Monday, June 3, 2013

Reading Comprehension - Book Adventure and Other Tips

Year round I get this question every so often. The asking becomes be more prevalent when school is wrapping up and will be out for the summer. Parents will come in and ask:

What can I do to test my child's comprehension of the books he/she reads? 

Typically, in the past, my answers always consist of the strong suggestion of having the parent be involved with their child's reading. Read along with them (by using the same book or by checking out a second copy) and ask them questions. If one can't read along, one can still ask questions:  What is the story about? What character do you like? and so on.

Now, after being an alligator in a vest (an investigator!) I've come across some more helpful resources for the parents who need assistance in working their young readers.

One of the popular questions is if we have quizzes for the books or if we have access to the AR or Lexile quizzes that their child's school has. Answer: No, we don't. Some books have questions in the back and sometimes there are other resources available at the library that one can use. But actual quizzes that maps the progression of the reader's comprehension? No, not really.

Now, here is my new discovery: Book Adventure. This is a Sylvan Learning Center sponsored reading comprehension quiz program.

The Perks 

  • Free(!) login profils for students (grades K-8), teachers, and parents
  • Students can created reading lists to take to libraries
  • Students can take quizzes on the books they read.
  • Each quiz completed is graded and student can earn points 
  • Points can be redeemed for prizes (such as a three-month free subscription to Highlights magazine as an incentive) 
  • There is a Reading Level system set up that is similar to AR 
  • Teachers/parents can create classroom settings that can keep track of their student/child's progress 
  • Teacher/parents have access to the quizzes with the answers provided
  • There is a large database of book quizzes that can be on a K - Grade 12 reading level and is searchable and can filtered for interests and the likes. 
  • Many more

I've played around with the site under two test logins (a student and a teacher) and so far the sight is pretty awesome for a free resource. The quizzes are developed by volunteers, but I have the feeling that these are verified questions that were developed by the teachers who participate (I was asked to join as a volunteer when I registered).  I will definitely be recommending this to parents in the future.

There are other resources that can be found other places:

  • Book Publishers may have quizzes available among their games and activities site for children. HarperCollins, for example, have some. 
  • Workbooks. Some schools will provide copies of their text books for patrons to have reference access to at the public library. Some libraries may also have workbooks in a Parent/Teacher collection. My system has both options and with a little thinking and prepping activities can be set up for working with reading comprehension.

The last tip I can never not provide:

Be Involved!

You, as parent/guardian/caregiver, are an important part of promoting reading for a child. Be involved by sharing the book and reading together. 

For those who would like more ideas on Reading Comprehension, check out the list available under related tool bar tab with the same name. There you will find:

If you would like more information about reading as a family check out WP-CC's page about R.A.D. - Reading Aloud Daily. Reading Aloud, individually or as a family, has good benefits for comprehension too!

A fellow blogger Superbrarian (Observe, Analyze... Blog) also posted on her blog information about the same topic at her library that has quick information. From her post, I learned about two websites: Reading Rockets and Start with Reading that have a wealth of information and resources, such as their Reading Adventure Packets that parents, teachers, and librarians have access too. 

Do you have any recommendations for working on reading comprehension with your child(ren)? 

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