The Importance of Reading Comprehension

As young children, we first learn to read; and then around mid-elementary school, we start reading to learn. Some children who are proficient at oral reading can experience difficulty at this time, in terms of comprehending what they read.

Comprehending what one reads is imperative for a child to be successful in school. Children must be able to understand the context of the words in individual sentences and also understand multiple concepts when reading longer passages.

There are basically two types of reading comprehension skills—concrete and abstract. Concrete comprehension skills are the easier of the two to master. They include the ability to answer questions when the information being asked is explicitly stated in the reading selection. Concrete skills include vocabulary, main idea, fact or opinion, sequencing, following directions and reading for details.

Abstract reasoning includes inference, analysis, evaluation, drawing conclusions, and cause and effect; and requires the reader to draw on prior knowledge and processing to identify what is not explicitly stated.

Both types of comprehension require that the reader have adequate processing and working memory skills, which enable them to take in new information, identify and categorize it, merge it with previously learned information, and respond.

Comprehension struggles can be temporary and minor or an indicator of a long-term learning problem. Optiminds offers a free brain diagnostic test to determine exactly how to help your child reach his/her full potential.

Dr. Jane Stewart at Optiminds has been helping to improve the reading and cognitive skills of clients of all ages. Find out more about Optiminds tutoring programs by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or email us at: And be sure to visit our website at


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