5 Resources for Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension has always been one of my biggest challenges in school.  When I began studying to become a special education teacher, I quickly learned it can be even harder to teach.  Fortunately, there are several apps and products available to help teach or practice this skill.

Before discussing the five resources, let’s first define reading comprehension.  According to Reading Rockets, “Comprehension is the understanding and interpretation of what is read.”  The article continues by stating that children need to be able to:

  1. Decode what they read;
  2. Make connections between what they read and what they already know; and
  3. Think deeply about what they have read.

Though the skill may be definable, it is not so easily taught nor learned for many individuals.  My first year in college was a huge wake-up call as I quickly realized a majority of my class work consisted of reading comprehension.  It seemed every assignment required reading a minimum of 30+ pages of text, memorizing it, then be ready to recall said information every few weeks on an exam.  Yikes.

Naturally, I began falling behind in my courses.  Instead of giving up, I began using the following strategies:

  • Outlining and taking notes of everything I read
  • Creating flashcards of important terms, facts, etc.
  • Breaking down the text section by section; this really helped me not get so overwhelmed
  • Writing down questions regarding the content.  Then, before each exam, revisit these questions; if I couldn’t answer them, I had to revisit my notes or the text.

5 Resources for Reading Comprehension:

Okay, now onto the list of resources that can help teach or practice reading comprehension.  The following list consists of apps, activities, and products that may benefit students of all ages and abilities.

1. Reading Trainer:

Reading Trainer is an app that helps “improve your reading speed and retention rate.”  It pairs exciting game elements with instant stats so users can find and improve their weaknesses.

Features:

  • 12 challenging, fun exercises
  • Can help users read text “faster, more effectively, with better retention”
  • PowerReader allows users to get daily work done while practicing important reading skills
  • Immediately recognizes user’s strengths and weaknesses; this allows users to view and track their progress
2. Kooky Carnival: Context Clues Game:

Who can be the first to collect six carnival tickets?!  Children will have a blast reading passages, then using context clues to answer questions about them in this fast-paced game.  Each correct answer earns the player a ticket — the first one with six tickets wins the game!

Features:

  • Includes:
    • 1 game board
    • 50 question cards
    • 28 carnival tickets
    • Decoder
    • 4 pawns
    • 1 die
  • For 2-4 players
  • Fun way to practice context clues
3. Reading Comprehension Cubes:

Reading Comprehension Cubes from Learning Resources are a fun way to liven up any reading discussion.  These colorful foam cubes feature comprehension questions on each side.

Features:

  • Different colors for different uses:
    • Red cubes can be used before reading
    • Blue cubes can be used while reading
    • Green cubes can be used for discussion after reading
  • Includes:
    • 2 red cubes, 2 blue cubes, 2 green cubes
    • Activity guide
  • Can be used in small groups or individual reading
  • Promotes social, behavioral and language development
4. Rainbow Sentences:

Rainbow Sentences is an app that helps students learn to construct grammatically correct sentences by using colorful visual cues.  While using the app, students will learn how to recognize different parts of sentences (e.g. verbs, prepositions, nouns, etc.)

Features:

  • 168 colorful images to create sentences from
  • Intuitive drag and drop interface helps create sentences
  • Words are spoken aloud for non-readers
  • Word groups can be selected to simplify sentence construction
  • 6 levels of sentence complexity
  • Record feature allows users to record sentences in their own voice
  • Puzzles animate once each level is complete
5. Reading Comprehension Practice Cards:

Reading Comprehension Practice Cards offer a colorful way to practice retention.  They help develop skills in reading, discovering the main idea of content, details, and more.  The above link is for grades 1 and 2, but there are sets for students of all ages and abilities.

Features:

  • Each card consists of interesting texts from a variety of genres
  • Students simply read through each passage, then answer the questions on the bottom
    • Students can answer and markup each card with a write and wipe marker
  • Set includes:
    • 90 practice cards at 3 different levels
      • Cards measure 8.5″ x 11″ each
    • Answer cards