When we think of reading and comprehension practice, English classes generally first come to mind. Of course, this is for good reason – both of these skills are vital to passing any English course. However, it's important that we recognize the significance of reading and comprehension skills in all subjects, as these abilities are used in many areas of education.
So, what exactly are reading and comprehension skills, and how do we measure them? Well, let's break it down. Reading encompasses many areas – vocabulary skills, the ability to form context and make inferences from text, etc. Comprehension, on the other hand, ventures towards analysis and understanding. We can read something but not truly understand the concept we just read about. We've all been there – whether it's due to environmental distractions or the material just simply isn't making sense. It's clear to see how reading and comprehension are separate skills that need to work in tandem with one another.
Without a doubt, reading and comprehension is extremely important and is a clear focus early on in childhood education. As students grow older, English courses require them to use reading and comprehension skills in many areas. From book reports to research papers, students will employ their ability to read and comprehend subject matter not just in language arts courses, but in all subjects.
Mathematics, for example, requires more reading and comprehension skills than one might consider. We've had students that are naturally gifted in their mathematical ability to “get” numbers, and find solving equations and crunching numbers to be an easy task. However, when these same students struggle with word problems, they are often quick to discount the importance of the application. When it comes down to it, being able to solve an equation isn't enough – people that use math skills in their careers need to know how to apply the knowledge they've learned. An architect undoubtedly needs to work with numbers, but also needs to understand how to read a blueprint and understand complex concepts like scale factors, measurements, and what those measurements represent.
The same goes for any subject. Science classes may not require students to have a flair for writing, but the subject matter delves deep into texts and research. A large amount of study comes from reading, and if students are not able to fully comprehend these scientific concepts, this knowledge won't do them much good when trying to apply it in the real world.
At the minimum, reading and comprehension should be a focus of K-12 students for its effect on test-taking ability. From early grade level exams to standardized tests, the ability for students to read and understand the instructions given to them is of utmost importance. At later grades, many of our students find themselves taking the SAT/ACT exams. Both of these tests rely heavily on reading skills throughout, and comprehension is a main focus on several sections. Being able to read a passage and form a comprehensive analysis is extremely important on these exams, and we often recommend students make practicing and applying these skills a high priority.
Reading and comprehension skills affect all subjects, and we believe all students can benefit simply by getting extra practice in these areas. For more information on how Tutor Doctor can help, visit our page on English & Humanities Tutoring.