While decoding, vocabulary and fluency skills are essential, it is COMPREHENSION skills that give us the quantum leap into actual reading! There is eventually a shift from learning 1) how to read to 2) reading to learn. Yet, comprehension is something that we can begin teaching children at a young age.
We often associate the following terms with reading comprehension:
And there are others. It can seem overwhelming to parents trying to help their child. Likewise, these terms can be overwhelming for children too! My goal today is to help simplify these concepts and share some strategies that you can utilize at home. We want to get children to THINK about what they are reading and eventually self-monitor their own reading comprehension. In order to teach children to think about what they are reading, we need to teach them what kind of questions support their comprehension.
As stories are read aloud to young children, we can support their listening comprehension by asking questions before, during and after the book. When we do this, we are modeling behaviors of good readers. This is what that may look like when reading aloud to young children.
Continue your reading in this manner. Stop after reading a couple of pages to ask questions about what is happening in the story. Clarify or teach vocabulary, help your child relate to the story and support his understanding of the characters.
Earlier I mentioned that looking at the illustrations should not be a strategy upon which beginning readers should rely. Yet, it is a strategy that has its place. When working with a beginning reader, you can cover the picture while he is reading the page. This encourages children to utilize their phonetic and decoding skills to tackle unfamiliar words instead of guessing at a word because of something that they see in the picture. This also helps young readers focus on the words on the page without having their eyes wonder over to the illustration.
Click the pictures to download your comprehension bookmarks. Put front to back and laminate.
This “Reading is Thinking” FREEBIE from TeacherKarma.com is a nice reference for parents and young readers. You can find it (here).