Working with comprehension.....understanding what we read...


Reading Tips For Parents To Help At Home -Part 2- Working With Comprehension...


**I love Dr. Seuss and my favorite character is The Cat In The Hat- I feel that his hat is not just a symbol for reading-but his hat is also R-E-D!  Let’s all be a part of R-E-D!





Comprehension is the ability to read, understand, and interpret different kinds of texts.  Since different genres employ different comprehension strategies, I have tried to include strategies for both fiction and non-fiction texts.  Fiction texts include fantasy, fairy tale, and fictional (created by the author) stories. Non-fiction texts include biographies, content area subjects-social studies, math & science texts, as well as informational media such as newspapers and magazines.  These strategies can be used for a variety of ages-even with older students.  I tried to design the layout to  include strategies for before reading a selection, strategies to use as you are reading, and strategies to use after you read a selection.      




Fiction Texts-



Before Reading Strategies - 

*Preview the text, look at and discuss the pictures, the setting and the characters. This is called a “picture walk.”

*Parents can “sum up” the meaning of the story and help children make predictions- “This story is going to be about a boy and his pet dog.  There will be a problem because the dog ran after a cat and soon got lost.  What do you think the boy will do...”

*Enunciate very deliberately any unusual names, or words that you feel would be difficult for your child.

*If there is a pattern with wording or rhymes-point it out to your child.

*Have your child locate 1-2 new or important words in the text after the child predicted the letters he or she expected to see at the beginning of the word.  For example, “The mother said the family was going on vacation.  What does vacation mean?  What sounds do you hear at the beginning of the word vacation.  Let’s find that word on this page”


*Chapter books-The above can be done with the cover and title of the book. This may be all that is needed.  However, you can also do a similar activity at the onset of each chapter.



*For older readers-*Create A Story Impression Chart- These are story fragments in the form of key words and phrases and helps the reader to form an overall impression of how characters and events interact in a story..  This usually requires an adult to have a knowledge of the story or topic.


**Sometimes a short introduction is all that is needed before fictional stories. 



As You Read - 

*Picture the story like a movie in your mind.  Where is it happening? (setting)

*Stop & Speak-Stop reading and share what’s happened so far. 

Use these prompts for sequence and re-telling:


“At the beginning of the story...”


“In the middle of the story”

“There was a problem...”


“At the end.......”

“The problem was solved when....”


Remember these 3 Important Questions with word difficulties- As I Read:

1.  Does it Make Sense?  

        If not, I should: re-read, change my speed, make pictures in my mind, look up words I don’t know, ask for help.


2.  Does It Sound right?

        If not, I should ask myself questions-Does this fit with the other ideas in the story?  Could it be another word that has the same beginning sounds?  


3.  Does it Look Right? Do the words match the ideas of the story?  If I have trouble with a word I can read to the end of the sentence or paragraph-was I able to figure it out?


After Reading -

*Re-tell what you have read Follow the prompts above (In the beginning, in the middle, etc.)

*Summarize the important details.  Describe the events in sequential order.


~”Were my predictions correct”? 

~”Do I agree with the author?”

~”Are there parts I should re-read because I didn’t understand them? “

~”Should I slow my reading pace down?”

~”What did I like best/least about the story?”

~”Does it make me think of something I read before?

~”Does it make me think of something that has happened to me or around me?”


*Complete a Story Map to remember the parts of the story






Non-Fiction Texts-



Before Reading Strategies - 

*Parents can “sum up” the meaning of the story and prepare a child using familiar experiences For example- “This story is going to be about frogs and how they grow, remember when we saw frogs at the lake? What do we know already about frogs..”

*Create an idea map-Use headings-Such as, but not limited to- Who? What? When? Where? Why? How? As you read jot notes under the various headings of your web.

*Learn how to Skim text to understand how it is organized

* Create a K-W-L Chart  This helps organize what you already know about the topic, what you hope to learn, and finally after you read-what you have learned

*Create A Story Impression Chart- These a story fragments in the form of key words and phrases and helps the reader to form an overall impression.  This usually requires an adult to have a knowledge of the story or topic.

*Create prior knowledge and make an analogy- For example if you are studying cultural events-read a story about American baseball, then read a story about Cricket in Great Britain and 

Create a Venn Diagram

* Survey! Question! Read! Recite! Review! Create an SQ3R Chart-This is a strategy used before, during, and after reading


As You Read - 

*Make lists of names, places and vocabulary that are difficult.  Discuss these with an adult or search for answers using another source (dictionary,encyclopedia,internet).

*Take “notes”-write definitions, create word/ideas webs. (See word web idea above)

*If possible-circle or highlight words and key phrases-turn them into questions (for after reading)

*Skim the titles or captions-picture yourself “doing” these things.





After Reading -

*Go back to where you circled or highlighted texts-turn these words or phrases into questions.

*Review your word web-add any other details which could help you remember what you read.

*Text look-back- Sounds simple and it is-you look back through the text for specific answers.  Look for key words or phrases.  Re-read the sentences or entire paragraphs if necessary.

* Complete your SQ3R chart- Survey! Question! Read! Recite! Review! -

*Review any of the above strategies and add to word webs, charts, etc. any ideas you may have missed.  Charts can be used as study guides.

*Complete a story frame  to organize historical genre.




Comprehension Strategy Links:


LD Online - Understanding What You Read 


Tips to Strengthen Reading Comprehension (K-3) 


 Reading Rockets -Comprehension


Family Literacy Alliance - Vocabulary And Comprehension


Comprehensive link of Graphic Organizers that you can print


Text organization Ideas you can print for social studies, english and science content area texts.


Resources for Adolescent Literacy.

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