To understand what you’re reading, you need to understand most of the words in the text. Having a strong vocabulary is a key component of reading comprehension. Students can learn vocabulary through instruction. But they typically learn the meaning of words through everyday experience and also by reading.

What can help: The more words kids are exposed to, the richer their vocabulary becomes. One way you can build your vocabulary is by writing down words you come across that you don’t know and then looking them up in the dictionary.

Reading out loud also helps improve vocabulary. When reading aloud, stop at new words and define them. Even without hearing a definition of a new word, you may be able to figure it out in the context of the sentence.

For example, if you read this sentence what would you think it means?

“I hope to see racism eradicated one day.”

You may not have heard of the word eradicated before but you might have an idea that it means be eliminated or get rid of.

The importance of understanding what we read and the conversations we’re engaged in is essential to our everyday lives. Comprehension is what makes us advocates for ourselves and our families. Being able to read and understand through communication empowers us to make good decisions in our lives.