So far we have seen how vocabulary, fluency, and phonics can impede comprehension. Now we are going to take a look at the inside thinking that happens. This is the metocognitive side of reading. Children need to be taught how to think about reading when they are reading. In other words they need to be thinking about their thinking.
Sometimes when a child is reading he/she ends up thinking about something else they are about to do, other than what they are engaged in. Or, a child is working so hard at figuring out the words, that there is literally no extra space available to think about his/her reading. Therefore, if we utilize some of the comprehension strategies when reading with our child, we will be able to guide them in how to know if he/she is understanding what is being read or if he/she is not understanding.
One of those strategies is summarizing. If a reader is understanding what is being read, then he/she is able to repeat what was read in his/her own words. A summary is just a couple of sentences about what was read verses a retell. A retell is when the reader tells you everything that they read. Sometimes in the beginning a reader needs guidance in this area. You can begin by summarizing your page and then having him/her summarize his/her page. Once your child becomes comfortable with this process you can have him/her summaraize at the end of the chapter.
If the child is able to summarize it shows the he/she is capable of storing the information he/she has read in his/her short term memory. This is extremely necessary in order to do a much more difficult comprehension strategy called synthesizing. As a parent it is not important to hit every single comprehension strategy that is out there. However, practice with some of the basic ones will prepare him/her for the higher level ones they will need to be able to implement as they move up in grade levels.
So, practice summarizing with your child, talking about the book that you are reading, and increase vocabulary by picking out one vocabulary word a day to focus on. Until next time, keep reading!