Good comprehension of printed material is the key to improving student’s academic success. “Absent reading” happens frequently in the classes and during self-study as children get distracted, submerge into their own thoughts, or are unable to concentrate on a difficult topic.
There are numerous tasks and exercises used by teachers to enhance one’s comprehension while reading. In the class activity, they divide tasks into ones which are performed before, during, and after the reading. When applied to the self-study, reading comprehension is accomplished by doing tasks both right after the self-reading and at the beginning of the next class.
Before reading, teachers may boost students’ interest to the piece of writing by relating it to a similar content – news items, videos, articles in the popular media, etc. This stage is important as children frequently fail to concentrate attention on the materials in which they are not interested. Teachers also may activate students’ background knowledge with the help of discussion, and evoke their interest by revealing the questions on which students will be able to find answers after the reading.
During reading, teachers shall make sure that students catch on the main idea of the text and are attentive enough to notice small insufficient details in the story. It is a common practice to ask questions which indicate that students keep track with the reading. Teachers can divide the text into sections and ask students to summarize each part. It is also possible to discuss connections between different sections and their correspondence to students’ background knowledge.
Activities commonly used after reading are a discussion, giving a response to the text or retelling the content. In the case when reading was a homework, teachers shall make a short test to check whether students read the text attentively and still bare in mind its key points.