Improve Reading Speed and Comprehension

Research tells us that we can improve reading speed and comprehension if we make a game of daily reading. Have your child read a short passage, gaged at her present reading level, and time how long it takes to complete the book. Divide the number of words by the minutes (for example, a second grade usually reads 300 words in 5 minutes, or 60 words per minute). Also count the number of times your child mis-reads a word, skips one, or adds a word that’s not there. The game asks the child read a passage several times, faster and faster each time, while reducing the number of mistakes. Whenever your child makes a mistake, correct it immediately and ask your child to correct the error after you do. Set small, incremental goals for each day, and when the speed increases and the error decrease to the goal, end the repetitions with verbal praise and a reward. This repeated reading strategy can improve reading speed (fluency) and reduce reading errors, while improving comprehension for most children.

Kevin D. Arnold, Ph.D., ABPP