Develop Your Child’s Reading Retention Skills - Student Resources

Develop Your Child’s Reading Retention Skills

Girl reading a book
Children read a lot more than you may think. Every subject your child studies in school requires reading comprehension and retention. Whether it is math, history or science, reading retention is critical to success. Here are some ways you can help your child grow and develop solid reading-retention skills.

Start Early

Remember, a child’s listening skills are years ahead of their reading skills. Beginning readers can still practice comprehension and retention skills. An easy way to do this is by inserting an extra step into an already existing nightly routine: bedtime stories. As you read your child a bedtime story, take note of some key story lines or events. When the story is over, you can ask your child, “Do you remember how Sam-I-Am finally got his friend to try green eggs and ham? Did he try them in a house? Did he try them with a mouse?” Even though your child is not reading for retention at this level, he or she is still learning to comprehend and retain ideas.  

A mom reads her daughter a bedtime story

Practice and Improve

Like any skill, reading comprehension and retention require practice. Board games offer an opportunity for children to read instructions and rules that test their retention skills in a fun way. Try to find a game that your family has never played. Read the rules first to understand how the game works. After you grasp the rules, ask your children to read them. When they’re finished, ask them to explain the rules to you before you begin. For families with more than one child, this exercise can provide a unique perspective on how each child understands what he or she has read. One child may see the game in one light, while another will view the rules completely differently. Listening to your child explain the rules will identify comprehension strengths and challenges as you learn the new rules together. After everyone understands the rules, game on!

Encourage Self-Correction

When your child shows signs of confusion or frustration with a homework assignment, encourage them to reread the material before explaining the problem to you. In the interest of saving time, you may lean toward explaining the problem yourself. While this may be easier, letting your child self-correct builds their problem-solving skills. Guide your young child toward understanding the problem independently. After conquering the problem on their own, your child will have more self-confidence for the next challenge and greater pride in being able to tackle the problem independently.  

A young boy completes his homework independently

Reading is one of the most valuable tools in your child’s academic tool belt. Understanding and retaining the material are just as critical as the skill of reading itself. Encouraging the development of this crucial skill will set the stage for a lifetime of success.