Reading comprehension is perhaps the most important skill a child can learn. It’s also one of the most common learning disabilities. If a teacher notices that a student is having a hard time remembering what they read, the teacher should implement measures in the classroom to improve overall reading comprehension.
Students should engage in active reading, which involves taking notes and highlighting. Notes can help the student remember key concepts while they read and provide information to look at after the reading is completed. Many teachers prefer Cornell notes, which challenge the student to consider different ideas while reading. The student must divide a sheet of paper into three areas: Key Words, Notes, and Summary/Questions. Students can write down key words they see throughout the reading, either words they don’t understand or words they found interesting. The notes section could be used for their own thoughts on the reading or for writing down the main points. The last part should be specified by the teacher: either the student writes down a summary of the piece to show that they understood the main ideas, or the teacher assigns questions for the student to answer after they have read. These notes can provide the student with a study guide when they are tested on the material.
Teachers should also encourage their students to highlight important ideas in the reading. Teachers need to be careful that the students understand that they can’t highlight everything; if they do, then nothing will stand out to them. But if the student comes across a key idea that they will need to remember later, they should highlight that idea in the reading.
Turning students into active readers can take years, but the benefits are numerous. For students with learning disabilities, they will learn to take the time to read and take notes. Students without learning disabilities will benefit from the deeper understanding they will gain by taking specific notes and highlighting.