417

How to Teach Reading Comprehension

two bugs in a stack of books

Reading comprehension is the ultimate goal when teaching your child to read. After all, when a child struggles with comprehension, reading can be a miserable chore. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could find some easy-to-follow ideas to help you nurture this ability?

Good news! There are many different ways to help develop your child’s reading comprehension!

In this article, you’ll discover why reading comprehension is so important, explore strategies for developing this skill, and find out how we teach reading comprehension in the All About Reading program.

The delight of reading awaits your child!

What Is Reading Comprehension?

Reading comprehension is the ability to fully understand what is being read.

A person with great reading comprehension can visualize, question, and interpret what they are reading, and they can think about their own feelings and opinions while reading text. The comprehension process is mostly unconscious—it happens without our active involvement or awareness.

There are some prerequisites for good reading comprehension. If any of these skills are lacking, comprehension will be lacking as well:

But even when these foundational skills are present, reading comprehension is not necessarily automatic. Some important strategies may still be required.

What Reading Comprehension Strategies Are Helpful?

Good readers use many different strategies. Some strategies are used at a conscious level, while others are employed unconsciously. Depending on the purpose for reading and the difficulty of the text, effective strategies may include those listed in the chart below.

(You can download a printable Reading Comprehension Strategies Poster to hang on your fridge or classroom wall.)

reading comprehension strategies chart

But as helpful as these strategies can be, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

3 Things NOT to Do When Teaching Comprehension

While it is important to teach comprehension strategies to your student, it’s also important to realize that these strategies are tools and not the main goal. It’s imperative that you avoid focusing too much on individual comprehension strategies.

  1. Don’t assume that your child is comprehending just because she can decode all the words. Make sure that she understands what she is reading and isn’t just “word calling.”
  2. Don’t confuse comprehension with being able to answer literal questions. When working with beginning readers, it is sometimes helpful to ask a literal question such as “what did Jack buy at the store?” but be sure to move on from shallow questions. Focusing on literal questions not only bores your student, but also discourages in-depth interactions with the text.
  3. Don’t spend too much time teaching a single comprehension strategy. Good readers use many different strategies, often simultaneously. Over-emphasizing a single strategy will make reading harder than it needs to be. For example, when students are constantly asked to compare and contrast, meaning can be lost (as well as motivation for reading). More time should be spent reading interesting books than working on comprehension strategies.

Background Information Is Crucial for Reading Comprehension

In order to make sense of what you read, you need to have background knowledge. Before a child can understand the short story “Pirate Food,” for example, it is important that she have some familiarity with different foods and pirate dialects.

Reading aloud to your child is one of the best ways to help develop background knowledge. Reading a wide variety of books helps build a storehouse of knowledge of places, events, emotions, vocabulary, and language structure. Other methods of building background knowledge include travel, hands-on activities, workshops, and discussions. Your child will later draw upon this information when she is reading independently.

Exposure to a wide variety of books and experiences help your child distinguish reality from fantasy, recognize cause-and-effect, understand character motivation, and make predictions about what she is reading.

How Does All About Reading Teach Comprehension?

In the All About Reading program, we work on reading comprehension from the very first story your child reads, which is in Level 1, Lesson 3. The story contains only words that have already been taught, using just eight letters (M, S, P, A, N, T, B, and J). Would you like to see how we do it?

Download the lesson and story from Level 1, Lesson 3, and then follow along as we demonstrate this first reading lesson in action.

All about Reading Story Lesson

As you watch the video below, notice that even though there are only 20 words in this first story, Linda is already helping Oliver work on comprehension through the following:

  • expressive reading
  • introducing new vocabulary
  • activating prior knowledge
  • modeling comprehension strategies
  • making predictions
  • skimming

Every story lesson in the All About Reading program focuses on reading comprehension. A wide variety of methods are used, including graphic organizers, discussing literary devices, providing background information, and relating stories to the child’s own life. Students learn that reading is much more than just decoding the words—it is about engaging in a conversation with the text.

To see an example of how we teach reading comprehension in the higher levels of All About Reading, download this story lesson from All About Reading Level 4, Lesson 49.

The Bottom Line on Improving Reading Comprehension

When it comes to improving your child’s reading comprehension, here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Build a foundation for reading comprehension with decoding skills, fluency, vocabulary, and background knowledge.
  • Spend more time reading interesting books than on teaching comprehension strategies.
  • Help build your child’s background knowledge with hands-on activities, workshops, discussions, and exposure to a wide variety of books and experiences.

The All About Reading program walks you and your child through all the steps to help your child achieve reading comprehension. The program is multisensory, motivating, and complete, with everything you need to raise a strong reader. And if you ever need a helping hand, we’re here for you.

What’s your take on teaching reading comprehension? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!

All About Reading Product Line
< Previous Post  Next Post >

Leave a Comment

Lisa Gevers

says:

Very good lesson, but the boy should be using his finger to point to each word as he reads them.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
Great observation. You’ll notice Linda, the teacher, is doing the pointing. Many children are resistant to pointing to each word as they read. Instead of forcing the issue, the teacher or parent can do the pointing as Linda did.

Judy DIckson

says:

Do you have a book series to recommend for my granddaughter who just today turned 8 years old and has already read over 30 of The Boxcar Children books. Thank you
We are not interested in books like Junie B Jones.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Judy,
What an accomplishment your granddaughter has done! My daughter only got through 8 or so of the Boxcar Children books before she started looking for something different to read.

I think you will find something she will enjoy among the many Chapter Book Reviews we have done. Considering her love of the Boxcar Children, look especially at The Moffats and The Penderwicks. These are a bit more difficult than the Boxcar Children, but she will definitely enjoy the stories.

I hope you can help her find something new to enjoy!

Kristin

says:

Thank you for this article. Very helpful.

Jill

says:

Really great suggestions on teaching reading comprehension!

Danielle

says:

This is some great information!

Danielle

says:

There is some great information here!

LAura

says:

It is helpful to see the lessons in action; thank you!

Lena

says:

Great information! Do you have any articles on how to teach older kids to take notes. I always struggled with myself, either writing down too much basically copying everything or too little.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lena,
We don’t have any articles on notetaking, but there is a lot about notetaking online. The Cornell method is popular and effective and there are numerous websites and videos that explain it. Crash Course Study Skills is a set of high-quality educational videos that include note-taking and other topics like time management and studying. Also, check out what your library has available. Through my library, I was able to get the Great Courses class “How to Become a SuperStar Student”. I love how it teaches note-taking.

I hope this helps some. Learning to take good notes is important, but it is also a skill that needs to be practiced in order to become really good at it.

Lena

says:

Thank you so much for the great suggestions. I will be checking them out soon.

Ech

says:

Wonderful resources, thank you!

Betsy

says:

Great Article!

Heidi

says:

This was a great article as my daughter struggles with this!

Crystal

says:

Very helpful information! We love All About Reading!

I love how All About Reading adds reading comprehension practice right to the program. That along with the helpful tips provided by this blog makes teaching reading so simple!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
Comprehension is so important! I’m happy to hear that All About Reading and our blog are helping to make it simple for you.

Linda

says:

I’d not yet heard of the making predictions tip when teaching reading comprehension, but it makes sense. This will be helpful.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Linda,
Making predictions is a great way to get kids to think deeper about a story than just the surface plot. Plus, it’s great fun when you make a prediction and turn out to be correct!

Carol

says:

I really like this teaching as lots of kids struggle with comprehension. Thank you.

Cynthia Forshee

says:

She does good with comprehension but I know she needs to improve. Wonderful tips. thank you

Sherylou Betonio

says:

i would love to have the all about reading and the all about spelling curriculum for my kids. i think if would greatly help them in learning the english language. thanks

Rebecka Christenson

says:

Thanks! This makes me want to buy your All About Reading program.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Rebecka,
The way All About Reading teaches comprehension in context from the very beginning of reading is exciting! Let me know if you have any questions, need help with placement, or need anything else.

