I remember learning how to read passages for the TAKS test. My teacher sat us down with the short five-paragraph story and had us underline important details, character names, and all of the important information. Then we would read the questions about the passage and go back through and reread the passage again looking for answers to the question. Now that I’m homeschooling my kids I didn’t’ think about teaching reading comprehension or even how to teach reading comprehension. Somehow in my head, I just magically knew how to do reading comprehension.
(this post is sponsored by Paradigm Accelerated Curriculum, it’s all my own content, and next week I’ll have a full review of the two curriculums I’ve tried with them and who this is perfect for)
Why is reading comprehension important?
To be honest, early on I didn’t focus on reading comprehension with my kids. We read books and we talked about what was in them, but I didn’t try for the specific details. I’d always hated it when my teachers did this as a kid and sucked all of the joy out of reading, so I didn’t want to do that to my kids.
Then a few years ago we used PAC science (check out, with that we worked on how to take a test), and I started to see WHY I needed to teach reading comprehension.
All of their life my kids are going to be taking standardized tests.
“Wait,” you say, “how is that Ticia, your kids are homeschooled?”
You’re right, and in Texas, we don’t need to take standardized tests. Someday my kids are going to take the SAT. Someday in the not too distant future, my kids will take a driving test. Or they will take a college class. They’ll grow up and take a Driver’s Safety Test because they want their insurance lower.
Do you know what’s in common for almost all of those?
They all have some type of reading comprehension skill in it. I need to teach my kids reading comprehension to survive in this world, so I have to think about how to teach reading comprehension.
What you need to teach reading comprehension
Now you can start from scratch and create your own reading comprehension materials for your kids. It’s easy enough to do. I had to do that for our Texas History curriculum this year, there wasn’t one for it.
You know the problem with that? It takes a lot of time to do. I’m spending two to three hours a week on Texas history and that’s not really creating a comprehensive reading comprehension guide, that’s straight vocabulary and a few notes.
No, you need something that’s already designed the reading comprehension part for you. I got the 7th-grade basic math curriculum from PAC (can I tell you how bummed I was to discover they didn’t have a high school math) knowing it had reading comprehension built into it. I also knew it was going to review some concepts my kids needed a review on, and they needed some solid review of terms.
This is doing it perfectly.
How to teach reading comprehension to your kids
It starts with a nice solid curriculum that uses reading comprehension. For my examples, I’m using the basic math curriculum from PAC. In reality all of the PAC curriculum I’ve used would be great for this.
Next, have your kids read through the questions they’re going to answer. Quite often the books will have similar phrasing between the text and the questions, if you already know what you’re looking for, it can help you find the right answer more quickly.
Now read the passage. Look for bolded words, those are usually vocabulary words or important concepts or people.
Next look for key details. As I got older I took to highlighting and underlining that information. I know a lot of families want to keep their books in good condition to resell or pass on to other kids if that’s the case I’d either use post-it notes or put small tick marks in pencil that are easy to erase. Sice note, I love the downloadable version of their curriculum, it means when, not if, when my kids lose their work I can easily print out another copy for them to work on their math.
Finally, after you’ve read the passage answer the questions. If you’re not sure of an answer look back at the passage to help you find the answer, in the PAC 7th grade math, and many other reading comprehension questions the questions are written in the order they appear. So if you’re struggling with the last question on the reading comprehension review, look at the end of your reading.
This is where the marks you made in the passage and the post-it notes are handy. My kids haven’t latched onto this idea yet, but I hadn’t at their age either. As long as they’re doing well on their grades I’m not that worried about it (my kids are a big fan of PAC’s philosophy of having over 85 on the quizzes for the chapter means you don’t take the test, big fans).
I’ve got all of this as a printable, with tips for parents when looking for a reading comprehension curriculum (nonfiction), and a nice little bookmark for your kids. Get it now, because in 2 weeks, it’s moving to my subscriber library.
Reading Comprehension checklist
Some important details about PAC curriculum you need to know
Ever since I first used PAC homeschool curriculum I’ve always been impressed with their customer service and how they want to serve the homeschool community. They offer a couple of discounts that are permanent, you just need to contact them.
40% off – Single parents/guardian or combined group single order, shipped to a single location, of $2000 or more.
20% off – first-time PAC customers, policemen, firemen, EMT, EMS, other first-responders, farmers, ranchers, pastors, missionaries, wounded warriors, or combined group single order, shipped to a single location, of $1000 or more.
Customers can contact us to receive a discount code. More information available here.
Natalie PlanetSmarty says
I also “magically learned” reading comprehension, but I am grateful that my “always-in-a-rush” daughter was taught how to do it formally. She can definitely slow down for tests and pay attention to detail. It’s such an important skill to have!
It really is, and it’s one I hadn’t thought how important it was until I was looking at how my kids initially did on their work with this curriculum. It’s a different skill set for sure.
I think this skill is so much more intuitive for some kids than others! Reading books and books and more books also helps!
It really is, and until we were working with this curriculum that has so much straight read the book, answer this question straight from the book, I hadn’t realized how common it is.