal Sequence (how the words are put together to form an overall idea)
The child perceive meaning only when he/she is able to organise the information into meaningful sequence of sentences, instead of just singular words on their own
Is your child facing difficulty with Reading Comprehension? It could in fact be due to him/her having weakness in one or more of the underlying abilities needed to do this task – and may not necessary just be about ‘not trying hard enough’ or ‘just did not read it carefully’.
To understand your child’s underlying abilities, REGISTER for our Complimentary Learning Assessment