5 Tips to Improve Students’ Reading Skills

by Susan Baxter


How do you help a student develop reading skills that will guide their passion for learning? While students may read the pages, they don’t always retain the information or actively think of ways to apply the new knowledge to their real-world experiences. Students who know how to navigate and comprehend complex subjects in school build a strong foundation for learning.

Here are some functional tips to integrate reading skills into classroom curriculum and help students actively read to feel more confident in understanding complex topics.

1. Annotate and comment

Teach your students to go beyond highlighting or underlining text and encourage them to write notes or ideas while they read. This helps increase a student’s focus and understanding of the topic as they stay engaged in learning.

You can share annotation ideas with your students that are seen as fun reading exercises. Have your students write questions related to the content, discover recurring themes or words, look for personal connections that relate to the content, or draw pictures that go with text. These active reading activities can help students find interest in the topic and increase reading comprehension.

Curriculet, our cloud-based reading program, lets teachers and students embed annotations directly into digital texts to help you guide students and they read, model good annotations, and encourage students to develop their own note-taking skills.

2. Interactive reading

From following a recipe to acting out a story, students can deepen their reading comprehension by actively participating in the subject. Have the students read a simple recipe and follow the instructions to comprehend what they need to create a snack or meal. Students can also choose to be a character in a book and work together in a small group to act out part of the story.

3. Ask questions

Asking questions ahead of time is an effective way to help students read with a purpose and search for the answers. It also gives students an opportunity to develop their own questions as they actively read. You can print out the questions for each student to answer as they read and leave space for students to write down questions they have from the reading, or use a program like Curriculet to engage students with questions and experiences as they read.

You can also ask students to connect the topic to real-world experiences. How have they seen the topic in their life? Are there other books, movies, or news stories they have heard that relate to the topic? How do they plan to apply what they have learned into their life?

4. Identify story structure

As students understand the structure of a story, they will more easily comprehend the subject. Help students identify the construction from beginning to end by discussing the characters, events, setting, problem and resolution.

For long and complex topics, break up the reading into shorter sections to make it easier for students to focus and build confidence in understanding the material.

5. Create reading goals

Set classroom reading goals and help each student set a personal reading goal. You may have each student choose their own reading and set a goal for the topic or story. This gives students a chance to practice reading comprehension and set enjoyable goals as they read for pleasure.

Students should refer to their reading goals each week and start a new goal once their initial goal is reached. Help each student identify if they reached their reading goal by asking questions such as: Was it easy to understand the text? What helped you understand the topic? Was anything confusing in the text? Did you reach your reading goal? Curriculet lets teachers and students track reading progress and assessment results with its reporting tools.



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