Why So Many Students Struggle with Reading Comprehension

Why So Many Students Struggle with Reading ComprehensionReading comprehension is a vital foundational skill that is important for students to be strong in. This is why there is such a great amount of effort put in by teachers to ensure students form and build strong reading comprehension skills. You may find yourself asking: what causes reading comprehension problems? That a great question to ask, and we have answers!

What is Reading Comprehension?

To fully answer this question, it is important to first define what reading comprehension is. Reading comprehension is the capability to read text, process it, and understand its meaning. For example, if a student is asked to answer questions about a passage, the student will have had to been able to read and understand the text in order to answer questions about it.

I am going to focus on three key things that cause reading comprehension problems for students.

3 Key Factors that Affect Reading Comprehension

 1. Underdeveloped Vocabulary

If a student has to skip over words while reading, he or she is missing key parts of the text. When there is missing information, it is not possible to completely comprehend the meaning of what the student has read.

In order to solve this, students should work to obtain a rich vocabulary. This will create an automaticity when reading, which will make for smooth reading. Another way to solve this issue is to define unknown words. Have a dictionary handy while reading, so if a student comes across a word he or she doesn’t understand, he or she can look up the definition.

2. Lack of Visual Tracking Fluency

Visual tracking is being able to read each consecutive word without accidentally skipping over word or skipping lines. If this happens, the text will not make sense to the reader because the full information is lacking, or the reading will feel unorganized.

A way to help students read word by word, is to cover everything in the line being read except the word that should be read. You can do this using something like a ruler or piece of paper. Reading aloud will help the reader hear what he or she is reading. If the student realize what they’ve read does not make sense, they will realize they need to reread the text.

3. Interest in Topic

If a student does not have interest in a topic, then they will not be motivated to try to understand what they are reading. Motivation drives students to want to achieve and recognize the meaning of text. If that desire is there, then students will make a conscious effort to comprehend.

A way to increase a student’s motivation is to share something about the text’s topic that peaks their interest. If the student realizes that the topic may not be as boring as they thought, their interest will be captured. To do this, you have to know your student and find out things they are interested in. Then find something about the topic that relates to their interests. Make the text meaningful.

If your student is struggling with reading comprehension, these factors may be a cause. Try implementing these tips and see their reading comprehension skills increase!

How has your student struggled with reading? What reading comprehension tips can you share?

Author: Sarah B., Writer and Teacher at A Grade Ahead

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