Jessica

says:

We’ve started using narration when we read, meaning I stop my son every little bit and have him tell me back the story so far. I do this both when he is reading and when I am reading to him. It helps me gauge what he’s been able to pick up on, and it also helps him pay better attention.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jessica,
Narration is a great way to assess comprehension and to help children retain what they comprehend longer. It’s a great tool for even older, independent students as narrating back to yourself can help when studying for tests and such. Narration can be limiting in that is focuses on the literal, the who and what. It may not move into deeper comprehension such a character’s motivations, connecting the reading to your life and experiences, and so on. However, if you ask a deeper comprehension question or two at the end of some of your son’s narrations, you can bring in the non-literal as well.

Allison

says:

I’m a big fan of the strategy “mark up the book” to apply many of the other comprehension strategies – I definitely did that myself in college quite a bit (writing questions, underlining important points, etc). For kiddos who you may not want writing in books to be reused by siblings or others later on, sticky-notes/post-its are very helpful!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Allison,
Yes! Jotting notes, ideas, thoughts, and so on right on the page of a book or on a Post-It that you leave on that page is an excellent strategy for increasing deep comprehension while reading! They even make see-through sticky notes now so you can not mark a book but still underline passages and add notes right where you want them. Thank you for pointing this out.

Rachel

says:

Love the do’s and dont’s! This article is extremely helpful. Thank you!

Sandi W

says:

Good tips. Thanks.

Kimberly Key

says:

This is such a helpful article! I love using this program!

Anita Z

says:

Thanks for this article. Very useful for me with my oldest. Thanks

Larissa

says:

Love your program and these comprehension strategies. Great work!

Jeff

says:

I had never considered that reading could be done with comprehending! Thanks

Pevz

says:

This is what I want my 5 and 6 year old will focus this summer! Thanks a lot!

Jalie

says:

Thanks for the practical tips!

Tara

says:

This is an area I have felt lacking in this year. I appreciate the quick comprehension questions in the context of actually reading the book. I’m not good at thinking of good questions to ask so I love that it is right there in the lesson plan. I’m sold on this curriculum, I’ll be switching to it next year!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tara,
I’m pleased that this blog post has helped you with your decision. Do you have any questions or need help with placement or anything? I’d love to help you if you need it!

stacey

says:

Very helpful information. I struggled in this area as a child so I want to help my children learn this skill early.

Sue

says:

So much helpful information. My son is struggling right now with reading comprehension, and I will be employing some of these tips to keep him motivated!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sue,
I’m sorry that your son is struggling with comprehension right now. Hopefully the tips in this blog post will help, but if you have any questions or concerns, please let me know!

Tosha Finley

says:

Reading comprehension is such an important thing to monitor. Thanks for the tips.

Rebekah

says:

Thank you so much for all the helpful tools and tips! Can’t wait to try them out!

Mrs. Suire

says:

I like using the things I learn in this curriculum to help other moms when there children are having struggles in their school

Denise Uda

says:

This is great information on reading comprehension. I will try these strategies with my son who is struggling with comprehension. I think they will help.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Denise,
I’m glad you think this blog post and download will help. However, if you need further help or have questions, please let us know.

Becky

says:

Wow! Great article. I didn’t realize how important this is.
Thank you for sharing!!!

Lisa R

says:

Very insightful article and strategies. Thank you.

Gale

says:

Its great this program works on comprehension from the beginning.

Susan Pedigo

says:

I really appreciate the samples and the downloadable poster. These will be very helpful when working with my son.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Susan,
We’re pleased that you will find this helpful. Thank you.

Renae B.

says:

Reading comprehension is something I would like to make sure my sons are better at than I was in school. I appreciate the built in help in the lessons in teaching various reading comprehension skills.

Julie

says:

Thank you for this article, sample curriculum and printable!

Alison Potter

says:

This is very helpful! I feel more capable in guiding my child in this then I did before!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Alison! We appreciate hearing that this blog post has helped you to feel more confident about this.

Amber Wood

says:

AAR has worked great with my child who doesn’t like to read.

Marcie

says:

I shared this with my aunt who is looking to help her grandson with reading comprehension. Great information, as always!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Marcie,
Thank you for sharing this with your aunt. We hope it helps, but let her know we are happy to answer any questions she may have as well.

Auburn

says:

This is super helpful information! I can’t wait to start using the AAR in the fall with my kindergartner!

Lisa

says:

I’ve never thought about comprehension going beyond the most literal questions before. Thanks for the insight!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Lisa. Yes, comprehension can and should be deeper than the surface understanding.

Ashley

says:

Good info!

Kathy

says:

My daughter has struggled with reading comprehension and this way of teaching seems to make so much more sense than what I’ve been trying! And my son seems like he is much more of a Montessori type learner so this multisensory program just sounds amazing!

Lina

says:

We love AAR!!!

Sarah

says:

I really like the reading comprehension strategies

Heather

says:

These are useful ways to have for reading comprehension!

Lindsey

says:

Very insightful! Can’t wait to begin the process of teaching my daughter how to read.

Mandy

says:

Thanks for the great print out.

Kindra Jazwick

says:

Comprehension is a struggle for my 7 year old. He is so focused on struggling through the words themselves he often misses what the story is about. I’d love for him to read comfortably and comprehend because he loves books.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kindra,
I’m sorry to hear your student is struggling in this way.

Yes. Not being a fluent reader is a large determent for reading comprehension. You can use many, if not all, of the tips outlined here for listening comprehension while you work with your student to build up his fluency. Listening comprehension and reading comprehension are related, so reading aloud to your student daily will give him a head start in reading comprehension.

Children that struggle with fluency often benefit from rereading the same stories and fluency practice sheets multiple times.

I hope this helps some. Please let us know if you have additional questions or need anything.

Juill Potts

says:

Great tips.

Ellen

says:

Great tips! Thanks!

Amanda

says:

Excited to start using All about reading 1 with my son!

Ryane

says:

This is great! Thanks!

MistyEspinosa

says:

I have not had the opportunity to start this program and cannot wait to get started soon. It really seems like it fills in all the gaps especially for those who don’t love reading. This is going to be a great program for my kids.

Katie B.

says:

We love the reading program!

Lisa Marshall

says:

I love both the reading and spelling program.

Catherine

says:

Thank you for the tips!!!

Amber

says:

I love the emphasis all about reading puts on reading comprehension. As a former educator I found my students were lacking in this area. I’m so excited to give my son’s a strong foundation in not only reading comprehension but the other reading skills this curriculum provides.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amber,
We appreciate your insights as an experienced educator! Thank you.

Kendra

says:

I’m pleased to know All About Reading. I look forward to using it with my two youngest children. I appreciate the simplicity of an approach that still works so well.

Kelly

says:

I’m struggling with teaching this so it’s been very helpful. Thank you!

Kandi Spencer

says:

Thank you for the article. Very helpful.

Christina

says:

Great article!

Carol

says:

I want to thank you for this comprehension lesson. My grandson has problems with comprehension so this will be very helpful. I really enjoy yoour program.

Batool

says:

I loved the what not to do notes! They offer some great suggestions,

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

We are happy to hear that our “Things NOT to Do” section was helpful to you, Batool.

Kari

says:

My daughter and I love the All About Learning products and have learned so much already!

Laura

says:

Thank you for sharing this post. It was very helpful.

Esperanza

says:

Thank You for this post, it’s encouraging to have examples along with the “do’s” and “don’ts”

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Esperanza. We are pleased to be encouraging to you.

Karen

says:

Informative article, Thank you!

Alva Natalie Ramon

says:

Thank you for this article of useful information.

Tracy

says:

Thanks for this article. I’ve been interested in your products and your information and recommendations are very useful!

angela peppers

says:

Thank you for the wonderful article. I have changed up some things with my 9 year old and these tips have helped temendously.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Angela. We are happy this will be helpful with your 9-year-old.

