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Reading Comprehension Skills

Reading comprehension is one of the important parts of 11+ and GCSE exams.


Reading comprehension is the ability to process text and understand its meaning.


Comprehension is a basic reading skill that develops as children learn to sound out words and recognize sight words. The more they read, the easier it is for them to remember specific things like the main characters, setting and plot.


The two main elements that make up the process of reading comprehension are: vocabulary and text comprehension.


In order to gain vast vocabulary knowledge it is essential to read extensively. In other words, reading should be a habit from early ages. Children have to have easy access to dictionaries during reading.

Medway libraries have good range of books and dictionaries and space for students to revise before their exams.


It has been shown that students with a smaller vocabulary than other students comprehend less of what they read. It has been suggested that to improve comprehension, improving word groups, complex vocabularies such as homonyms or words that have multiple meanings, and those with figurative meanings like idioms, similes, collocations and metaphors are a good.


Once children understand most of the words in the text, comprehension becomes easy too. Highlighting, underlining or making notes are the best ways to comprehend.


Reading comprehension skills would include things like identifying the main idea, recognizing supporting details, drawing conclusions, inferencing, comparing and contrasting, evaluating critically, knowing vocabulary meaning, and sequencing events.


The main reading skills are:

  • Decoding

  • Fluency

  • Vocabulary

  • Sentence construction and cohesion

  • Reasoning

  • Memory and Attention

How to teach reading comprehension?


Literacy expert Dr Timothy Shanahan answered to this question in one of his articles in a following way:


v Guide kids to read — and reread — challenging texts with thoughtful questions.

v Get kids to think deeply about the parts of the text that might trip up their understanding.

v Teach kids to keep their heads in the game — reading mindfully — through strategy use.

v Make sure kids come away knowing more about their world each time they read


The key skills to reading comprehension are decoding, fluency and vocabulary. Ability of connecting ideas within and between the sentences helps kids understand the whole text.

Through everyday activities, like reading aloud or talking about shared experiences you can help your child to build essential reading skills.


Reading comprehension is an essential part of 11+ Medway test exam

At HSC Tutoring Medway our tutors apply all the above mentioned skills during lessons.


Our tutors are always available to answer your questions and concerns.


You can always reach us through our website, Facebook, Instagram.


Have a great week :)


Afsana Hamzayeva


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