5 Things to Keep in Mind as You Support Comprehension for Your Teenager
All things change, right? From having your little one on your lap to having a moody teenager that believes nothing you do is good or right. Well just as they change - the strategies we use to help them must also change. Unfortunately for many readers, especially struggling readers - the struggle to fly under the radar and just keep up in the classroom, came at the cost of actually developing strategies and supports that would help them really understand their reading.
So we are going to dive in briefly here because as a parent, it's not necessarily your job to TEACH all of these strategies to your teenager but this blog can definitely give you some language and food for thought as you talk to your teen's teachers!
1. Ask about the picture they created in their head.
If it's fiction you can dive in with your own vision if you are familiar with the book. Ask them to cover beginning, middle, end for you as if you were a friend in class who forgot to read the book and needed the "movie version".
2. Work with your child to make connections.
You have experienced a lot of things together so if your teen is struggling to make connections you might be the perfect one to help pull these pieces together. You might say something like, “oh this reminds me of the time when we were at grandma's house and...”
3. Ask your teen if he or she has been provided with graphic organizers.
Graphic organizers are amazing to help organize their thinking around the different types of reading they may need to do. If not, this is a great time to become an advocate for your child and ask the school about their suggestions for helping pull this extremely complex topic down to something more concrete. Personally, we love Thinking Maps as an amazing resource for graphic organization.
4. Get audiobooks
If your teen is still struggling with decoding fluently - support your teen by helping make sure he or she has access to an audio version of the book. Even if your child is NOT struggling with decoding some children just learn better when they hear the information. It can allow them access to the material while they are walking or doing something other than "slogging at their desks". We LOVE audio books. Check out our blog about Ear Reading.
5. Stay engaged.
Continue asking your teen about what he or she is reading. Or read through the PDFs that he or she may be receiving from the classroom. This way you can have the opportunity to reflect on the material together. It's also an amazing way to hold your child accountable. Being able to discuss some of these topics at the dinner table or asking them to teach you the things you may have long forgotten allows your child to have ownership over the material. This can be hard, we are all busy - and when your teen is not so lovable - it can be difficult to stay engaged in their work, but truly this is one of the best things you can do for your child!
If you are looking for ways to move beyond just asking questions and really seeing if your child is understanding what he/she reads, check out our blog: Moving Beyond Questions to Assess Comprehension, here!