Melanie

says:

This is one of the hurdles our son finds most difficult. Thank you for the advice!

Deb S

says:

This is a really helpful post! I (should have but) didn’t realize some of the skills being taught were strategies for comprehension.

Lisa

says:

Very helpful reccomendations. Thank you! As a veteran home schooling mom, I am still learning better ways!

Jaime

says:

I homeschooled my 3 children using a different program 30(!) years ago. I liked it and they all turned out to be good readers but now I am using AAR with my 2 granddaughters and I can see that it is far better than what I had used before. I am fairly certain that my older granddaughter would not have done well with the program that I used with her father as she is developmentally delayed but she is doing fantastic with this program and loves to do her reading lesson each day.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jaime,
Thank you so much for sharing your experience and perspective with All About Reading! I’m especially pleased to hear that your older granddaughter is doing so well.

Dusti Heil

says:

I look forward to starting this curriculum with my kids in August, I wish I would have found it sooner!!!

Amy Smith

says:

I wish I hadn’t wasted so much time or money on other programs!! My daughter was ready but hated the previous reading curriculums we tried so it was like pulling teeth!

Erika

says:

Thanks for the helpful tips. Do you sell big bundles of your materials.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Erika,
If you are interested a large order, please call our office 715-477-1976 for customized help putting it together. We can put together bundles as big as you need.

Melody

says:

I just got the all about reading and excited to start teaching with this program!

Jennifer Funkhouser

says:

This was a very helpful article!

Kelli Turner

says:

As a speech-language pathologist I LOVE THIS! Thank you for sharing these great strategies that not every person would otherwise have access to!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kelli,
You’re welcome. Thank you for letting us know you have found this to be helpful and worthwhile as well.

Amanda

says:

Love these products!!! I use with all four of my kids!!

Bethani L.

says:

Love this, thank so much!

Carissa

says:

Thank you

Ashley

says:

Love the chart! Thank you!

Patsy Foy

says:

AAR has truly changed my SN daughter’s outlook & love of reading. She is actually able to read & understand what she’s reading now. Thank you so much for such an amazing program.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Patsy,
This is so great to hear! Thank you for letting us know that your daughter is now able to love reading.

Megan

says:

I have one child who is really struggling with this right now. When I ask a question I get an immediate, “what?” I’m still not sure if it’s just a habit he’s developed to give himself more time or if he really isn’t sure about how to answer. Looks like it’s time to look more closely at some of the resources I have from AAR. See if those help him through this little bump. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Megan,
An immediate, “What?” response could be a habit. How well does he reply after you restate your question? If he answers fine after restating, try not restating. When he says, “What?”, just wait a moment to give him a chance to think about what you asked. Discuss with him that saying what everytime you ask a question isn’t really what he means. He actually means, “Let me think a minute.” Saying that would be better than “What?” all the time.

On the other hand, if he still has difficulty with answering questions even after they are repeated, it may be that he is having comprehension difficulties. Is he still using All About Reading? If he has finished it, do you have him read aloud to you regularly? Occasionally, after finishing the learn-to-read stage, students start reading silently and can start edging into bad habits, like word guessing. By having them read aloud to you, you can hear if that is happening.

Please let us know how he is doing. We’d like to help you help him overcome his “what?” habit.

Jessica M

says:

Looking forward to doing this with my kids. We are 11 lessons into AAR level 2

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jessica,
In lesson 11 of AAR 2, you will already be well started in this sort of comprehension work. In lesson 11 you will see discussion for preteaching vocabulary and knowledge, such as teaching what a “ref” is. There are discussion questions that ask students to think beyond what the story said and come to their own conclusions, and there is a discussion of what slang is and examples of slang from the story. All of these things and more build students comprehension to deeper levels.

Natalie

says:

I love this curriculum. I met a early elementary teacher when I was at the library and she told me that the most important thing to do with your kids is read read read and then 2nd most important is to ask questions and discuss what we read. Ask comprehension questions, and questions that make them think!!! Thank you for this great curriculum!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Natalie,
What great advice that teacher gave you! Thank you for sharing it with us.

k

says:

Thanks for all of your great information! Thanks for helping us remember how crucial it is to ask the deep, thoughtful questions, regarding our children’s reading, rather than just the obvious ones.

Danielle

says:

So much wonderful information!!
It is hard not to feel a bit overwhelmed when thinking about reading comprehension, vocabulary, and all the encompassed avenues a ‘teacher’- Grandma, can take to bring a starting reader to understanding.
These teaching tools will definitely be an excellent foundation.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Danielle,
Yes, there is a lot to think about in reading. However, All About Reading is a scripted, open-and-go program developed for busy parents, teachers, and tutors (and grandparents!) who want to teach reading in the most effective way possible. This program doesn’t require long periods of study, you don’t have to develop your own lesson plans, and you don’t have to stress over what to teach next—because everything is laid out for you, step by step. You’ll get solid grounding in how to teach reading without being overwhelmed.

Carol

says:

Learning comprehension is difficult to teach and to learn. Whoever teaches it must really be knowledgeable about it. I, myself,(72 yrs. old grandmother) had a hard time learning it. My 11 years old grandson also have a problem learning it also. So, now we are both learning it through you. I really appreciate your help! We both read well; so, which would be better, your all about reading or all about spelling program? I feel vocabulary helps a lot in comprehension. Which level would it be best to start with? I feel it is never too late to learn. Thank you for all your help!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Carol,
I recommend starting taking a look at our placement tests for All About Reading. Go over the tests, but also, have your grandson read the sample stories from the previous level online as a further confirmation. For example, if he seems to have trouble with the level 4 test, have him read the level 3 sample story. You want him to be reading fluently with good comprehension.

Level 1 sample story
Level 2 sample story
Level 3 sample story
Level 4 sample story

Evaluate (without correcting your grandson) for the following…

His ability to decode the words in the story.
His ability to comprehend the story.
Could he fluently read the story with expression?
Did he understand the words from a vocabulary standpoint?

Let us know how he does. Since you say he reads well, he may be above All About Reading’s highest level. However, he may benefit from level 3 or level 4, depending on how much difficulty he is having with comprehension.

Vocabulary does impact comprehension. Our blog post on How to Build You Child’s Vocabulary may be helpful to you.

Sarah Burks

says:

My daughter is SO excited to be learning to read!

Tavia

says:

I’m very excited to teach my kids to read!

Tara

says:

I need to try this!

Diane Illingworth

says:

It’s easy to fall into the habit of just asking literal questions to check for comprehension, so this is a great reminder to ask those deeper questions and allow my kids to think and ponder what they’ve read. Thanks 😊

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Diane. Yes, it is very easy to fall into the habit of literal questions; I’ve seen homeschool curriculum focus on mostly that type of question even into high level. However, asking those open-ended questions that have no real right or wrong answers goes much further to helping our children to learn to think deeply about what they read.

Cindy

says:

This is something I need to work on with both of my younger children.

TRACY

says:

Interested in using this program!

Laura

says:

I would love to try this program!

Rachel

says:

I look forward to trying these strategies with my beginner reader! Thank you

Jenn

says:

Thank you for all your great articles. They are so helpful!

Tammy

says:

I’m looking forward to trying this for my struggling reader.

Dominica

says:

Its so great to have all of these strategies built right in to AAR. We love this program, and it has made teaching my children to read the easiest part of our homeschool day.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Dominica! It’s so wonderful to hear that our program is a welcomed part of your day.

Jaclyn

says:

We love All about Reading! Thanks!

Brittney

says:

My children and i love All about reading! its our favorite subject.

Erica

says:

Great strategies here, I often struggle to come up with a question behind the literal, but know it is necessary.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Erica,
The non-literal questions don’t have to be difficult. You can ask the child’s opinion about what happened, why do they think it happened, and so on. Aim for conversations that encourage thinking about what was read.

Michelle E.

says:

Thanks Marie for developing this great reading program! My children love it!

