Why This is Important
Comprehension is the ability to understand and critically think about a text. It is the purpose of skilled reading.
Goals for Strong Readers
- Tell events in order.
- Name the character and setting.
- Ask and answer questions about the text.
- Retell the most important points and key details of a text.
- Ask your child who, what, when, where, why, how questions about an event in his or her day.
- For example, if your child attended a party, you could ask, Who was there? What did you do? When did you have cake? Where did you go? Why did the invitation have dogs on it? How did the birthday child like the presents?
- Once your child is comfortable answering these questions about his or her experiences, try asking these questions about a book you’ve read together.
More Activities and Games
Pick an age-appropriate fiction or non-fiction book or text. Fiction is a made-up story, and non-fiction is real information with facts such as news articles, biographies, and how-to books. Discuss the book’s cover, title, author, illustrator and the type of text (fiction or nonfiction). Take a picture walk by going page-by-page to view and discuss all the illustrations. Ask your child:
- Who or what will the book be about?
- What do you think will happen in the book based on what you see?
- How will it end?
Read the text to your child or have your child read it to you.
Pick an age-appropriate fiction or non-fiction book or text. Fiction is a made-up story, and non-fiction is real information with facts such as news articles, biographies, and how-to books. Read aloud, take turns reading; or listen to your child read depending on the text. Pause every few pages to check your child’s understanding of what is being read. Ask who, what, when, where, why, and how questions:
- What has happened so far in the book?
- Who are the characters in the book?
- How did the character respond when that happened?
- How do feel about your prediction now?
Reread or use pictures to help prompt your child’s response if he or she does not know.
Alternate version: If you are reading a nonfiction text, ask your child to retell the events of the text, describe how the pictures help to better understand the text, and explain who or what the text is about.
Pick an age-appropriate fiction or non-fiction book or text. Fiction is a made-up story, and non-fiction is real information with facts such as news articles, biographies, and how-to books. Review the book with your child with these questions:
- Can you retell the events in the book in the correct order, naming the main characters, setting and major events?
- Who do you think is the most important character and why?
- What clues in the pictures showed you how the character was feeling?
- Did you like how the book ended? Can you create a different ending for the book?
- Can you write, draw or explain how you would change the ending?
- Can you think of an ending that makes sense with the rest of the story?
Alternate version: If you are reading a non-fiction text, ask your child, What do you think is the most important thing the author wanted you to know? What is one fact you learned from this text? Show your child additional information about the text by looking online, in newspapers, or magazines. Have your child compare the information and discuss similarities and differences.