Comprehension refers to the ability to understand written words. It is different from the ability to recognize words. Recognizing words on a page but not knowing what they mean does not fulfill the purpose or goal of reading, which is comprehension. Imagine, for example, that a teacher gives a child a passage to read. The child can read the entire passage, but he or she knows nothing when asked to explain what was read.
Comprehension adds meaning to what is read. Reading comprehension occurs when words on a page are not just mere words but thoughts and ideas. Comprehension makes reading enjoyable, fun, and informative. It is needed to succeed in school, work, and life in general.
There are different strategies to use to enhance comprehension. It takes patience and continuous guidance when using these strategies. When working with children, remember to model the strategy as well as provide guided practice. As their skills increase, slowly decrease your guidance. The goal is to get children to use the strategies automatically.
The act of reading and the act of comprehending what you read are two very different things. Reading requires the fluent parsing and blending various phonetic sounds to create words. Reading Comprehension, on the other hand, involves thinking about the words that were just read and deriving a meaning, for just those words and the text as a whole!
The point of reading isn’t to make sounds in your brain or out loud, but rather, to understand important lessons, stories and arguments. Through the act of writing, our ancestors have recorded important knowledge that we can understand simply by reading.
By understanding what we read, we pick up important information, understand scientific theories, past opinions and new frontiers.
Having excellent reading comprehension skills is crucial. It increases the enjoyment and effectiveness of reading and helps not only academically, but professionally, and in a person’s personal life. Imagine, for example, that your boss gives you a complicated document: you can read the words, but you cannot understand what the document is telling you.
Samples From the Worksheet
Obviously, this is an extreme example but sadly, classrooms across the nation are interspersed with students who experience the same type of frustration every day. They don’t possess adequate reading comprehension skills to do what is expected of them.
Without comprehension, reading is simply following words on a page from left to right while sounding them out. The words on the page have no meaning.
And while people read for many different reasons, the chief goal is to derive some understanding of what the writer is trying to convey and make use of that information – whether for fact gathering, learning a new skill, or for pleasure.
That’s why reading comprehension skills are so important. Without them the reader cannot gather any information and use it to efficiently function and enjoy the richness of life.