12 Reading Strategies for Better Comprehension

Many students struggle with reading comprehension. However, you know how important it is to understand what you’re reading – all other subjects depend on it. It’s crucial for school and career success. If your child has difficulty with reading comprehension, here are some strategies to help:

  1. reading comprehensionRead out loud. Sometimes understanding is increased when readers say the words out loud and hear their own voice.
  2. Re-read. Most children would rather not spend the time to read a passage again, but re-reading helps readers clarify thoughts and fix mistakes.
  3. Use context clues. Context clues can help readers figure out how to decode words or figure out a word’s meaning. As readers advance, context clues are typically used to figure out how to read words with more than one pronunciation (like live) or words with more than one meaning (like bark).
  4. Make connections. Making connections is at the heart of reading comprehension strategies. Readers need to be able to use what they know so it can be connected with what they’re reading. When text doesn’t make sense, good readers try to make a meaningful connection to make sense of it.
  5. Slow down.This is another one struggling readers tend to avoid. They want to zoom through so that no one can draw attention to mistakes. They may also want to just get the reading assignment done. However, slowing down can be the key to understanding.
  6. Determine importance. If students can figure out what is most important to the story or meaning, they can focus on that information and spend less time on text that is not as significant.
  7. Look up unfamiliar words. It’s easy to look up the meaning of a word on a computer or phone. Students will need to determine the best definition and how if fits in the passage they are reading.
  8. Ask questions. Questions such as, “Does that make sense?”, “What happens next?” or “Who is that character?” can help students stay on track.
  9. Think about what’s already been read. Does current text fit into the story or purpose of the story? If not, readers my need to get back to #2.
  10. Pay attention to own thinking. Proficient readers pay attention to and heed the warnings of the thoughts in their head. When a prediction they make does not pan out as they read, they stop and make new predictions.
  11. Generate questions. If students can think of main idea questions that relate to important information in the text and be able answer these questions, then they are likely comprehending what they are reading.
  12. Use graphic organizers. Graphics organizers illustrate concepts and relationships between concepts in a text by using diagrams. They can be maps, webs, graphs, charts, frames, or clusters. Here are some examples.


The key is for students to monitor their own comprehension. Success will come when they know when they understand what they are reading and when they do not – and have strategies to “fix” problems in their understanding as the problems arise. Research shows that instruction, even in the early grades, can help students become better at monitoring their comprehension.

If your child needs help with reading comprehension, our dedicated and experienced tutors can help. Contact us today to get started and set your child on the path to success.

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