Andrea

says:

I found a game from Lakeshore that encourages reading comprehension. After completing level 2, I wasn’t sure how much my 6 year old was actually retaining. We played the game and I was blown away how easy it was for her. Your program and suggestions are fantastic

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Andrea,
Thank you for sharing how well your 6-year-old is doing with comprehension!

Christina P.

says:

Thank you for this informative post!

Katrina

says:

Good food for thought as my second starts the process of learning to read.

sara

says:

this was really helpful! Thank you!

Amanda mattix

says:

Thank you for your awesome products!

Shannan

says:

We are loving AAR! My struggling reader has flourished since using this program. And I am always thankful for extra tips from this blog! Saving for future use!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Shannan,
It’s great to hear your student is doing well with All About Reading. Thank you for letting us know!

Jessica

says:

We are loving our time in AAR. This is a post I will be saving to come back to to refresh myself on strategies.

Kirsten

says:

The poster is perfect. Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Kirsten!

Tina G

says:

We absolutely love AAR and AAS. It has been the best curriculum for my once struggling reader.

T. BRUCE

says:

What a great Q&A about reading comp. Evan as refresher reminder too.

Julisa

says:

Not about reading comprehension, but about your customer service. I asked a simple question and received an extremely helpful, detailed answer. Much more than I was expecting. 5 stars.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Julisa! We do aim to give outstanding customer service and it is lovely to know that you were pleased with it.

Tracy

says:

I’m so thankful for this curriculum! I switched to all about learning because I needed help knowing what to teach my daughter next. She’s flourishing this year in reading!

Nancy

says:

Reading comprehension seems to elude my kids. I don’t know if it’s a lack of real world knowledge or what, but I’ve been surprised by what story elements were misunderstood.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Nancy,
I’m sorry to hear your children are struggling with this. Can you share an example of what things you are surprised by what they are misunderstanding? We would love to help you understand your children’s comprehension issues better.

Tina

says:

I would love this for my son! He is in 5 grade and is 2 years behind in his reading! I have heard really good things about this program!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tina,
Here are some ways that All About Reading can help kids that struggle with reading:

– Each lesson time is simple and explicit, and will include 3 simple steps: review of what was learned the day before, a simple new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching.

– Incremental lessons. AAR breaks every teaching down into its most basic steps and then teaches the lessons in a logical order, carrying the students from one concept or skill to the next. Each step builds on the one the student has already mastered.

– AAR is multisensory. Research has shown that when a child is taught through all three pathways at the same time, a method known as simultaneous multisensory instruction, he will learn significantly more than when taught only through his strongest pathway.

– AAR uses specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the All About Reading letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAR is scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

– AAR has built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning difficulties generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR, your child will have a Reading Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows.

– AAR has lots of fluency practice. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency. AAR has fluency sheets or a story to be read with every lesson, so children can practice reading smoothly with expression and confidence.

All About Reading has a one-year guarantee. You can try it, and if for any reason you feel that it isn’t the right match for your child, return it for a full refund.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Sarah

says:

I noticed a huge difference in my son’s comprehension level once we started using AAR. Great curriculum!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

This is great to hear, Sarah! Thank you for letting us know your son’s comprehension improved with AAR.

Loreen G.

says:

I love how you help parents/educators with these informative posts. Thank you for your awesome curriculum and all the helps along the way.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Loreen. We do want to be helpful and informative!

Jennifer Edwards

says:

I am new to the products, so this is quite interesting. I have a struggling reader so I am always looking for products and suggestions to help!

mandy

says:

We are loving aar!

Mandi

says:

Thank you for all your help! The curriculum is amazing and so are your many helpful articles 😊

Michelle

says:

I am so eager to try AAR with my struggling reader! Nothing else has worked so far and I’ve heard nothing but good things about this program!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michelle,
Here are some ways that All About Reading can help kids that struggle with reading:

– Each lesson time is simple and explicit, and will include 3 simple steps: review of what was learned the day before, a simple new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching.

– Incremental lessons. AAR breaks every teaching down into its most basic steps and then teaches the lessons in a logical order, carrying the students from one concept or skill to the next. Each step builds on the one the student has already mastered.

– AAR is multisensory. Research has shown that when a child is taught through all three pathways at the same time, a method known as simultaneous multisensory instruction, he will learn significantly more than when taught only through his strongest pathway.

– AAR uses specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the All About Reading letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAR is scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

– AAR has built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning difficulties generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR, your child will have a Reading Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows.

– AAR has lots of fluency practice. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency. AAR has fluency sheets or a story to be read with every lesson, so children can practice reading smoothly with expression and confidence.

All About Reading has a one-year guarantee. You can try it, and if for any reason you feel that it isn’t the right match for your child, return it for a full refund.

I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Lori Blake

says:

I love that AAR includes comprehension as well as phonics. It is a very well-rounded program.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Lori!

Mandie

says:

We are currently working thru Level One All About Reading. I love this program. It has taught me a lot about teaching reading comprehension to my son. I was guilty of asking the “literal questions” you mention above. After changing the way I ask comprehension questions, my son has come so far!! Thank you so much for a great product.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mandie,
Thank you for sharing how changing the type of comprehension questions you ask has helped your son in his comprehension!

Rachael

says:

We are just about to finish the all about reading level one. I love the program! We’re excited to start the next level and also all about spelling! I would recommend this program to everyone!

Katie O.

says:

Good points! We have enjoyed this feature of AAR!

Lori

says:

One of the many reasons I am loving using All About Reading with my 6 year old son! Such a thorough yet not overwhelming curriculum that hits every aspect of reading. I love that reading comprehension is worked on throughout. We are almost done with Level 1 and looking forward to continuing through the program and adding in All About Spelling!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lori,
Thank you for letting us know that All About Reading level 1 is working so well for you!

Teresa

says:

Just love All About Spelling curriculum.

Machalah

says:

This is perfect! I was just thinking the other day that I needed some extra ways to encourage fluency and comprehension!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Machalah,
Great timing!

In case you haven’t seen it, we also have a blog post on How to Develop Reading Fluency.

Allison

says:

This resource is the best choice for my family. Both of my daughters have taken off in reading and comprehension.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Allison,
Thank you for letting us know your daughters are doing so well!

Lindsey

says:

Great tips, thank you!

Crystal Millner

says:

I’ve always wanted to try the All about products since my daughter is dyslexic.

Elisa

says:

I have a seven year old who has ADHD and dyslexia. Reading is always a challenge for us and is never a fun time for him. This may help us.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Elisa,
Both All About Reading and All About Spelling are Orton-Gillingham based, which is a proven approach for helping students with dyslexia and other learning disabilities. It’s also the approach that the International Dyslexia Association recommends. The author of AAR and AAS, Marie Rippel, is a member of the International Dyslexia Association and has instructed graduate-level courses in Orton-Gillingham Literacy Training offered through Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. She is also a member of Pro Literacy, has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Literary Task Force in Wisconsin, and tutored students for more than 20 years. If you haven’t had a chance to watch their story about her son’s struggles, you may want to check that out (they were told he would never read). Quite amazing!

You might like to visit our Dyslexia Resources Page.

Here are some ways that All About Reading and All About Spelling can help kids with learning difficulties:

– Each lesson time is simple and explicit and will include 3 simple steps: the review of what was learned the day before, a simple new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching.

– Incremental lessons. AAR and AAS break every teaching down into its most basic steps and then teach the lessons in a logical order, carrying students from one concept or skill to the next. Each step builds on what the student has already mastered.

– AAR and AAS are multisensory. Research has shown that when a child is taught through all three pathways at the same time, a method known as simultaneous multisensory instruction, he will learn significantly more than when taught only through his strongest pathway.

– AAR and AAS use specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAR and AAS are scripted so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

– AAR and AAS have built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning difficulties generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR and AAS, your child will have a Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows.

