Reading comprehension is not improved only by reading. The students have to be taught a series of strategies to facilitate the process. These strategies improve reading comprehension, even for the students who have trouble with it.
Reading comprehension consists of three elements: literal, interpretative and critical elements. These three aspects must be worked on. Traditionally, students only work with literal questions where they have to memorize what they read. This is not a good way to improve reading comprehension.
STEPS TO WORK ON COMPREHENSION
- Select the text to use. It has to be a text that teaches something, it has to have a message. When we understand what we read, we’re reconstructing the message the author wanted to give us. Besides, a most words in the text have to be common words, and there only has to be a small percentage of unknown words.
- Prepare literal, interpretative and evaluative questions adapted to the class.
Literal. They make reference to aspects signaled in the text. The questions must be relevant for the value or message we want to give.
Inferential questions. Things are not said clearly, the students have to read between the lines. They are much more helpful to improve reading comprehension than the previous questions.
Evaluative questions. They’re critical questions where the reader has to express their beliefs on what’s being said on the text. It depends on each student’s evaluation system.
3- Select the strategy you want students to learn. A good way to teach the strategy is the following:
The teacher serves as a model for the students.
- First, he explains the strategy he’ll teach.
- He solves some of the strategy’s exercises, serving as a model.
- He solves other exercises with the students (guided practice).
- The students practice the strategy individually (independent practice).
The exercises can be solved in groups of two as well.