Helping Students With Reading Comprehension

5 Ways to Support Students Who Struggle With Reading Comprehension

The most common image that comes to mind when thinking about reading difficulties is that of children who struggle to decode the letters in the text and convert them into spoken language. It is difficult for this type of struggling reader to figure out what many words are because they have poor phonological (speech sound) abilities and a limited vocabulary. While many children sound like they’re reading well, many more have problems understanding vocabulary and figurative language, inferencing, verbal reasoning, grammatical development, and vocal expression, despite their excellent reading skills.

As children grow older, we presume that if they are decoding text correctly, they are also reading correctly. Following the acquisition of decoding skills, reading comprehension becomes more about language comprehension and concentration. Teachers may begin to notice some pupils who are decoding literature fluently but are not comprehending it during this transitional period, which begins around third grade.

Because this type of struggling reader is less visible than those who have problems decoding, they often go unnoticed until they begin to fail standardized state comprehension tests, at which point they are identified. Even when they do, their problems may go unnoticed for a lengthy period, resulting in middle and high school children who appear to be reading but who are unable to comprehend anything they have read.

These struggling readers should be identified and remedied as soon as possible; the earlier the better. The use of practice passages and questions, on the other hand, could be unproductive since it concentrates too exclusively on text-based skills.


Listed below are five techniques to try out with children who read fluently but have difficulty comprehending what they’re reading.

1. Concentrate on overall language understanding: According to a recent study, reading comprehension challenges may be caused by an underlying oral language deficiency that develops from early childhood, even before reading is taught. Furthermore, it has been discovered that children who have low reading comprehension often understand fewer spoken words and less of what they hear, and they also have poorer spoken grammar. Consequently, to effectively address reading comprehension deficits, educators may need to employ a method that first teaches vocabulary, thinking abilities, and comprehension in the spoken language before moving on to reading and written language instruction.

2. Because students with poor comprehension often have poor vocabulary skills and therefore understand less of what they hear, it is beneficial to teach the meanings of new words using multisensory strategies such as graphic organizers, pictures, and mnemonic devices to students with poor comprehension. It improves the possibility that they will be able to comprehend the words they encounter in the written text if their overall language skills are improved. Because it is difficult to know the meaning of every word one may come across, students should be educated about the many sorts of context clues and how to use them to discern the meaning of unknown terms.

3) Instruct students in the use of thinking strategies. Once students have acquired the vocabulary necessary to navigate a text, they frequently struggle with the complex reasoning or sustained attention required to keep track of all of the important details and to access information that is implied but not explicitly stated. Teachers can train pupils on cognitive processes that they can employ in their daily lives. Many commonly used text reading tactics, such as annotation, SQ3R, and the KWL chart, make use of these cognitive strategies, which include, among other things:

4. Prior knowledge is discussed or activated throughout this process.
While reading, think about what questions you want to ask.
Making connections between what they are reading and another text, something they have seen, or something they have experienced helps students learn.
Visualizing or imagining what they are reading is a powerful tool.
Predicting what will happen next in the text is a form of prediction.
searching for keywords, rereading to clarify or answer inquiries, and
Exercising your thinking aloud to demonstrate the strategies and intellectual processes required for comprehension
Students can learn and then apply the reading strategies that are most effective for them, based on the content they are currently reading. The ability to extract deeper meaning from text through the application of thinking processes might be beneficial not just for reading comprehension but also for writing.

5. Once taught, cognitive strategies can be consistently practiced and implemented through the use of reciprocal teaching, which encourages students to take a leadership role in their learning and begin to think about their thought processes while listening or reading. 5. Encourage students to participate in collaborative learning: Reciprocal teaching can be used during class discussions, with text that is read aloud, and afterward with text that is read in groups by the teacher and students. Rotation between the following positions is recommended for the students:

Questions are asked by the questioner to clarify or clarify sections of the lesson, discussion, or literature that are unclear or perplexing, or to assist in making connections between previously learned content.
Each key point or detail from the lesson, discussion, or material should be summarised by the summarizer.
Clarifier: Someone who tries to address the Questioner’s concerns and ensure that any elements of the question that they found confusing are understood by others.
A predictor, a person who predicts what will happen next based on what has been presented, discussed, or read, is defined as follows:
Fifth, students should receive direct instruction in comprehension skills such as sequencing, story structure using the plot mountain, how to form inference and reach a conclusion, as well as the many types of figurative language. 6. Students should be allowed to practice their skills first with text that they hear the teacher read aloud, and then later with text that they read independently at their level, according to their abilities.

Because they closely match with reading and language arts standards for elementary and middle school children, the comprehension skills and methods indicated above can be used with the entire class. Teachers can assist students in selecting reading materials that contain vocabulary that is appropriate for their present ability levels, ensuring that students are reading literature and working on vocabulary at levels that are accessible to each of them within a classroom setting.