Expert Iconexpert advice MORE

Improving Reading Comprehension

LD and ADD/ADHD Expert Advice from Eileen S. Marzola, Ed.D.

Q: I have an eight-year-old girl in the second grade. She reads and spells great. The problem is that after she's finished reading, she can't remember anything she's read. This has really brought her reading scores down, since she can't remember the story to answer the questions at the end. I find myself really losing patience with this problem. Any advice?

A: It's terrific that your second-grader is doing a good job in reading words, but I'm sure we'd both agree that the main point of reading is gaining meaning from what you read. If you want to help her with answering questions about what she's read, try previewing the questions first so she knows what she will be looking for. You can use small post-it strips to mark the place in the story where the answer can be found. Stress providing evidence for her answers. Many times young children answer questions based on their own background experience and don't really link the question to what they've just read.

If she's having trouble retelling her story, try stopping at shorter intervals rather than waiting till the end of the story to summarize what she's read. Your modeling how to do this will really help. Children often remember more if they fill in something called a graphic organizer. This is basically an outline of the story, with a place for characters' names and characteristics, the setting, the problem in the story, important events, and how the problem is solved. Just about every story follows this format. Once it's filled in, it will be much easier to capture what's important in the story for her retelling. And certainly have a talk with your daughter's teacher to see if these comprehension difficulties are major issues in class. Ask if she would recommend that your child receive extra help outside school. Good luck!

More on: Expert Advice

For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.


10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks