Reading comprehension is not only being able to communicate what is written on the page, but also understanding it and making sense of it. Reading is accepted as one the key skills for adults to be productive in society. The interesting fact is less than half of middle school students are reading at grade level in American schools. This easily translates to our workforce as a recent survey proved by the National Endowment for the Arts. U.S. employers cited reading and writing to be the weakest skills of their employees. Reading has been seen to help prevent Alzheimer's disease. A study of over 1,000 showed avid readers to be 2.5 times less likely to suffer from the disease. Reading helps you learn things that you never imagined before. It is the fundamental method for passing on knowledge.
There are a number of things we can do to improve our reading comprehension. When reading we should try to focus on reading content that we like, and we should read aloud as often as we can. Reading aloud has been shown to improve cognitive ability. If you run into a section of a reading passage that trips you up consider re-reading it. When you come across a word that you are not familiar with, write it down and look it up later. You will be much more likely to understand that word the next time you see it. When you finish reading make sure to write down any questions that you might have. In our reading comprehension worksheet section you find varying grade levels of reading worksheets that also come with multiple choice, free response, or essay questions. Sorry, but we can't provide you with word for word answers, since all the worksheets are either essays or free response. Just simple explanations will do there.
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Reading Comprehension Worksheet Categories
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At this level students are working on discriminating words and sounds. We concentrate a great deal on letters and the sounds that they make. The absolute for teachers at this level has to be on making it money and getting in as much repetition as you can.
This is where we start to ask students real questions from page long passages. Being an avid reader is only one of the components of helping your comprehension. Constructing a mental picture in your mind as you read is a helpful activity.
At this point students have a deeper vocabulary and we can ask them to begin to infer contextual meaning to a small degree. They can use those words in their own body of work, while writing, and recognize their use in the works of others.
This is usually when the major national assessments start to appear. We expect readers to be able to make sense of text in a wide variety of settings. We would highly recommend daily work with extended passages for students.
The work we have seen come out of most states and provinces has been focused on nonfiction for this level. This has been documented by a number of curriculum committees from the literature that I have seen, so I would not expect that trend to continue much longer.
Students begin to read lengthy works and start to work on their reading endurance. We highly encourage teacher at this level to include some form of daily independent reading activity in their routines. This will pay you back ten-fold, if you can maintain a productive environment for students.
We find at this level that there is a clear divide between those students that are struggling to keep the head above water and those that cruising right along. It usually comes down to vocabulary words. Those that have a low vocabulary index often have a weaker ability to comprehend. This series is really broad and is meant for extra practice for students in the grade range.
Things start to become much more content based as students approach high school. This is usually when most parents provide their children with mobile phones to stay in contact and keep tabs on their more independent children. We encourage you to minimize this distraction when students are reading.
At this level we start to really encourage students to take notes as they read. This will help them to remember what they take in and using outlines can help a great deal as well. Creating a reader's nook in your classroom can also enhance their affinity towards putting the time in on the books.
We highly encourage students to discuss what they read to find hidden meanings that they may have missed. At this level we encourage teachers to share the books that they are reading independent with students. If you can try to pick works that are targeted for your lower level students, you might just engage them more.
This is where students start to begin reading classic literature and see new forms of language they have not seen until now. We encourage you to start setting monthly goals for your students. Students at this level are starting to prepare for college admissions to some extent and broadening their horizons should be your focus.
This is where students are urged to begin sharing their opinions of works. This helps them critically analyze text at a heightened level. This is where we want our students to be more reflective of their own skills. At this age they are well aware of what they do well and what they grapple with. Helping them learn to concentrate their efforts on the latter can pay a lifetime of benefits.
Students begin to prepare for college course work and take on much more difficult levels of thought. Show students how to keep a vocabulary log. This is where they encounter any word, they are uncertain of in a journal. Reviewing these words constantly can have huge dividends as they enter their college years.
We created this as a miscellaneous reading section for students of all levels. It is great to help them transition to writing about what they read. You should have them try to determine the plot of the story just from the title. When they complete the work, they should compare their original thoughts with what they learned after completing the work. Have them write their own questions that were not part of the worksheet.
These reading passages were created to help students and teachers working on reading in the content area.
Strategies to Improve Your Reading Comprehension
If you want to get the most out of what you read, whether you're pursuing your favorite hobby or improving yourself in school, it's essential to improve your reading comprehension skills. However, improving these skills can seem like an insurmountable task if you don't know where to start. The good news is that there are many strategies you can use to read more effectively and improve your understanding of what you read, no matter what type of material it is.
Here are 5 ways you can use to improve your ability to comprehend what you read.
1. Read With a Pen
It may seem ridiculous, but it works. Whenever you come across a word you don't know, circle it and keep going. When you're done reading, go back and look up each of those words in your dictionary or online.
Keeping that pen in hand forces you to process what you're reading and lets you naturally improve your vocabulary. You can even try highlighting or underlining certain lines as an alternative if writing with a pen isn't your thing.
2. Use the Skim and Scan Approach
Skim for facts, scan for ideas.
Our brains need time to process new information to fully understand what we read. Most of us read at a pace between 200 and 300 words per minute. But you can often digest a document better by reading it at 50 percent or even 25 percent of that speed—as long as you're skimming and scanning with purpose.
Skimming allows your brain to get familiar with what you're taking in through eyes so that when you go back through and start actually processing it, it's easier to absorb the information.
3. Take Notes
Read and write.
When our brain is tied up processing new information, it doesn't have any resources left over to create long-term memories. It also helps reduce distractions (you won't be looking at social media) and encourages deeper thinking (you have to remember what you read). So, every time we come across something important or interesting—whether it's a fact, an opinion, or just a snippet of dialogue—jot it down.
4. Understand Your Purpose
When you read, first decide why you're putting time into it: is it for information, amusement or reference?
Knowing your purpose helps get you in reading mode. A good place to start with a few simple paragraphs at a time and summarizing what you've just read in your head before moving on. This approach helps understand where sentences are going and makes connecting ideas much easier. When our brains automatically do cognitive work—like summarize—we remember more of what we read.
5. Practice Exercises
Practice makes a man perfect!
This can be accomplished in different ways. One way is to create flashcards and quiz yourself, and another is simply reading a large quantity of material. The key here is to push yourself harder than you usually do.
Set aside an hour or two each day for reading comprehension work and make sure it counts. Just skimming over something won't improve your skills very much at all. Instead, focus on your ability to pick out important details from what you read. If there are words or concepts that you don't understand, look them up in a dictionary or online and add them to your vocabulary list (or ask someone about them). Another thing you can do is try using context clues when trying to figure out difficult words.
The key to improving your reading comprehension lies in leveraging your inherent ability and some smart techniques. The best way is to read! In fact, read anything you can get your hands on. But also, try using some of our tips next time you find yourself with a page or screen in front of you and want something more out of it than just text or data.