Comprehension is the prize to reading

Comprehension is the Prize to Reading

Comprehension is the prize to reading.  When learning to read, why are we taught the sounds in our language, and how to manipulate them (phoneme awareness)?  Why are we taught to match the letters of the alphabet and their sounds and put them together into words (phonics)?  Why are we taught to identify ‘sight’ words?  Why are we taught prefixes and suffixes? Why are we taught the correct way the words in our English language should ‘fit’ together(grammar/syntax)?  Why are we taught punctuation?  Why are we taught vocabulary and spelling?

So, we can read for COMPREHENSION!  The ‘mechanics’ of reading listed in the previous paragraph must all work together to allow us to read and comprehend. Can you remember what happened in the story?  The order that things happened. The characters in the story? Where the story took place?  Was there a lesson learned?  What did the characters do and think and why?  What was your opinion about the story?  Did you learn something from the story?  Was the story fiction (made up/created) or non-fiction (factual)?

Learning to read may help you want to cook from a recipe.  Identify with a character’s experiences in a story.  Order from a menu at a restaurant or take a bus.  Relax with an uplifting story.  Learn about someone.  Learn history.  Laugh.  Be inspired.  Discover a cure.  Build on the past.  Take a test…and much more.  All of this can be achieved from reading comprehension or understanding and remembering and interpretating the words in text that we read!

Believe it or not, comprehension is taught.  We do not automatically remember and interpret all that we read.  Maybe our memory skills need strengthening.  Maybe our eyes don’t see the text clearly.  A key ‘brain’ process involved in effective comprehension is called ‘concept imagery’ by the Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes®. This is the ability to ‘image’ the words we see, on the screen in our brain, as we read.  These images help us to remember what we have read, the order or sequence of events and actions, and from this we can form opinions, interpret what we read, summarize what we read, retell what we read, gather meaning, and ask questions.

Test out ‘imaging’ and its importance by yourself, with your child.  Ask them to tell you about the last TV show, movie, or video they watched. I would guess that almost always they have no problems describing the events of the story and the order of events in sequence and the ending.  All from the visual pictures portrayed in the movie!  But, in contrast, ask your child to tell you about a paragraph in a story they just finished reading two minutes ago, and you may get this response, “uh, I don’t know.”   They may have been able to read all the words just fine, but they were not imaging the story as they went which left them unable to retell the story to you.  Mastering the ‘mechanics’ of reading alone does not guarantee comprehension.

If your child struggles with comprehension, first make sure their mechanics of reading are well developed and then you’ll pretty much know they need instruction and practice with concept imagery.  Both are essential for reading success when learning to read.

Comprehension, understanding what you are reading

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