There are enough statistics on literacy to fill a book, but half of the adults in America would be unable to read it or the related reading comprehension sheet. The Literacy Company estimates that as early as 2020, successful participation in business and society will require strong reading and comprehension abilities that are currently accomplished by only a small fraction of U.S. citizens. That’s a sobering thought, and when the National Assessment of Education Progress reports that 37 percent of fourth grade students are not able to read at a basic level, it’s easy to see why literacy is a problem.
When attempting to improve literacy for America’s youth, the reading comprehension sheet is a valuable tool for teachers and parents. These sheets can be customized in many ways from age appropriate lessons to sheets focusing on improving individual reading skills for all ages.
Starting kids out early involves a delicate balance of challenging them without frustrating them. teAchnology has created an effective way to put together a reading comprehension sheet for beginning reader by placing a short story — two or three paragraphs long — written in simple language at the top of the sheet with the comprehension questions at the bottom of the sheet. With the questions on the same page the student can go back to the story as needed to find the answers. This process teaches students what to look for and helps develop effective reading comprehension.
Once children have reached the third or fourth grade level they should be able to read a book and answer questions about the text separately. Answers should be in three or more sentences and include descriptive details. Life Successfully has structured an advanced readers’ comprehension sheet with questions that include simple points from the story as well as more involved ones such as characters’ names, physical descriptions, events from the beginning, middle and end of the story.
Being able to comprehend what is read depends on a number of individual skills necessary for reading. These include:
Reading Rockets advocates comprehension sheets designed to focus on one or more of the five skills. The sheets can be applied individually or collectively to each book or story.
The read, reflect, describe method of teaching reading comprehension can apply to beginning or advanced readers and involves requiring students to use details from a story to answer questions on a reading comprehension sheet. For example, a lesson can require students to read a grade-appropriate story or book and then answer questions in essay form, recalling elements and events from the story.
No matter how you choose to go about it, getting kids reading and actively working on their skills in the K-5 age group will benefit them in the long run. Statistics show that kids who read well are more inclined to read outside of school.