Reading Comprehension The major goal of reading comprehension is to help students develop the knowledge, skills and strategies they must posses to become proficient and independent readers who read with meaning. While reading, a student is expected to simultaneously, mentally interact and construct meaning from the text. What is text? Text is the term we use to refer to any form of written language. Comic books, magazines, poems, signs, short stories, repair manuals as well as novels are all examples of text. All readers bring their background knowledge and experience to reading text. Those experiences can play a huge part in comprehension. Automatic word recognition and a well developed listening/speaking vocabulary are also factors that contribute to increased reader comprehension. Teachers in kindergarten, grades one and two target beginning reading skills. This includes, building a strong sight vocabulary and decoding skills. Once good readers have identified a word, they use this knowledge to determine whether they know the word’s meaning- that is whether it is in their oral language vocabulary and whether it makes sense in its context. These skills are important but if we want kids to be able to read and make sense out of what they read they must also have a certain amount of fluency to their reading. Researchers tell us fluency is the bridge between word recognition and comprehension. It is because fluent readers are able to identify words accurately and automatically, that they can focus most of their attention on comprehension. Two things all parents can do with their students to foster reading comprehension are read to and with your child pointing out and discussing new and interesting words and extend your child’s background by exposing him/her to new experiences, contemporary issues and discussions. The broader a child’s background knowledge and vocabulary development are the richer will be their understanding of many kinds of text.