Reading comprehension is a significant challenge for children in Indian schools. Generally, Indian students and teachers think that the act of reading is straightforward, or some consider reading as a simple way of reading in the classroom. Therefore, they spend zero time reading. This all results in poor academic performance of the students.
The real problem starts at the elementary level where kids are not properly trained in reading skills. It means that if a student is unable to do the reading comprehension, he won’t be able to learn. Reading problems start developing at an elementary level when kids’ reading skills are not properly taken care of by my parents and teachers. Therefore, the teachers should take care of reading skills at the elementary level.
Reading difficulties in Indian elementary schools
Reading comprehension in Indian schools is a great challenge for kids. Students’ inability to understand what they read, especially in English, is caused by several things.
Reading is largely related to speaking and listening. Indian children lack both these skills as their mother tongue is different from English. They are not exposed to an English-speaking environment, which results in poor reading comprehension of the English language. The following are the reasons behind poor reading comprehension skills among Indian students:
Reading is closely linked with speaking and listening. Indian students are not exposed to either of these skills. Illiterate parents are helpless in helping their wards learn reading skills. Children have not learned to communicate in the English language. Therefore, we can’t expect the children to perform well in reading comprehension. Poor households and a lack of English-medium schools increase their struggle to learn reading skills.
Script differences in languages create problems for kids to understand the meaning clearly. Teachers are not properly trained to teach in English. More classroom time should be allotted for activities such as storytelling, poetry, and unstructured conversation. Children always try to understand things in their mother tongue first, and then they try to translate the words into English. Most of the time, English teachers teach English in their mother tongue, irrespective of the fact that we can’t write anything in our mother tongue on English paper.
Communication and comprehension are closely related to each other. Students from all backgrounds come to school to learn. Learning is harmed because the students are unable to comprehend what the teacher wants to convey due to their linguistic differences. The teacher tries his best to communicate his ideas to the students. Students are unable to comprehend and the communication is lost in translation as the students try to translate the learning material. Therefore, the meaning is not properly communicated even if the teacher might have tried to polish his ideas. Hence, the message fails to communicate as students are unable to comprehend it. Therefore, comprehension is more important than communication.
What are Some Reading Comprehension Strategies for Indian Students?
Reading is closely linked to listening and speaking. Therefore, adopt a strategy to speak in English and play an audio or video in English. Some English cartoons can help students learn English words.
Ask parents to take the help of an English teacher to improve their children’s reading skills. Reading books and newspapers in English in English will help the students learn to read better in school. Help kids to say something in English in prayer. Teachers must provide some sentences of daily use to students and encourage them to use them in school and at home. The school must provide some story books for students to learn English at the primary level. Ask students to read aloud and involve each student in this activity to develop their vocabulary of the students by providing five new words daily. Teach grammar rules in all classes. Help them to learn synonyms and antonyms. Ask every student to read something in front of all students and then ask them to say something about what they read. Do pre-reading activities in the class and explain the keywords.
Simple Tricks to Boost your Reading Comprehension Skills
The decoding of words by students at the elementary level
Students decode words while reading, and they try to remember the words that they have never used before. At home, kids speak so many words. They don’t even know how to write these words. These words work as foundation skills in their learning to read skills. They develop phonemic skills during their childhood. Individual sounds in words are known as phonemes.
There are 44 phonemes, with 20 vowels and 24 consonants. It also allows them to “play” with sounds at the word and syllable level. They learn to recognise the sounds of vowels and consonants even though they don’t know the rules of phonemes.
Some kids are born with reading skills, while others have to learn. Therefore, teachers have to maintain a balance between natural readers and learners. It may be because of their background also. They also face problems pronouncing words.
Indian students, especially those in rural areas, have lacked reading skills in the English language.
Fluent readers are comfortable with reading comprehension.
Some kids are quick at reading and they instantly recognise the words. Fluency in reading makes reading comprehension easy. Children who can read fast and with no mistakes are called fluent readers. Reading fluency makes comprehension easier. Recognizing words boosts comprehension skills. Therefore, learn to recognise words. Reading books enhances the reading skills of everybody. Strong vocabulary boosts reading comprehension.
Develop your vocabulary as much as you can. The greater the vocabulary, the greater the reading power and, ultimately, the reading comprehension. Start reading newspapers, novels, and magazines to strengthen your vocabulary.
The formation of sentences helps in improving reading comprehension.
Students should learn the formation of sentences. Learn the tenses comfortably. Imagine the situation and write a story. Give words to your ideas and, ultimately, the strength of sentence formation increases.
Learn the art of connecting sentences and, ultimately, you can join your ideas.
Prior knowledge also improves reading skills.
Read as much as you can as it will increase your knowledge and improves your reading skills.
Don’t feel obligated to teach all of these reading strategies to every student who struggles with comprehension. Instead, assess each student’s needs and tailor instruction to their specific deficits.
Therefore, students must seriously consider improving their reading skills to excel in life. Techers should try to communicate the message and make sure it is conveyed. This is how you can comprehend the learning materials.