Reading comprehension can be a struggle for many children. What causes these struggles? Can reading tutoring help them improve?
One primary cause of poor reading comprehension is poor reading accuracy. Good reading tutors work on this a lot with their students, because good reading accuracy is so vital to success in school. If a child does not read with perfect accuracy, they may have trouble understanding a single sentence, let alone a paragraph, or pages of text filled with sentences. Consider a situation in which a child reads with 80% reading accuracy. A child with this level of reading accuracy will probably mix up a couple of words in every sentence, and beyond that, may also leave words out or add words that are not present. This may cause them difficulty in understanding the sentence, and when expanded over paragraphs and pages of text, the amount of their misunderstanding will simply multiply. By the end of the reading section, they will probably have a very difficult time answering questions about what they have just read.
Another cause of trouble with reading comprehension is a lack of vocabulary. Vocabulary is something that a good reading tutor incorporates in reading tutoring, because it is so important to reading comprehension. Some children simply do not have the core vocabulary that they need to be able to understand what they are reading. They may lack knowledge of higher level words, but beyond that, they may also have a poor understanding of very basic vocabulary. We often see this in children who first enter our online reading tutoring program. For many of them, their struggles with reading have prevented them from acquiring the vocabulary that they could have acquired if they were able to read well. Reading is one of the most effective ways to acquire new vocabulary and learn to understand its nuances. Without this, many students end up having trouble with reading comprehension, because they simply do not have a good understanding of what many words mean.
Another issue may be that the child does not read for content. There can be various reasons for this. If a student struggles with reading, they may get in the habit of focusing all their attention on decoding words, rather than paying attention to the content. Even good readers may not pay proper attention to content when they read. This is something that we work hard to correct in our reading tutoring program.
Additionally, a child may struggle with reading comprehension due to reading anxiety. If a child has struggled with reading, they often get very anxious when they are required to read something, especially if they know that they will have to answer questions about the content. This anxiety may cause them to have difficulty in absorbing the material that they are reading.
In the next post, I will give suggestions on how you can help a child overcome these difficulties and improve their reading comprehension.