10 Simple but Powerful Tips for Enhancing Reading Comprehension in Elementary Students

As an elementary school teacher, you know that reading comprehension is a crucial skill for students to have! It not only helps them understand and enjoy books, but it also lays the foundation for success in other academic areas. However, sometimes we hit a reading comprehension slump and we just need a little push. Today, I am going to give you 10 simple but powerful tips for enhancing reading comprehension in elementary students. 

Quick Tips to Increase Reading Comprehension in Elementary Students

We all know reading comprehension is important, but we also know it can be hard for students to pick up. So, we need to find ways to reach those learners who need a little extra help. These 10 simple but powerful tips are just what you need. 

  1. Build Vocabulary 
  2. Encourage Questions
  3. Make Connections
  4. Use Graphic Organizers
  5. Encourage Active Reading 
  6. Provide Context/Background Knowledge
  7. Embrace Multimedia Resources 
  8. Be a Model Reader
  9. Create Discussions
  10. Challenge Your Readers

1: Building Vocabulary Skills 

The more words you know the better you can read! When you ask students to know vocabulary words and build on them, reading comprehension becomes much easier. A great way to build vocabulary is to encourage students to use a dictionary or thesaurus to look up unknown words. You can also consider using word walls or vocabulary games to help students learn new words. 

2: Encourage Questions to Build Reading Comprehension in Elementary Students

If you don’t ask, you won’t know! This is true for every part of life including reading comprehension in elementary students. One of the best reading strategies you can teach your students is how to ask questions while they read. By asking questions about their reading, students will stay engaged and focused. You can do this with comprehension questions that you have created, or you can ask students to write their own questions. Using these Digital Differentiated Reading Comprehension Close Reading activities can help your students understand how to question while they read. 

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3: Make Connections

Another simple reading strategy that can help bring a text to life for students is making connections. Students can make connections from their reading to experiences they have had or prior knowledge. Sometimes, students will connect ideas from one book to another. If students can make connections to the text they are reading, they will understand and remember what they are reading. 

4: Utilize Graphic Organizers 

If students are more visual learners, having a graphic organizer to help them put things in order can be incredibly helpful. Using graphic organizers like Venn diagrams, concept maps, or web diagrams can help students visualize the relationships between different ideas in the text.This increases reading comprehension in elementary students. 

5: Create Active Reading Experiences 

When your students read in a passive way, they are just reading without engaging in the text. Active reading asks students to be friends with the text, and a good friend understands their friend. So, students can become active readers and  increase reading comprehension for elementary students by taking notes, highlighting key points, or by writing a summary of what they have read. These activities will help students understand and remember information from the text. 


6: Provide Context for Students 

Sometimes one of the hardest parts of reading is understanding what the text assumes you know. Learning information about the author, the time period, and historical events can help students enhance their understanding of the text. When students know what was happening during the time, they might be able to understand why the characters dress a certain way or talk a certain way. This can help them focus on more important aspects of the text instead of small details that can be distracting. 

7: Use Multimedia Resources 

This is the age of technology, so it’s a given that students are going to like to use technology. Using resources like video, audio recordings, or interactive activities can help make reading more engaging and interactive. In addition, having a visual or audio option can help increase reading comprehension for elementary students. 

8: Model Reading Comprehension to Your Students

As a teacher, you can always model good reading comprehension by asking questions and making connections while you are doing read alouds with your students. Read alouds can happen as a whole group or during your small group instruction in your literacy centers. If you don’t think you have time for small group instruction, make sure you check out this blog about how to make time for small group instruction during your literacy centers in kindergarten, first, second, third, fourth, and fifth grade.

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9: Encourage Discussion Amongst Students 

Reading with peers can be a great way to open communication about the books students are reading. Having questions students can discuss before, during, and after they are reading is a great way to help students increase their reading comprehension. In addition, it can help them make connections with their friends. 

10: Challenge Your Students 

While it is important to meet students where they are in terms of their reading level, it’s also important that you challenge your students. By having students read slightly above their level, students will develop their reading comprehension skills and build confidence. Confidence is one of the most important things you can build in students when it comes to reading comprehension for elementary students. 

Incorporating these simple yet powerful tips to increase reading comprehension for elementary students can be a gamechanger in your classroom. While it might take time and patience, if you use these tips consistently, your students will develop strong reading comprehension skills. 

Until Next Time…

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