– All About Reading has lots of fluency practice. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency. AAR has fluency sheets or a story to be read with every lesson, so children can practice reading smoothly with expression and confidence.

– All About Spelling has a gradual progression for increasing the student’s stamina and fluency in writing, from words and short phrases in Level 1, to phrases and short sentences in Level 2, to 12 dictation sentences per step in Level 3. Partway through Level 3, the Writing Station activity is introduced. In this exercise, students write sentences of their own that they make up using some of their spelling words. In this way students have begun to use words in a more real-world context through dictation and writing, to help them transition to longer writing assignments.

All About Reading and All About Spelling have a one-year guarantee. You can try them, and if for any reason you feel that they aren’t the right match for your child, return them for a full refund.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Living outside US, I felt lucky to have found this resource. Finally I found a right track to work with my 2 grade daughter, who speaks and reads English well but started losing some of her abilities in English when her mother tongue started to dominate her life at school…

I’m also thinking about recommending both AAR and AAS to my clients with dyslexia and dysgraphia, who’s already started improving their weakness with iLs, Integrated Listening Systems therapies.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Yasko,
Thank you for your interest in All About Reading and All About Spelling. Please let us know if you have any questions!

Great stuff! I have so many things to read about im getting lost in the pile! But its better then having no pile to choose from.
GOOD LUCK MOMS

Meghan

says:

This is really helpful

Christine

says:

This is great info!

Alice Bruce

says:

I learned a lot

Sharon

says:

This has been a real help to my family.

Candace

says:

Great information for any parent!

Sue Boswell

says:

Love AAR , my daughter has came up 2 reading levels this last year.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sue,
This is amazing progress! Thank you for letting us know how well your daughter is doing!

Tiffany

says:

Does “narration” count as a strategy, or is that used mainly in helping the parent assess the child’s reading comprehension?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tiffany,
Great question!

I don’t think narration really helps with comprehension in the moment, but narration or retelling of what was understood can help with retention or remembering. A child that is struggling with comprehension will likely struggle with narration so it can be a tool for assessing a child’s understanding of the text. However, narration tends to focus on shallow “what happened” comprehension. While focusing on literal comprehension is reasonable for younger children, you do want to move toward deeper thinking about the text as the children age and read better.

Does answer your question?

Tiffany

says:

Yes! Thank you.

Brandy

says:

Great tips!

Ali

says:

Good info.

Sherry

says:

Great article on reading comprehension

Carrie

says:

Very informative and helpful.

Roxanna

says:

I never thought about how I learned to read. I started early and it was fairly easy for me. My children however are struggling and I am emersing myself as a homeschooling family in the awesome of OG approach. Thank you for this!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Roxanna. It can be difficult to teach something that you know so well you can do it instinctively. It is called The Curse of Knowledge.

I’m sorry to hear that your children are struggling, however. Please let us know if you have questions or need anything as you help them.

SusanCK

says:

Reading was difficult for me when I was in school because of comprehension issues. It took me longer to do reading assignments because of classroom distractions.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Susan,
I’m sorry to hear you struggled with comprehension and classroom distractions as a child. I hope you have been able to overcome these difficulties.

Rebekah Bageant

says:

This is super helpful! We love AAR!

Anita Flinchum

says:

I find these blog posts very helpful. These are wonderful products.

Kristine M.

says:

Thank you for this blog post. It was very helpful.

Amy

says:

I’ve been checking into all about reading for my struggling readers!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
Here are some ways that All About Reading can help student that struggle with reading :

– Each lesson time is simple and explicit, and will include 3 simple steps: review of what was learned the day before, a simple new teaching, and a short practice of that new teaching.

– Incremental lessons. AAR breaks every teaching down into its most basic steps and then teaches the lessons in a logical order, carrying the students from one concept or skill to the next. Each step builds on the one the student has already mastered.

– AAR is multisensory. Research has shown that when a child is taught through all three pathways at the same time, a method known as simultaneous multisensory instruction, he will learn significantly more than when taught only through his strongest pathway.

– AAR uses specially color-coded letter tiles. Working with the All About Reading letter tiles can make the difference between understanding or not understanding a concept.

– AAR is scripted, so you can concentrate on your child. The script is very clear, without excess verbiage.

– AAR has built-in review in every lesson. Children with learning difficulties generally need lots of review in order to retain concepts. With AAR, your child will have a Reading Review Box so you can customize the review. This way, you can concentrate on just the things that your child needs help with, with no time wasted on reviewing things that your child already knows.

– AAR has lots of fluency practice. One of the things that Marie noticed when she was researching reading programs is that few programs have enough review built in for kids who struggle to gain fluency. AAR has fluency sheets or a story to be read with every lesson, so children can practice reading smoothly with expression and confidence.

All About Reading has a one-year guarantee. You can try it, and if for any reason you feel that it isn’t the right match for your child, return it for a full refund.

I hope this helps. Please let me know if you have any questions or have specific concerns.

Patti Schmiesing

says:

Comprehension is a big struggle for my daughter. I like the strategies poster and can’t wait to try these variations.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Patti,
We hope you find this helpful! Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns as you help your daughter with comprehension.

Stacy

says:

This is our first year using your program. Love the illustrations!

Patti

says:

I really love the all about spelling tiles and multi sensory learning experience they foster!

Rachel Freilich

says:

I use these ideas often with my kiddo!

Christina

says:

Really helpful! Love the printable Reading Comprehension Strategies Poster! Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Christina!

Jennifer

says:

I recently began homeschooling my 9 year old son who has an auditory processing disorder. We are doing level 3 for All About Reading and Level 1 for All About Spelling. He loves to track his progress with the sticker charts and he feels a great sense of accomplishment. I love how organized both programs are and he is gaining the foundation that he was missing from not being able to hear/process while he was in large classes at school. You have saved the sanity of this inexperienced homeschooling mom!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jennifer,
Thank you so much for sharing how All About Reading and All About Spelling are helping your son have success with reading and spelling. It sounds like he is doing well!

joanna schock

says:

Such helpful information!

Christy Maloney

says:

We love all about learning press!! The concepts are reinforced all throughout reading as well as spelling and compliment each other wonderfully!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Aww, thank you, Christy!

Emna

says:

Love the ideas thank you so much

Elizabeth

says:

Such a helpful article. Last fall we started All About Spelling with my 3rd grade dyslexic who was an early reader but struggled with spelling. It’s made such a difference and he actually enjoys it and believes he’s good at it! I wish I understood how comprehension can be a struggle and had started from the beginning with All about reading. I will be with my kindergarten this year.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Elizabeth,
You can apply the strategies outlined here with whatever your student is reading. While All About Reading covers it well, comprehension can be practiced with any book your student reads or listens to.

Kim

says:

Good tips that can be applied immediately, thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Kim!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Kim!

stacey Brown

says:

Excellent article! I’m so thankful I found this curriculum for my daughter. We are about to start Level 2 and she loves it.

Olivia

says:

Thank you for the great printable chart of strategies!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Olivia,
You are welcome!

Amy

says:

This has been by far the most helpful curriculum I have ever come across! I ah e 2 kiddos with dyslexia and 2 who do not (and one who is not old enough to know :)). This curriculum is awesome for all my kids!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Amy,
Thank you for letting us know that our curriculum has been a great fit for your family!

Lyla

says:

I like that the strategies are listed as verbs. Right away everyone knows exactly what to do.
It was also a nice reminder for me to remember that strategies are tools, not the main goal.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for noticing, Lyla! We do like to make things as actionable as possible.

Sasha

says:

This post gave me a lot to think about! I don’t really think about reading comprehension once I know my kids can read well, I am going to print that image and hang it up to help remind me to ask some comprehension questions. :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sasha,
Discussion of what your kids are reading is important, but it can be natural and conversational too. Hopefully this chart will help remind her to have those conversations.

Laurie

says:

All About Reading, along with Diane Craft’s reading program are my recommendations for those with learning blocks. I have found the All About Reading tiles app very useful.

