Reading Comprehension

What is Reading Comprehension?

Reading comprehension is an active process that involves many strategies and behaviors.  As children learn to read they are able to decode words by using a number of cues.  To become fluent readers, children must also understand or comprehend what they read.  As readers, we use a number of strategies to help us understand (comprehend) what we read.  Comprehension is making meaning from texts by:

  • understanding the text
  • engaging with the text
  • making connections with prior knowledge
  • evaluating the text
  • reflecting upon new learning

As readers, we monitor our understanding, make decisions about which strategies will help and we clarify our understanding as we read. Strategies used to comprehend text:

  • use prior knowledge (experiences we have had, things we already know)
  • make predictions about what the reader may encounter next
  • creating pictures in your head (visualization) as you read
  • questioning
  • retelling/summarizing (during reading to clarify)

Questions to ask your child when reading narrative (fiction) text:

  • Who is the story about?  Name the most important character(s).
  • When and where does the story take place?  How do you know?
  • Describe something that happened in the story.  Explain why or how this event happened.
  • What is a problem faced by one of the characters?  What does the character say or do to solve this problem?
  • What can you learn about the characters in the story by looking at the pictures?
  • What do you think is the lesson the author wans you to learn from this story?  Explain using detail from the story.
  • How do the pictures help you understand the setting or events that happened in the story?
  • Have you read another version of this same story?  How are the two versions alike and different?

Questions to ask your child when reading informational (non-fiction) text:

  • Who or what is this book mostly about?  When and where did the most important events take place?
  • Choose one paragraph, and identify the main topic of that paragraph.
  • Name two or more important ideas or events in the book.  How are these ideas or events connected to each other?
  • Were there any words that you didn't know?  What do they mean?  How did you figure out their meanings?
  • What text features are used in this book?  How do those features help the reader?
  • What is the main purpose of this text?  What is the author trying to explain or describe?
  • What type of images did you find in this text?  What can you learn from each of those images?
  • What is one point the author is trying to make?  What reasons are given to support this point?