Comprehension means that the reader has understood the message on the printed page.
That understanding is based on a child understanding language at a fairly sophisticated level. What are some activities to encourage the language skills that will enable your child to develop the most effective comprehension skills in reading? The most common approach is to ask a child questions about specific points in the story (e.g., “how do you think the girl felt?” “why did the boy want to …”).
Specific details do little or nothing to move a child to see the main idea and grasping the main idea is the key to reading success. To help your child attain this vital skill, you might want to try the following. Read a story aloud–without asking questions. Then at regular points, start a short summary of what you have just read—and have your child complete (“fill in”) the summary. (e.g.., “so the boy was hoping to get to the cave but he ….)
Then have your child say the complete (short) summary (e.g.., “so the boy was hoping to get to the cave but he could not find it”). This gives children the opportunity to speak in long, sophisticated sentences and that does wonders for verbal skills.
Answering specific questions does not do this –since most questions elicit only short answers and not higher level sentences.Visit our reading comprehension activities page to download free worksheets.