I find breaking up the content into sections helps tremendously, especially when there is a lot of content to get through. It has helped relieve the stress of slow processing for my child.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing this method of helping your child comprehend, Stephanie! It’s a great technique.

Michelle

says:

This is a great way to learn.

Kristine Hart

says:

Would love to win this! new homeschool mom here

Amanda z

says:

This gave me a lot of good tips! Thanks!

CK

says:

The small emails that come through from All About Learning are constantly adding tools to my arsenal. The charts, the tricks and most recently the incredible upgrade of the Letter Tiles App (iPad) have changed our ability to do our AAS lessons so much. My son looks forward to and asks to do his AAS lessons even when his difficulties made him cry the previous day. He feels easily defeated but rallies with the start of each new lesson because the routine is conforting and the tiles give him a way to work hands on instead of just writing.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

CK,
I’m sorry your son is struggling like this but pleased to know we have been helping and encouraging you and your son. Thank you for sharing this.

Sheila Ferrer

says:

Started with AAS and looking forward to use this program for my 8 year old. Reading all the success stories, makes us hopeful to be successful too.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sheila,
Please let us know if you have any questions or need any help as you teach your student. We are here to help you help your child succeed with reading and spelling!

Tami

says:

Thank you for this! It is very helpful.

Isa Wagner

says:

Absolutely love this program, I’ve taught both my girls to read using this (one of which is dyslexic) and now using it with my autistic child

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Isa!

Deborah

says:

Can’t wait to try this for my boys!

Dorinda Turner

says:

These are some great tips. Thank you so much for sharing.

Kirsten

says:

Good thoughts. Especially about reading interesting books!

Kristi

says:

We are just starting AAS. I am very optimistic that this will help with my children’s spelling and reading!

Melissa

says:

Looking forward to try this!

Kia S.

says:

Great info!

Tina

says:

My dyslexic son has made great strides in decoding but still has issues with comprehension.

Glory

says:

Thanks for the strategies!

Taryn Anderson

says:

Good info

Andrea

says:

I’m so grateful I found this site! There is just not enough information out there about dyslexia. In the few days I’ve been on here, I’ve learned so much as to, what he might be thinking, seeing, comprehending or not. And how to teach him , using specific tools. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Andrea,
We are very pleased to know you have found our site so helpful and encouraging. In case you haven’t seen it already, we have a Dyslexia Resources page that will lead to you many articles and blog posts relating to dyslexia.

If you have any questions or need any help, please just ask!

Hayley

says:

We love this program! We have used the prereading level through Level 2. I love that it has increases my confidence in teaching my kids to read.

Cheryl

says:

We are almost through level 2 and still struggle with comprehension. My daughter can only answer literal questions. We can’t read much slower, and she hates to reread. Trying to reread a story makes her hate reading even more than she already does. :( Maybe we will try some of the other strategies!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Cheryl,
How well is your child reading the story the first time through? Is she still struggling with sounding out most of the words? If she cannot read the stories with a good amount of fluency, of course comprehension will be hard. She is using all of her focus just to read the words and isn’t taking in meaning.

Have you tried buddy reading with her? Buddy reading can make rereading more appealing to students, as it makes it more social and she only has to read half of the pages on the first two days.

While I don’t like to recommend something that will make her dislike reading even more, maybe you can talk with her about rereading and why it is important. By rereading stories and fluency pages, she will be working on making reading easier and easier. Discuss what the goal of her reading lessons is. The goal isn’t to just get through the lesson. The goal is to learn to read easily and well. If she needs to reread in order to work toward that goal, then it is necessary.

Maybe you can minimize the dislike of rereading by asking her to read the story to her dad, grandparent, younger sibling, neighbor, or someone else. When she is showing a loved one how she is doing in reading and they praise her up and down, it is likely she may be more open to the second reading.

We do not recommend moving on to the next level until she can read the last few stories in this level with good fluency and comprehension.

I am thinking that maybe fluency is the reason for her comprehension problems because you mention rereading, but maybe I am mistaken. If she is reading the stories smoothly, needing to sound out just a few words per page, please let me know. If however, fluency is the problem, we would love to help you more with that as well. My youngest child struggled greatly with fluency, but I very happy to say that she completed AAR 4 before Christmas and is reading very well now, both fluently and with excellent comprehension.

Kelly

says:

Interesting read! Thank you!

Shanen

says:

We have loved level 1 Blast off to Reading! My son has come so far in just a short period of time

Sally Chancellor

says:

I love getting to watch this program in action! Thanks for the video :)

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Sally. We’re pleased to know the video is appreciated.

I’m really excited to watch my kids develop good reading strategies.

Comprehension is a huge issue with both my daughters. Thank you for the valuable information

Amber Johnson

says:

This is excellent tips. I’m working with my 1st grader on reading comprehension now and this article is exactly what I needed.

Sherry

says:

Thanks, this is very helpful.

Maria

says:

Good information about reading comprehension.

Kelly

says:

Thanks for the great tips.

Kirsten M

says:

Such helpful tips! We’ve loved our AAR curriculum…it’s been so great at laying out the learning in a logical & easy-to-follow way.

Jill

says:

Definitely working on this right now.

Christina

says:

Thank you so much for this article! This is helpful and encouraging, as my kindergartener has not been as easy to teach as my older son.

Michelle

says:

Thank you for this article. It will help both my seasoned reader as well as the one learning to read.

Consuelo Marshall

says:

This is amazing it would be so helpful for our struggling readers.

Mary

says:

I like that you don’t add a separate reading comp curriculum.

Kelly Dietz

says:

Will be looking into this for my rising kindergartner. Thanks for the information!!!

Paige

says:

We switched from a sight word program to AAR with my kindergarten son. I can’t believe how well he is reading now! The AAR program is succinct and effective, making sense of reading without the frustration of learning sight words in random order.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Paige,
It’s wonderful that All About Reading has been able to help your son do so well with reading! Thank you for sharing this.

Caroline

says:

Didn’t know you had this available. Will have to look into it more!

Joyce

says:

I purchased AAR and AAS for my daughter when started homeschooling her first child a few years ago. She absolutely loved it! My grandson had been getting frustrated with reading because the curriculum they were using would have some words in the reading selections that he didn’t know. He gained much confidence in reading using AAR. This fall I will be homeschooling his younger brother and plan to use AAR with him. Thank you for an excellent product!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Joyce,
Thank you for sharing how All About Reading has helped your students!

M. E.

says:

Thanks for the info

Tiffany C

says:

My 2nd grader loves AAR!

Cindi o

says:

Always good to think about. :)

Teagan Mrowka

says:

Love this!

Lisa

says:

Thank you, I guess I always assumed that if they were decoding, they are comprehending. This was very informative.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
This idea that if a student can read it they can understand it is a common thought, but unfortunately it isn’t true for all students or even for most students in all situations. I am capable of reading my son’s Thermal Dynamics college textbook, but I cannot comprehend it! I don’t have the background knowledge of calculus and physics to be able to understand it the way my son can.

Hopefully this blog post will give you ideas on how to ensure your students are comprehending as well as reading. However, if you need any help, just ask.

Zorah

says:

This is a wealth of helpful tips!

Krystal r.

says:

Very helpful!

Cariane

says:

These are good tips

Wendy

says:

Great article! Thank you so much for these helpful blogs and all the extra ideas & activities!

Belinda

says:

We have enjoyed the reading comprehension activities that go with each story. The background info is also very helpful.

Sandy

says:

Great information. Thanks.

Lauren

says:

I LOVE these ideas. My oldest has Mixed Expressive Receptive Language Delay. Because of that, he has a vocabulary Delay and struggles with making mental pictures. He has THRIVED with AAR and AAS, which is a blessing for kids that almost always struggle with reading. He just finished Level 3, but we are waiting to start Level 4 in the fall so he can just “read for fun” and boost his skills and confidence in the comprehension department. I know he’ll slay it like he always does. This is such a wonderful program and worth the investment. I’ll definitely be using some of these ideas during our little “break.”

