How to Teach Reading Comprehension to Your Child

A child’s proficiency in reading is tremendously important for their happiness and success in life. It’s our responsibility as parents both to help children learn how, as well as to actually enjoy the process. Avid reading is a trait that will continue to benefit them long into adulthood.

How can you teach reading comprehension to your child in an effective and lasting way? Here are a few tips to teach kids’ reading comprehension in traditional ways, as well as through platforms like Hello Genius to help keep them engaged and excited.


Woman on a couch reading with her child


Have Them Read Aloud

The first time your child experiences reading, it’s likely to be a communal activity. The two of you cuddle together on the couch or bed, open up a book, and your child takes it all in as you read aloud. If you want to improve your kid’s reading comprehension, the best thing you can do is carry on like this, but have them take the lead.

Asking your child to read aloud will encourage them to read more slowly, which allows for a greater understanding of the text. Additionally, research suggests that reading out loud improves reading retention, helping your child to better recall the information they’ve just read. Reading aloud is one of the best methods for how to teach reading comprehension.

Track Their Progress

For many children (and adults, for that matter), a few chapters in front of them or a large wall of text can be overwhelming. Losing their place on the page or missing a chance to mark their progress can have a negative impact on a kid’s reading comprehension.

If your child is just starting out, teach them to trace their way down the page with their finger to keep their place and mark the place they stop for the day.

Be sure to praise your child for the progress they’ve made! Try keeping space on a bookshelf to put all the books they’ve finished as a way to build their confidence. Or use the Hello Genius app to keep a record of what they’ve read. Revisiting old volumes for another read is a great way to help teach them reading comprehension and show their improvement over time.


Girl sitting in bed reading a book


Have Your Child Look Up Words They Don’t Know

A kid’s reading comprehension is based on their vocabulary. With time and experience, they can learn to use context clues to get the “gist” of a word they don’t know, but the best way to teach reading comprehension is to have them look those words up directly.

When you read with your child, ask them to write down any words they don’t know. This gives them a bank of words to learn without interrupting the flow of the story. After you’ve finished reading, take the time to look up the meaning of each word — and, if your child is really engaged, consider rereading some passages with your new definitions in mind.

Consider saving their old word bank lists. It’s great to reference meanings to help them retain what they’ve learned, as well as to show all the excellent progress they’ve made.


Child in red hat reading a book


Get Them Great Books to Read

Finally, we’ve come to the most important method for how to teach reading comprehension: give your child great books to read! Children are naturally attracted to the imaginative element of reading a good book; in fact, the UK’s National Literacy Trust reports that six out of 10 children say they enjoy reading “very much” or “quite a lot.”

If your child has access to books that are appropriate for their age and reading level and speaks to their passions and interests, they are bound to gobble them up with gusto! If you can reach the point where your child is reading books entirely on their own for enjoyment, expect their reading comprehension to soar!

Feed Your Child’s Imagination with Hello Genius

Even as they first start to read, children are developing preferences for the types of stories they like and topics that interest them. If your child shows interest in a particular book or article, getting them another on that topic will help them build on what they’ve learned and continue to feed their curiosity.

One of the best ways to continue supporting your kid’s reading comprehension and ensure they always have engaging material to read on the topics they like is with Hello Genius. This joint parent-child app lets your child safely explore content as extensive and diverse as the internet itself. The app’s artificial intelligence recommends new content and activities based on what they engage with. You’ll always be able to see what they explore and participate in their learning journey.

If you’re determined to help teach your child reading comprehension, try Hello Genius free for 30 days!