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Reading Comprehension: Follow the Clues

Help your child face reading tests with a strategy for success.

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Critical Thinking
Reading Comprehension

Ask your child to picture it: a reading passage with a bunch of related questions on the side. Has your 3rd, 4th, or 5th grader seen this before? Probably so, and he’s likely to see it again. A few simple steps can make your child’s test time just a little easier.

Switch things up
Tell him to try scanning the questions before reading the passage. Then he'll know what information to zoom in on.

Leave your mark
After he's previewed the questions, read the passage. If it's okay to mark up the test booklet, he should try underlining or placing a checkmark where he finds each answer in the passage. Marking it will help his brain make sure the connection between question and answer is clear.

Keep it simple
Make sure he’s not falling for a trap by filling in extra info that isn't really there. If his reasons for picking one answer over another go something like this:

"Well, that might be the answer because maybe the big bad wolf isn't really a bad guy, but he's just misunderstood and even though it doesn't say it in the passage, maybe the grandmother is just on vacation in Hawaii, not eaten by the wolf."

It's possible he might be over thinking. Advise your child to take one step back and make sure that the passage, not his own interpretation, provides the answer to each question.

Don't get stuck
Some passages and questions will undoubtedly take longer than others, but in general he should try to keep moving so he'll get to as many questions answered as possible. He can see if it makes sense to skip the real stumpers the first time around and then come back to them once he’s completed everything he knows the answer to.

At the end of the day, a reading comprehension test is just a multiple-choice test with a twist.

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