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My kid is reading multiple books a day (He is home for summer holidays for now). I gather it is a good, but I doubt that he reads every word & line while reading. Should I worry that this will develop into a bad habit & result into poor comprehension?

I did test him on the overall stories & understanding, he seems to know the high level details, but sometimes he can't tell page by page details.

What should I do?

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    Why do you think that would be a bad habit? – Warren Dew Jul 16 '16 at 5:40
  • I worry because he is only 7 years old & I am not sure if this is a good habit or not. – Vic Jul 16 '16 at 5:46
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    If one of my kids had taken to reading that well, only thing I'd be doing is a happy dance! And if he is glossing over some bits to get to what interests him....so what? He's reading. For fun. You kill the fun and you'll kill the reading. – Michael Broughton Jul 19 '16 at 16:09
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This depends on the child's personality and the level of difficulty of the books he's reading. It may well be that he's excited (or bored) and wants to get to the good parts, or that the book can really be read and understood while skipping some of the fine details.

Although you don't read that way, I would be willing to bet that if asked exactly what happened a few pages before (What kind of car did the woman get into? What color was her dress?), those relatively meaningless details would be fuzzy for you, too. There's a lot of fluff in most books. That's why the better books are better.

Some possible suggestions:

Get him books above his reading level, good ones. Newbery medal winners, or Caldecott medal winners. Read a few of them yourself and after he reads them, have a discussion (try to make it fun; over ice cream or something) with him. See how much he missed compared to you. If he didn't miss much, you can relax.

If you are still worried, there are books out there that test for all aspects of reading comprehension: meaning, context, implications, etc. on his grade school level. Invest in a few of these and do exercises daily (they don't take long) to see if you can identify any particular weaknesses he has (e.g. does he read too fast to understand implications?). The books should instruct you on how to work with your son on these critical (meaning evaluative, not important) thinking skills.

And yes, it's summer. He's giving a little bit of something up. Make it worthwhile (he gets to pick a family outing or something once in a while.)

Finally, you can just leave it to his teachers, who actually test for stuff like this, even early on. Talk to them about your concerns and see what their thoughts are.

It depends if you want to be "hands off", "hands on", or "very hands on". Either way, one of the most oft-cited statistics in how well a child does in school is how involved the parents are in their education.

  • Thanks for your time and comprehensive answer. About "books out there that test for all aspects of reading comprehension: meaning, context, implications, etc. on his grade school level." ... Could you suggest some place to get names of such book for different grade. – Vic Jul 16 '16 at 17:04
  • I would look online for "books to test critical reading skills grade 2", then read reviews for those books, etc. Pick one that sounds right, and try it. Read any example lessons they have. There's a lot of bad stuff out there meant to prey on a parent's fear. Avoid those. – anongoodnurse Jul 16 '16 at 18:47
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Encourage him!

It is one of the best things to see a child doing, as it is an excellent way to get knowledge into them (whereas forcing them to read isn't) and can be a strong correlator with intelligence.

I was the same, and still vacuum up books at an incredibly fast rate (usually a few on the go at any one time, but getting through 5 or 6 a week is not uncommon even with very little spare time from my day job, volunteer work and musical productions) and bring able to read all the school syllabus, plus hundreds of novels, scientific papers etc really helped me get ahead of my peers.

I'd suggest trying to provide books at a higher difficulty level, or even look at having him sit an intelligence test - he maybe just needs more input.

  • Thanks for the answer. He want to read what he wants to read. Only thing that I can do for him to try new stuff is show other kids reading something different or new. He gets easily bored doing similar stuff couple of times like math question of same types. Drums practice of same stuff. What is intelligence test ? – Vic Jul 16 '16 at 16:44
  • Go to Mensa.org - there is a global group for folks with high intelligence. They provide tests to find out IQ. – Rory Alsop Jul 16 '16 at 16:50
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As a life long fast reader, it has been nothing but a pure benefit for me throughout life, in school and beyond. According to what I've read, and my own experience, reading fast doesn't necessarily decrease comprehension, and in some cases can even increase it.

In my opinion, the most important thing is that your child loves books. If he reads well, it will not be difficult for him to learn to slow down and read more carefully when he needs to catch the fine details. I can't think of anything more potentially destructive to his love of reading than forcing him to read slowly.

In summary, most parents, including myself, would love to have this problem!

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People read in many different ways and it does not always stay the same for their whole life. I was an extremely fast reader when I was younger because I didn't care for the exact details and skimmed a lot of the less important details (e.g. "her dress blew in the wind" vs "her dress rippled softly in the warm gentle evening breeze"). I eventually decided that it was the details and nuances that set apart the good authors from the great authors and now revel over every letter. I know that I benefited from my love of books when I was younger even though I didn't read them the same way I do today.

I would recommend encouragement and support. Let your son read the way he wants to read. If you start trying to control his style you will lessen the experience for him and may steer him away from books.

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