Teaching Readings for Comprehension
Before we can teach “reading comprehension” we must first understand what it is we want to teach. It certainly is NOT teaching kids to answer a list of ten questions after reading a story or even just a paragraph. What we want to do is to teach our children to THINK as they are reading. Merely hearing a a dull monotone voice in our heads does not constitute thinking. It’s merely hearing as opposed to listening. Listening is thinking as we are hearing. Comprehending is thinking AS we are reading.
One way to develop the habit of thinking as we are reading (not after!) is to every day have your children read at least one funny cartoon, one joke, one riddle, one good pun , (or even one really bad pun) as in #20 on the web page http://www.avko.org/free/humor/puns_intended.htm where it reads: “And finally, there was the person who sent twenty different puns to his friends, with the hope that at least ten of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did. “
If your student doesn’t at least break out in a grin (or groan!) chances are he doesn’t understand what he has just read or he might not know the meaning of “intended” or isn’t familiar with the phrase “No pun intended.”
A pun such as “I went to a seafood disco last week...and pulled a mussel” is funny only if the child knows the difference between a muscle and a mussel. And by the way The spelling (actually a misspelling) of Muscle Shoals was the result of a clerk making a “correction” in a bill before Congress and not one of the congressmen who voted on the bill caught the misspelling. So now an incorrect spelling is the legally correct spelling. Only in America!
Many parents (and teachers) seem to think that Bible reading is strictly a religious activity. It shouldn’t be JUST a religious activity. In fact, it should be a method of teaching THINKING or reading comprehension. http://www.avko.org/free/readings/bible_readings.html
Short, short stories with lots of morals or insights—better even than Aesop’s fables (which should be part of any curriculum). How else will our children understand the concepts of crying wolf, sour grapes, or a cat’s paw? AVKO recommends that you at least read with your children of any age the following http://www.avko.org/free/readings/puppies_for_sale.html
Another way of teaching comprehension is by teaching “real” history. For example, did you know that in 1906 the maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph and the average wage in the U.S. was 22 cents per hour? And would you believe the population of Las Vegas, Nevada, was only 30! For more on how life was just a hundred years ago, spend some time on: http://www.avko.org/free/readings/year_is_1906.htm
For more ideas on how to teach reading comprehension without spending money on booklets that claim they teach comprehension go to: http://www.avko.org/free/readings_for_comprehension.htm