What do retelling, summarizing, main idea, predicting, clarifying and questioning all have in common? These are essential comprehension skills that every child needs in order to understand the text that they read.
Teachers use a variety of tools to help your child comprehend such as graphic organizers, modeling ‘thinkalouds’ while reading, activating their prior knowledge to help ‘hook’ your child to the text and asking higher-level thinking questions.
Some ways you can help your child comprehend the stories or passages they are reading are to start with that emotional hook. Ask your child why they chose the book they did. What do they know about the topic or some key vocabulary words? Model a ‘think-aloud’ such as “I’m wondering why there is an empty lake on the front cover…” Ask your child to identify some words that they might need to know in order to read the book. Have them predict what will happen before they start the next chapter.
While your child is reading, ask questions, too. If he is reading silently, interrupt from time to time and say, “Tell me what is going on in your book.” This helps you know if your child understands, helps your child work on creating a summary of the book, and teaches your child to stop and think while reading. You might also ask those questions that begin with “WH words;” what is happening, who is in the story, where does the story take place, when did that happen, why would the character do that. Asking questions while your child reads will help them to understand so much better. Showing an interest and engaging in your child’s reading will help cement those comprehension skills and instill a love for reading.
Each month I will post information regarding literacy strategies or skills that might be helpful for you and your child at home. If you have any questions about Literacy First, please call me at 554-2333 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.