Reading comprehension is the ability to read text, process it and understand its meaning. It emphasizes two abilities: word reading (being able to decode the symbols on the page) and language comprehension (being able to understand the meaning of the words and sentences).
When we understand what we read on a text, we don’t just remember the exact words and phrases we read. We also know what the text describes by integrating the sense of the words and sentences into a meaningful whole, like a film that plays in our head.
Developing reading comprehension skills is incredibly important for early readers, starting as early as picture books. As school-aged children get older, it will help them understand textbooks, newspapers, and other more complex texts.
Good comprehension is vital if reading is to have a purpose, if a reader is to engage with and learn from a text and, ultimately, if a reader is to enjoy what they’re reading.