Reading and Writing » Comprehension Strategies

Comprehension Strategies

Here are six comprehension reading strategies all young readers should learn and memorize.
The more they become familiar with them, the easier it will be for them to understand the text and to respond to it.
1. Spinner the Spider – Make Connections
Connecting what your child already knows while she reads sharpens her focus and deepens understanding. Show him/her how to make connections by sharing your own connections as you read aloud.
Maybe the book mentions places you’ve been together on vacation. Talk about your memories of those places. Invite your child to have a turn. Remind your child that good readers make all kinds of connections as they read.
There are three kinds of connections readers make before, during, or after reading:
Make connections to what you already know
Text to Self, which could sounds like:
This reminds me of my own life…
I can relate to this character because…
If it was me, I would…
Text to Text, which could sounds like:
This reminds me of another book I’ve read/movie I’ve watched…
This is different from the other book because…
This is the same as the other book because…
Text to World, which could sounds like:
This reminds me of ________ going on in the word right now…
This is similar to _________ that’s happening in the news…
This is different to _______ that’s happening in the news…
2. Rocky Racoon – Visualize as You Read
Creating visual images brings the text alive. These “mind movies” make the story more memorable. You can help your child do this by reading aloud and describing the pictures you’re seeing in your own imagination. Use all five senses and emotions. Invite your child to share her “mind movies.”
Notice how they’re different from yours. You might even ask your child to draw what’s in her imagination.
Visualizing refers to our ability to create pictures in our heads based on text we read or words we hear. It is one of many skills that makes reading comprehension possible. This method is an ideal strategy to teach to young children who are learning to read.
Visualize or make a mind movie
3. Digger the Dog – Dig for Important Ideas
Determining what’s important is central to reading. When you read a story with your child, you might download a “story element” organizer. You can use it to keep track of the main characters, where the story is taking place, and the problem and solution of the story.
Nonfiction texts look different from fiction. They’re organized with features like the table of contents, headings, bold print, photos and the index.
Identifying the main idea and summarizing requires that children determine what is important and then put it in their own words. Implicit in this process is trying to understand the author’s purpose in writing the text.
Dig for important ideas
4. Jabber the Reteller – Retell the Story
Young readers should be able to talk about the beginning, middle, and end.
Have your child retell the story using sentence stems:
  • In the beginning…
  • Then in the middle…
  • Finally, in the end…
Talk about the beginning, middle, and end
5. Questioning Owl – Ask Questions as You Read
Asking questions will make your child want to look for clues in the text. Pose questions that will spark your child’s curiosity as you read aloud. Frequently ask her, “What are you wondering?” Jot down those “wonderings” and then see how they turn out. Remind your child that good readers challenge what they’re reading by asking questions.
Ask questions to spark curiosity
There are two different types of questions:
Thin Questions: Questions found right in the text that ask children to find the one right answer located in one place as a word or a sentence in the passage.
Example: Who is Frog’s friend? Answer: Toad
Thick Questions: Questions require readers to use what they already know, with what they have learned from reading the text. They must understand the text and relate it to their prior knowledge before answering the question. Example: How do think Frog felt when he found Toad? Answer: I think that Frog felt happy because he had not seen Toad in a long time. I feel happy when I get to see my friend who lives far away.
Questions are answered based on a prior knowledge and experiences. Reading the text may not be helpful to them when answering this type of question. Example: How would you feel if your best friend moved away? Answer: I would feel very sad if my best friend moved away because I would miss her.
6. Iggy the Inferring Iguana – Make a Guess!
Combine what we already know with clues from a story
We “infer” by combining what we already know with clues from a story. For example, when we read, “Her eyes were red and her nose was runny,” we can infer that she has a cold or allergies.
You can help your child with this reading skill by predicting what might happen in the story as you read aloud. Then invite your child to do the same.
Inference can be defined as the process of drawing of a conclusion based on the available evidence plus previous knowledge and experience. Inferencing means reading between the lines. Readers are required to make an educated guess, as the answer will not be stated explicitly. They must use clues from the text, coupled with their own experiences, to draw a logical conclusion.
Inferring is just putting clues together and using that voice inside your head to help you figure it out. Clues + Schema (Thinking) = Inferring.
Good readers are active readers. When your child has a hard time understanding what she reads, instruction can help. Give it a try!
Click below to download the Comprehension Strategies for Parents PDF file.