How to Teach Reading Comprehension

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Reflexive Pronoun: Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:01 Overview of Reading…
  • 0:59 Before Reading
  • 1:58 During Reading
  • 3:24 After Reading
  • 4:05 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed Audio mode

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kamshia Childs

Dr. Childs has had a career in Education for thirteen years. She has 11 years of experience teaching grades 4-8, and presently works in Higher Education. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, and a Master's and Doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction (Reading and Language Arts).

Teaching reading comprehension requires instilling in the learner the use of several strategies and skills. This lesson will focus on cognitive skills and notation strategies that will enhance reading comprehension.

Overview of Reading Comprehension

You might often encounter students that who read something, but it becomes quite evident that they have very little understanding of what they have read. Reading is a cross-curricular subject, and if you haven't mastered the understanding, it will make learning many subjects and gaining new knowledge difficult.

Reading comprehension is most commonly defined as the ability to understand the main points of what has been read. There is not a magic formula to teaching reading comprehension, as there are many ways, but it involves training the thought process of the mind and teaching specific strategies to use while reading.

This lesson will focus on how to improve reading comprehension before, during, and after reading takes place. Reading is a subject that students either really love or really hate, so let's try connecting reading comprehension skills to a metaphor that most students can relate to, a trip to the movie theater. Lets think of reading as our 'featured presentation'.

Before Reading

If a new television show is about to hit the small screen or a movie is soon to hit major theaters, chances are a lot of time was spent creating a trailer. Students should be taught to anticipate what they are about to read. They should be taught how to make their own preview/trailer in their minds.

This process of creating their own preview should involve seeking out several main features of a text. For example:

  • Preview and predict what the title is about
  • Look at major headings in a text or story
  • Identify anything with bold print (usually vocabulary)
  • Seek out any visuals and captions
  • Predict the main purpose of the text or story

When visiting a movie theater, movie previews play before the main movie, so do what is needed before - grab the popcorn and snacks - and move on to the featured presentation.

During Reading

The 'featured presentation' is what one goes to the movies for. The wait is over, and the show is about to begin.

There are several special things that people take note of while watching a new film. One is the characters; another is the plot. The mood of the movie allows a connection to the plot and its characters by capturing the viewers' emotions. When teaching comprehension of reading, always teach students to look for a connection to what they are reading - whether it be a certain character, setting, or other part of the text that the student can relate to.

It is also important to teach students to look for the main points or ideas in a piece of text. Ask questions such as:

  • What was the reoccurring theme throughout the text?
  • What patterns did you notice?
  • What were the main ideas presented?

Movies often have a message or agenda they want to push. And yes, so does literature. It is written with a main idea and a purpose. Teach students to analyze the characters by asking questions such as:

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account