Strategies for working on reading comprehension

The fact that a child can read or even that he knows how to give a good intonation to reading, does not mean that he understands what he reads. In fact, the same phrase ” reading comprehension ” may not mean the same to teachers or parents guiding children along the path of reading as it does to a child. For this reason, in this article we have proposed to define what reading comprehension is specifically, also proposing certain strategies that can allow us to achieve this important learning objective .


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What exactly is reading comprehension?

Understanding a text means that the reader can ask himself certain questions motivated by his own interest and be able to search, in some way, for the answers in the text he has read. Achieving this will require your own and spontaneous effort, as well as prior knowledge and some skills to find the answers.

The levels of reading comprehension can be divided into three groups: literal, inferential and finally the critical value level . These levels, well explained, will make us see that understanding a reading is very far from the fact of memorizing and repeating a text, something very recurrent in study methods. It will also allow us to verify and understand that finding the answers to the questions of teachers, parents or authors of the text, does not necessarily mean that the text has been understood either. To really achieve this, both the reflection of the questions and the answers must be your own work.



Strategies for good reading comprehension


  • Activate prior knowledge

Before starting a reading it is advisable to read the title of the text and then indicate what is expected to be found in your reading. In this way, each reader can create their own expectations, generate their own questions, and activate their own prior knowledge. The questions that one must ask oneself are related to: what do I know about this subject? What do I hope to learn?


  • Get a general idea of what is being read

Reading from a scanned form is the next step. But what do you mean scanned? Well, reading the subtitles first, the author, the date of what is going to be read, what is expected of the reading activity, etc., must be separate and progressive steps. This type of reading is considered superficial reading, since it only stops at details, but it is very important to get an idea of the entire text as a whole and to fix the necessary ideas about it.


  • Do a full text reading

After the first scanned reading we must perform a full reading. The idea is to compare the reader’s expectations with what the author proposes. You should give yourself a quick read without dwelling too much on the details , to understand the focus of the reading, take notes on the main idea and the secondary ideas, as well as correlate what you read with what was previously expected from the text. It is recommended that this reading be aloud so that the brain retains some important ideas.






  • Read with advanced reading techniques

In this stage, the aim is for the reader to understand the author’s message. For this, advanced reading techniques such as underlining are applied, which helps us to separate the main idea from the secondary ones in each paragraph. You can also outline what has been read or make concept maps that allow us to organize the ideas that the author of the text wants to transmit. The summary technique also allows to encompass the main ideas that the author has wanted to highlight or that the reader himself considers appropriate.


  • Generate new knowledge

Finally, in this last stage, the aim is for the reader to generate new knowledge from reading . Synthesis is recommended, which differs from abstract in that the reader uses his own words to express himself and not so much those of the author. You can also include certain comments outside the paragraphs or the outline, generating new and interesting questions. This last stage is an ideal time to research words in the dictionary that could generate doubts in the understanding of a sentence.


Through these stages, the reader creates an image of the text and extracts the most important content. This form of reading in stages, with specific objectives as one progresses, allows us to avoid mere repetition or memorization to dwell more on the observation and analysis of the content , which is what allows a good final understanding of it.

Teaching the little ones to work in this staggered way with a reading from early levels, can allow them a faster advance and a more direct access to the understanding of what is read, undoubtedly something of vital importance for the rest of the path that still awaits them as students.



Thanks for sharing this article. I am doing a Didactic Unit for some reading comprehension activities and it has been very good for me. Clear and simple.

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