Sometimes teachers assume that students at any grade level can read a text resource and understand all the concepts discussed in the reading assigned. It can be a mistake to make this assumption. No matter the grade level being taught, taking time to clarify the course content, specifically the vocabulary and its proper usage, is often a good use of class time. There are several efficient ways to do this, but two strategies are favored by many: provide reading tips during the lesson and provide some choice in the material being read.
Provide tips and hints during a lesson to help students’ reading comprehension.
While most core teachers outside of English would not want to devote an entire class period to reading comprehension, it is reasonable to assume that taking a few moments to go over subject specific vocabulary and provide time to clarify anything being addressed in class benefits everyone. Implementing reading comprehension strategies in content-area classes does not mean a teacher has to give up on content. For example, it’s possible to find science or math based articles that are on topic and relevant to the class content. Then, use a few minutes of class time to read part of (or all of) the article as a group, making sure to stop periodically to discuss important details or clarify vocabulary.
Students learn more when they are reading about topics they enjoy.
Most children love having some say regarding what they learn about and also what they read. Teachers can provide opportunities for students to read on their own something that interests them, perhaps from a short list of readings related to the class content, and then submit an assignment or assessment over that selection. Providing this little bit of choice can go a long way to building self-esteem in a reader of any age. Finally, to make all of this stick, the teacher may want to develop an activity or assignment that would allow the student to showcase what they are learning, connect it to their world or to any previous knowledge they have on the subject. The exact benchmarks may change over a child’s education, but developing confidence in reading will always be beneficial, no matter the direction the student may choose to take his or her educational career.