How To Teach Reading Comprehension Skills in 5th Grade

Students in Grade 5 are expected to have already mastered some of their basic reading comprehension skills. They should be able to predict, infer, question, summarize, and clarify ideas when presented by appropriate reading selections for their age and background. Because of that, your next goal is to prepare them in learning advanced reading comprehension strategies. You should begin to enhance their critical thinking through a series of practical and intensive applications.

Here are some recommendations for you:

  • Practice, practice, practice. This can help your Grade 5 students hone their basic reading comprehension skills, especially when they can’t focus or concentrate on their reading selections.  The process of repetition can allow them to be more adept with those skills. Give them the chance to test those skills in different situations. So, instead of tackling reading comprehension techniques during their language arts subjects only, practice their reading comprehension skills while solving a problem in mathematics, performing an experiment in science, or reviewing an event in history. If it is necessary, you may even set up a one-on-one session with those who are not able to cope up with the activities or the tasks.
  • Think, think, think. Once you have ascertained the mastery of some basic reading comprehension skills among your Grade 5 students, you are ready to proceed to the next level. Teach them how to become critical thinkers. As mentioned earlier, critical thinking is an advanced skill. So, prepare your lessons very well. Excite them. For instance, your students can read either an unfamiliar short story or a segment from an unknown novel. After reading (and comprehending) the assigned piece, instruct them to predict the next events. Encourage them to use their imagination. You can divide them into pairs or groups and tell them to brainstorm and formulate their own ending for the short story or the novel. You can permit them to use a graphic organizer, say, a story web, in order to list down some predictions or probabilities.
  • Group, group, group. Breaking your Grade 5 students into groups can help a lot in imparting reading comprehension strategies, particularly if you intend some procedures to be modeled. Your Grade 5 students can certainly learn from their classmates. For example, if you are planning to focus on summarizing as a reading comprehension skill, you can require each group member to retell a portion of the assigned story, selection, or passage. It can be the beginning, the middle, or the end.  The task helps the group members to determine the unimportant details, inevitably allowing them to dwell on the significant points only. The grouping ensures better results rather than involving the whole class. Some of them may get intimated by process and may opt to just keep quiet throughout the discussion. If they are in a small group, they are literally forced to open up and express their ideas.

Monitor the progress of your Grade 5 students. Surprise them with short quizzes.Or, you can make them feel more accustomed to daily exercises. Record the scores and see if results are getting impressive. Otherwise, modify your activity line up as the need arises.


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