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
- 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?