To put it simply, READING=THINKING.
Learning how to decode words is a vital part of comprehension. I have observed many children who have a difficult time comprehending because they are so focused on decoding the words in a text. It is extremely difficult, especially for young readers, to concentrate so heavily on decoding and yet comprehend the text as well. I liken it to reading music (here comes my music background!). If I’m given a new piece of music, I’m going to be very focused on learning the notes. Creating beautiful phrasing and making it “sound” like music is the last thing from my mind. It is the same with reading.
However, I have also met many kids who could “read” (or decode) way above their grade level. I am absolutely amazed at how they tackle those really hard words and impressed at their fluency…until I ask them a question about what they just read. I get a blank stare and the words, “I don’t know.” Thinking it’s just a fluke, I ask them another question. Blank stare…”I don’t remember.” Barking (as I call it) words correctly does not constitute reading.
Readers have to THINK about what they are reading to make sense of the text. In this section, I hope to offer some ideas on ways to help your child become a comprehender of text, not simply a great word caller.