I know firsthand how hectic life can get, especially when you’re wearing all the hats. As a former reading teacher (for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade), I understand the importance of making reading time with your child not just enjoyable, but also a valuable learning experience. There are small, but valuable things you can do at home to help boost your child’s reading comprehension.

So, you’ve got a burning question: “What are some strategies for improving my child’s comprehension while reading?” Well, worry not! I’ve got your back with some tried-and-true strategies that will not only enhance your child’s comprehension but also make reading together a beautiful bonding experience.

6 Reading comprehension strategies to use at home with your child. Image of mom and daughter reading together. A post by The Miraculous Journey of Books at BrittanyDahl.com

*I use affiliate links to share products with you. If you use the link to make a purchase, the cost of the book doesn’t go up for you. However, I will receive a commission and I do appreciate your support.

Reading Comprehension Exercises

1. Reading Comprehension Questions for Any Book

Start by asking open-ended questions about the story. What do they think will happen next? How do they feel about the characters? This not only develops their comprehension skills but also makes reading a two-way street. You’ll be surprised at the conversations that begin based on these open-ended questions.

While I was in the classroom, I used a method called Thoughts, Questions, and Epiphanies that I learned about from Cult of Pedagogy, and it increased engagement ten fold! You can read more about it in this post. I displayed question stems on the board, students would pair up, and use the guide to help come up with their own questions while talking with a friend about the book. This method was great because I wasn’t the only one working hard to come up with questions, they thought more deeply about the story when trying to come up with their own questions. (If you don’t think your child is ready to come up with their own questions, use the post to pose questions to your reader!)

2. Use Visual Aids

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Encourage your child to visualize scenes from the story. This not only enhances comprehension but also taps into their imagination.

When I was teaching, I referred to this method as “making a movie in your head.” It helps to solidify the characters, setting, and events that occur if they can picture what is happening on their own.

Or, if you’re up for it, take the time to physically draw the pictures from the story. Talk about the characters while you draw to build engagement and conversation.

3. Connect to Real Life & Other Stories

Relate the story to your child’s personal experiences. If the characters go on a picnic, share your own picnic adventures. This connection helps them better understand and remember the story because they are connecting it to something they are already familiar with.

One of the reasons a child might struggle with reading comprehension is if they have had few life experiences to relate to! It makes sense. If you haven’t seen snow in person or in a movie, simply reading about it can be a challenge.

Besides relating a story to your own experiences, it’s also helpful to connect stories to other books that you have read. Again, this is finding something familiar in the story, which will help them to understand it better.

4. Make Predictions

Before turning to the next page, ask your child what they think might happen next! Making a prediction requires your child to consider present events or what you know about a character. They synthesize this information and then make an educated guess as to what will happen using the clues they already have! Kids get so excited when they are able to guess correctly.

5. Encourage Retelling

After finishing a story, ask your child to retell it in their own words. This not only gauges their understanding but also boosts their confidence in expressing thoughts and ideas.

Retelling verses Summarizing

Understanding the difference between retelling and summarizing is key for parents.

Retelling involves recounting the story in the same sequence that it was told. There is also an emphasis on details.

Summarizing requires higher-level thinking, presenting a shortened version focusing on main ideas and sharing them in their own words. Minor details are left out, and instead, they’ll focus on themes from the story. It’s concise, typically a paragraph or a few sentences.

Both skills are crucial, with retelling being simpler. As comprehension improves, kids naturally shift towards summarizing, capturing the essence without getting bogged down in every detail.

6. Make It Multi-sensory

Another way to improve reading comprehension at home is to incorporate props, act out scenes, or even create a themed snack related to the story. This multi-sensory approach makes reading a truly immersive experience. Plus, you will be creating some special memories while you have fun together as a family!

Choose the Right Books to Improve Reading Comprehension

Tailor your book choices to your child’s interests and reading level and they will very likely be more engaged in their reading, allowing them to better comprehend the story. As a book expert, I’m here to help you find the perfect books that resonate with your child and make learning a joyous journey. Fill out the recommendation request form and I will send you a list of books perfectly suited to your reader!

Texts for Reading Comprehension

Be sure to check out our reading library to find a variety of books that you can read aloud to your child. Each of these reviews includes guiding questions to help you engage your reader in discussion and improve their reading comprehension.

Reading Comprehension Games

Another great way to support your child is to find some activities that pair well with the books you are reading. I have created several lists to help your readers who love topics like technology, nature, sports, art, cooking, space, and more!

Remember, the goal is not just to read but to create lasting memories and a love for learning. If you ever need personalized book recommendations for your child, I’m just a message away.