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lauren,
Thank you for sharing your son’s struggles and his triumphs with us! It sounds like he is really doing well with reading now. Way to go, both of you!

Elizabeth El Kassemy

says:

G

Deanna

says:

Reading comprehension was a nice unexpected side benefit with AAR.

Mistie

says:

Good information! Thank you!

Diana

says:

Sometimes I get wrapped up in the reading the words and forget to make sure my daughter is actually comprehending what she’s reading. This was a great reminder.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Diana,
Yes. The ultimate goal of reading is full and deep comprehension. It is helpful to keep that goal in mind when your student is still working on just reading the words.

Sarah

says:

I have loved the All About Spelling Program and would love to try the All About Reading Program! I have seen my children make great connections that they seemed to be missing with other spelling programs. The multi-sensory approach is amazing!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
We agree that the multisensory approach to learning is very amazing! It’s great to hear that All About Spelling is working out so well with your children.

Stacy Farm

says:

I will let my students make some art and craft (eg. drawing, make a puppet of the character) of the story that they have just heard. These are great tips too!

Heather

says:

I’m glad to know that reading good books and using this curriculum is thought to be comprehensive and enough. A relief! I think my kids comprehend things well, for their age and development.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Heather,
Yes, All About Reading covers comprehension well, and lots of reading and reading aloud help with comprehension, but we also recommend talking about what you are reading outside of AAR. Discussions about what is going on, opinions, connections, and so on will expand your students’ comprehension.

jill

says:

I love these programs.

Cathy

says:

Comprehension came naturally to my oldest, but these tips will help with my middle child who struggles. Thanks!

Dawn

says:

Fab information here! There are some good ideas, and validation for what we are doing in terms of family story time!

Dawn

says:

And I love your programs, and more importantly, so does my daughter!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Dawn!

Heather

says:

One of the many reasons I love AAR!

Anne

says:

Thanks for the info!

Ashley

says:

Great information! Thank you!

Amy

says:

gleaning a lot – thank you!

Simah

says:

Great advice! Thanks!

Cheryl Morrison

says:

Thank you…I love your ideas

Erica Eastman

says:

Thank you for the great advice. The reading strategy chart is a great reference tool to keep on hand. I haven’t spent much time teaching reading comprehension. All my kids love to read, but I will keep these things in mind to make sure they can get out of their reading as much as possible. In the meantime, we’ll keep reading and enjoying good books together!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Erica,
We will be getting a printable version of the Reading Comprehension Strategies chart up on this blog post soon. Check back in a day or two.

Geraldine

says:

Teaching reading is very rewarding!

L Thompson

says:

Thanks for the tips!

Devon

says:

We love this program! Thank you for making it fun and easy to use!

Jane

says:

Great ideas. Thank you for sharing. I whole-heartedly agree on the importance of background knowledge being key to comprehension.

SarahKL

says:

This was helpful! Thank you!

Aimee

says:

This is helpful. Comprehension is something I worry about with my dyslexic son, but I’ve sortof been at a loss as to how to teach it. Thank you

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Aimee,
Comprehension can be a problem with children with learning difficulties, but there are ways to help them have great comprehension. This article hints at it, but doesn’t say clearly that listening comprehension and reading comprehension are closely related. One thing you can do to help his reading comprehension is to expose him to lots and lots of reading with reading aloud to him and having him enjoy audiobooks. As you enjoy books together this way, use the Reading Comprehension Strategies above to help him with his listening comprehension as well.

stephanie

says:

I appreciate hearing that spending time reading interesting books will help with comprehension.

Lisa S

says:

This is very helpful. Thank you!

Jen Arnold

says:

Love this! I was intimidated at first by this program, but now we all love it. It has everything I wanted my kids to learn!

Jennifer Mathesz

says:

great tips

Lisa Baldwin

says:

I just purchased AAR level 1 and I am starting teaching from it this week. These tips I find very helpful. Thank you!

sue

says:

This material is so fabulous! What helpful tips.

Tesha

says:

Packed with great tips! Thanks especially for the video demonstrating the program.
It took me awhile to figure out that my little ones didn’t understand the words that I read (or even when I speak sometimes). My kids haven’t been used to ask questions about the reading, and I’ve recently tried reading slower and having them ask about a word they didn’t know. I like the idea of going over vocabulary before reading the story. I think that could work better.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Tesha,
Yes, preteaching vocabulary is very effective. In addition, taking time in the moment to teach a word as it comes up is also helpful. This blog post has great ideas on how to teach vocabulary.

Lisa

says:

Thank you! My trauma kids who couldn’t read at grades 2 and 4 have taken off this year and your resources and AAR curriculum have played a big part .

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Lisa,
We are so pleased to hear that your kids have taken off in reading this year! Keep up the excellent work.

Suanna Sears

says:

I enjoyed reading your tips and things not to do. We all ready do a lot of these, but having this as a reminder was a good place to check and see if there is anything I should be doing better while teaching.

Melissa Nowak

says:

Open ended questions are a great way to gauge comprehension, I’m glad to see they are available in the teaching guide so I don’t have to try to come up with my own.

Rachel

says:

These are great points! Thank you for such a thorough, but easily accessible, post on the fundamentals of comprehension.

Amanda

says:

This has been so helpful! I’m realizing my child may have gaps, and thinking we may be switching to AAR😊! Thanks for these tips!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Amanda. Please let us know if you have any questions as you think about starting All About Reading or if you need help with placement or anything else.

Crystal

says:

These are some really good tips.

Dawn

says:

Thanks again for another great article. I’m going to implement these suggestions for my daughter whose dyslexic. She hates to read & always says I didn’t learn anything from that.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Dawn,
In addition to these tips, consider having your daughter read aloud to you. When students read aloud we can easily hear if there are problems that are hindering their comprehension. I assumed my sons were reading well but they couldn’t tell me anything about their assigned reading day after day. I asked them to read aloud to me and within just a few moments I found one was guessing at almost all multisyllable words and needed further teaching in decoding and the other could read all the words but had no fluency or expression in his reading. After working with each to improve the underlying problems, their comprehension issues disappeared.

If your daughter continues to have difficulties, please let us know. We can help you help her find success with reading.

Kelli

says:

Very interesting; thank you!

Shauna

says:

Great information! Thank you!

Leila

says:

As a English teacher and a homeschool mom I found this information really useful!!! Thanks a lot!!!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Leila,
You are welcome! We are happy to be able to offer something useful.

Erica

says:

Thank you for the helpful information. We really enjoy using your programs and all the extras on the blog.

Stephane

says:

Information like this is so valuable! Our first language is not English, but all of these strategies help a lot and with a struggling reader we need all the help we can get!

Ralph

says:

Thank you for this article, I found it very helpful.

Aysha

says:

I find this article very useful. It is a wonderful tool to use when teaching comprehension. I will definitely implement it and share with other learning support teachers. Thank you for the lovely examples.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you for sharing this with others, Aysha.

Kim P.

says:

This is a wonderful article & I very much appreciate the sample lessons you provided as well! Thank you so much for all of the wonderful resources that you share!

Yuna Park

says:

Thanks for the video lesson example!

Michelle

says:

Thank you for the great article. I enjoy how your lessons have thought out questions to ask the students to help with reading comprehension. For some reason I have a hard time coming up with questions that are not too literal. I enjoyed some more ideas for helping teach reading comprehension.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Michelle,
As you go through All About Reading, take note of the comprehension questions in the book and the kind of discussions they generate. It is the thinking discussions and conversations that are important and the questions just serve to get the conversations started.

Ask if your student is liking the story. After he answers, ask him why or why not. Listen to his responses and ask further questions that encourage him to think about what he read with more depth. What would make the story better? Why did the character act the way she acted? Does this story remind him of something that has happened to him? Don’t just ask questions, however. Share your own thoughts, modeling for your student how you think about the stories. Let it be a natural conversation.

