Many children enjoy reading books, magazines, and online material. However, very few of them take the time to think about what they read, analyze it, or discuss it. Reading comprehension is a crucial part of school curricula, standardized testing, and preparation for college.

A great way to encourage your child’s reading comprehension is to show interest in his or her work. We suggest reading the same book or article that your child enjoys reading, then you can have a “book talk.” This is a conversation that involves both of your perspectives (i.e. thoughts, feelings, and analysis of the work). It is a great technique to strengthen your child’s comprehension, thinking skills, and creativity.

The key to having a successful book talk is to remember that this is a conversation, not an interrogation! It should be a back-and-forth discussion about various aspects of the book. The conversation should allow your child to express his/her ideas and thoughts about the characters, plot, theme, or any other aspect that he or she finds interesting. Encourage your children to express their feeling and observations. It can become a creative discussion and lead into an exploration about politics, sports, or entertainment. You can draw out similarities and relate the story to personal experiences that you can share with your child. Just remember, there are no hard rules for a “book talk.”