Transitioning to middle school is a critical stepping stone in a child's life both socially and academically. One of the areas where you may see the greatest change to the curriculum is in reading comprehension. When your child is in elementary school, they will focus on the fundamentals of reading and skills they need to make the act of reading easier. This can include phonetics, parts of speech, sentence structure, and vocabulary.
When your child advances to middle school, the focus will shift from the mechanics of reading to understanding what they read and being able to draw inferences from the information. While they will continue to focus on growing their vocabulary, they will also be expected to identify the various parts of the story they are reading and why it is important for each part to be included.
When in middle school, your child will be expected to draw conclusions about what they read and learn to anticipate or infer information that is contained in the story. They will no longer focus on the speed of reading or pronunciation and will be expected to be able to get through a grade-specific book without too much stumbling. The big jump in elementary school reading comprehension to middle school reading comprehension is the shift from the mechanics of being able to read, to understanding and beginning to analyze what has been read.
More in Middle School
Once in middle school, your child will be expected to read more independently. They will often be assigned book reports to get them to understand what they are reading and how to infer such things as themes, characters, and motivations. Most of this reading will be expected to be done outside of class and reading for pleasure will also be encouraged by teachers, often through contests and rewards.
Read and Retain
Reading comprehension is extremely important in middle school because it is the time when the student use all the fundamental that they learned about reading in elementary school. These tools allow them to understand what they are reading and how to retain the information that they are exposed to. When your child recalls information they've read, it will increase their understanding of the material. It will also help them realize that comprehending the story is as important as being able to read it.
Help Improve Your Child's Reading Comprehension
You can improve your child's comprehension, by encouraging them to read for pleasure. By reading what they want to, they are more likely to want to understand the story and retain the information. When your child is reading a book or a story, try asking them some open ended questions that will get them to think more analytically. These questions can be: "Why do you think the character wanted to do that?" or "How do you think this character feels after that happened?"
Prepare your child for their reading comprehension transition by promoting reading early and engaging your child with thoughtful discussions of what they read. This will better prepare them for their teacher's expectations and allow them to excel to the level of reading comprehension they will need to continue their education.