Last but not the least in the series is text comprehension. Comprehensioninvolves being able to connect what has been read to what the reader knows, constructing meaning that is reasonable and accurate and then, examining this information until the meaning is understood.
All the components of reading assessment are inter-connected to each other, especially when it comes to fluency and comprehension. A non-fluent reader puts large amount of efforts in reading a text and by the time he/she finishes it, he or she may forget what the sentence was even about. Comprehension is blocked because the process of decoding words takes so much time and effort. By contrast, a fluent reader reads in smooth and continuous phrases which the brain can retain and comprehend what is read.
Now the question arises, how to assess a child’s comprehension skills? Well, there are some popular ways to do so:
· The most common reading comprehension assessment involves asking a child to read a passage of text that is levelled appropriately for the child, and then asking some explicit, detailed questions about the content of the text.
· Instead of explicit questions about facts directly presented in the text, the child could be asked to answer inferential questions about information which was implied by the text, or the child’s comprehension might be tested by his or her ability to retell the story in the child’s own words or to summarise the main idea or the moral of the story.
· Another common reading comprehension assessment is called a “cloze” task — words are omitted from the passage, and the child is asked to fill in the blanks with appropriate words.
· Also, young children’s reading comprehension can be assessed by asking them to read and follow simple instructions, such as, “Stand up” or, “Go look out the window.”
· Write out simple definitions of target vocabulary and ask children what the word is e.g. I am in the sky, I am round, I shine at night (moon). This can be made into a reading comprehension exercise for children to work on in pairs or on their own.
· ASER conducts an IPAS (Indian Progressive Achievement Scales), a thoroughly researched test for measuring and tracking student achievement in reading comprehension, aligned with the National Curriculum. It covers a range of text types (narrative, persuasive, informational) and task types (retrieving information, interpreting explicit information, interpreting by making inferences and reflecting on texts).
Clearing some common misconceptions:
· Reading comprehension should not be confused with reading fluency/accuracy, which refers to the reading ability of a child.
· Any reading comprehension test is most accurate if the child is not reading for an audience
· It is a skill that develops gradually as children focus more on reading fluency than comprehension.
Phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension are the four important components of reading assessment. Proper assessment of a child’s reading skills during their early age can shape up their future. How are you assessing reading comprehension? Share your ideas and thoughts with us at firstname.lastname@example.org