A. Der

says:

I am excited to look into this more

Derek Conrad

says:

Brilliant.

Thank you for making education so practical.

Margarita Headings

says:

Thank you for great ideas :)

Danielle

says:

The built in comprehension activities and questions in AAR really do add to the stories. It’s one less thing I have to remember to teach when it’s right in the lesson.

Laura

says:

These are great points to ponder! I wish all parents who are teaching reading did these things.

You all sensed the “but” right?

Regarding visualization of the information or story a student is reading – it has only been recognized in the past few years that there is a minority of people who lack or have significantly compromised ability to “see” in their minds, and telling a student to “make a picture in your mind” will only confuse them. Try asking first, if you are not sure, especially if the child has poor reading comprehension. Try posing something like this: “Picture a flower in your mind. What color is your flower?” If there is a hesitation, ask “Did you have to decide on the color after I asked that question?” Some people have a much harder time than others. Still others, like me, (I can only call it this; I cannot explain it) can only “conceptualize” a flower. Or anything else.

I honestly thought “seeing something in your mind’s eye” was just some weird figure of speech until I was 30. I could “imagine” just fine — just no “images” in the imag-ination. Some people even have difficulty with imagining something that they are not literally seeing in front of them. For those — I would think that acting it out with toys or something to represent the characters would be your best bet.

It used to frustrate me when I was told (pre-age-30) to “visualize” something, because obviously, that was just a fancy way of saying, “think about.” It was (to me) so stupid to be told that, when Obviously! NOBODY could do such a thing. “Visualize the word X” was the *worst* suggestion for me to learn to spell!

If you have never heard of this before, or even thought about it, I kind of envy you.

Laura

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Laura,
As you noticed, the comprehension strategy of visualization is just one of many strategies. We know that not every strategy will be helpful for every student in every situation.

I actually understand what you describe here. While I can form pictures in my mind, it is very difficult to do and is hazy and without detail.

However, visualization doesn’t have to mean just forming detail pictures, although it is a very helpful technique for those that can think that way. Visualizing what is happening in the text can also mean thinking it through step-by-step so that you can understand the scenario or scene completely, even if you can “see” it. When you read a description of a landscape, for example, can you get a full idea of what the author means in terms of habitat, locations, landmarks, and so forth? I can, even though I never really “see” the landscape. Know what I mean?

Katie Adams

says:

I appreciate that you point out the ”what not to do” alongside the “what to do.” I was also giddy to see samples from actual lessons, as I have been curious about their set up. The illustrations are great.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Katie,
We have samples of all the levels of All About Reading here, if you would like to further explore the setup. If you have any questions, just ask!

Christine Kobayashi

says:

Great chart and video. Thank you!

Kristen

says:

Great information to incorporate into my daily lessons. Thanks!

Tracy

says:

Great resources! Thanks!

Laurie

says:

The chart on different strategies is going in my planner as a reminder. Thanks!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Laurie,
What a great idea!

Julie

says:

Thank you for sharing the article and sample lesson!

Michelle

says:

I love the progression and variety of reading comprehension strategies/questions in All About Reading. This program has been fantastic for my reluctant learner.

Sabrina

says:

Reading comprehension is such an important factor in every students success. Great article.

Bethany

says:

I like having kids and myself make text to self connections and text to text connections. It helps flesh out concepts by comparing and contrasting them to other situations, feelings, etc.

Danielle

says:

It’s easy to forget to ask questions when your child is learning to read, but their comprehension easily slips when you do. I love that AAR has guided questions along with the stories, as well as the occasional post story activity that covers comprehension. Makes it so easy to cover the fundamentals of reading.

Dianne

says:

Reading and remembering what you read is so important.
Whether you are reading a map, a test, a book of even a recipe.
This looks like a great way to begin.

Iris

says:

When I learned about Think Alouds to model reading comprehension, it was a game changer in my teaching practice. Now all my kinders love to say, “I noticed…” throughout read alouds. Their practice with comprehension strategies during read alouds will make it much easier to practice these same strategies in independent reading down the road.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Iris,
What a great way to work on reading comprehension from a very young age! Thank you for sharing this.

this is super helpful because I am right now thinking of ways to help my son gather more insight as he reads- its been a challenge but these tips are doable

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Kelly,
If you need further help with helping your son, please ask. We may be able to offer specific suggestions based on his age, in what ways you feel his reading insights need improvement, and so on.

I never even thought about how background knowledge helps with comprehension but that alone doesn’t prove proficiency in reading comprehension. Good article!

Karen

says:

Helpful to see such a long list of comprehension strategies. Thank you.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Karen!

Jami

says:

It was so helpful to see this modeled! I can’t wait to try it out!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jami,
We’re pleased to hear that you found the video of an All About Reading lesson so helpful.

Amber Richards

says:

Interesting point about the literal questions!

Robyn

says:

Great article.

Kelly

says:

Very useful. Thanks so much!

ko

says:

This was quite a useful blog on reading comprehension. Thank you.

Marie-Paule Hill

says:

This seems to be a great reading program. How can it be applied to a multi levelled class? Is it mor of a one on one ressource?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Marie-Paule,
Yes! All About Reading is being used in multilevel classes in public and private schools in the US and internationally. We have a blog post on 12 Reasons Teachers Love All About Reading and All About Spelling that can give you more information. Depending on class size, many teachers will divide their class into two to three reading groups, one group that can progress faster, one that needs to progress slower, and possibly one in the middle.

If, after looking at the above article, you have more questions. Please let us know.

Laura

says:

How did I not stumble upon this program sooner! I have been teaching for the past 9 years and now have a three year old son. Probably one of my biggest fears, is that he struggles with reading comprehension. Being able to understand what they read is key for general learning/academic success!

Julie

says:

Love the example video. This is our next lesson and I can’t wait now. Reading comprehension is so key. Thanks for sharing these tips.

Audra

says:

Great info!

Rebekah

says:

I never thought about the importance of background reading before, but it makes so much sense. Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Rebekah. I like to think of the importance that background knowledge has on comprehension by thinking of what it would be like to read my college student’s textbook on differential equations (he is an engineering student). Since I have never taken any calculus, differential equations would be beyond my comprehension.

It was the same thing when that same college student was in kindergarten and was asked to read a story about going out in the snow and then had comprehension questions about it (this was many years before All About Reading). This child was raised deep in the American desert and had never seen snow before. So while he could read the story well, he struggled with the comprehension questions. He had no background knowledge of snow to understand the story with.

Sarah M.

says:

Thank you for the tips. My 6 year old is a great reader, but I don’t always do a good job at asking these comprehension questions. We will work on this!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Sarah,
When students are reading well, often comprehension discussions can become just talking together. Ask her if she is liking the story. After she answers, ask her why or why not. Listen to her responses and ask further questions that encourage her to think about what she read with more depth. What would make the story better? Why did the character act the way she acted? Does this story remind of something that has happened to you? Don’t just ask questions though. Share your own thoughts, modeling for her how you think about stories. Let it be a natural conversation.

Personally, I find these types of discussions great to have while in the car. The child usually isn’t distracted by anything and is often happy to talk about what she has been reading because there is nothing else to do.

mary

says:

Started this program with my grandson. I am thrilled to have an affordable program available to homeschoolers. When I home schooled starting in the 80’s things were different then. Very expensive programs that cost hundreds of dollars. My fourth chid was severely dyslexic and we did not have the funds to pay for private programs. This program is well thought out and balanced. I feel you could charge double and be justified. I have tried many, many programs. Thanks for providing this amazing resource.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you so much, Mary!

Michelle Hanna

says:

Thank you for the great tips!

Genevieve Campbell

says:

This is very helpful, thank you; I love that these stretegies are built into the curriculum!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are welcome, Genevieve!

Leave a Comment