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We focus so much on mathematics and its complexity that sometimes we forget an essential element for the formation of children: reading. And I no longer speak to the little ones knowing what to put on a sheet and being able to join the letters to form a word but to the fact that they understand what they have in front of them. What happens when the child does not understand what he reads? How can parents improve their reading comprehension?
I remember the next episode that brought me a lot of learning and meaning to this comment that I just made above. I was very comfortably seated in my class seat, distracted and moving around as usual. Then the teacher began to write down the pages that came in for the final language exam.
I began to register it in my diary, since I knew the importance of this evaluation. I was risking my promotion for that year. The amount was not small (more or less they were like twenty pages), so I decided to read them with total concentration. Poor marker of mine, because I practically left it empty by highlighting all the important ideas that the text had.
The problem was that practically all the pages had changed their white color to a phosphorescent yellow. Terrible combination! And the biggest problem was that I read and read and tried to memorize word for word those ideas that they talked about ... I really couldn't tell what they were about!
Well, the day of the evaluation arrived and I began to answer very confident. However, upon handing me the results, I noticed that my evaluation was considerably less than I expected. My frustration was tremendous. I approached the teacher to find out what happened and he started pointing out my mistakes. He expressed to me: 'It looks like you read, but you didn't really understand the text.' Well, from there I noticed that I had a reading problem and that I had to - urgently - develop strategies to understand better.
The first tasks that I set myself with my tutor were super simple, but they ended up being effective. I am listing them so that we can see how we can work with our children. First: Read any book (if it can be one that you like) and, after finishing it, make a brief presentation about the main and specific objective of the text. In my case, they told me that each reading had to be completed in fifteen days, but over time they demanded a week as a deadline.
After two months, my mentor developed these practical tips so that I could work with the textbooks:
- Give a title and a specific motto to each paragraph that one must read for content. It sounds simple, but you can't imagine how satisfying it was to give that meaning to reading. Much more direct than a summary and more effective.
- Create questions from the paragraphs read, intensifying the understanding and identification of the specific topic.
- Plan the study reading, distributing the pages according to working days and focusing exclusively on those that are going to be read.
- As recommended by neuroscience, read in twenty-five minute ranges to focus the exercise. Within that time, apply one of the first two tools that I mentioned earlier.
- Encourage the young person to express –with their words- what they read. This mobilizes the child to express what the text is about, but with their own words.
- Represent each paragraph with a drawing or symbol that represents the central idea of the paragraph.
- Build a conceptual map of the text it should be working within twenty-five minutes.
After spending three months practicing some of these strategies, it was very significant to realize that, although sometimes I did not achieve some expected results, the understanding and understanding of what I was studying was very significant for me. I felt like I was appropriating what I was studying!
Time passed and we continued modifying different strategies and adapting some others, but what was significant was later - within the university - the comprehension of more complex texts and the speed of my reading became better and better.
That's when I realized that in reality this exercise must have a central element in perseverance and in making the same reading yours. For this reason, I invite you to generate these exercises with your children, challenging them to carry out one or two tasks indicated here so that step by step they begin to notice how their reading begins to make sense.
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