If you’re a parent trying to encourage reading comprehension in your child you might be tempted to ask them questions about specific points in the story they are reading. For example, you might ask, “how do you think the girl felt?” or “why did the boy want to …”.
STOP! This approach does not work!
Answering these kinds of questions only elicits short answers and not higher level sentences. In other words, your child could answer these questions and still not understand what’s going on in the story.
That’s because your child’s ability to recall specific details does little or nothing to move him or her to see the main idea. And grasping the main idea is the key to reading success.
So what do you do?
Follow these 5 steps to teach your child reading comprehension
1. Read a story aloud — without asking questions.
2. Then, at regular points, start a short summary of what you have just read.
3. Have your child “fill in” this summary.
For example, if you say, “so the boy was hoping to get to the cave but he ….”
Wait for your child to fill in the answer
4. Have your child say the complete short summary
For example, your child might say, “so the boy was hoping to get to the cave but he could not find it”.
This gives your child the opportunity to speak in long, sophisticated sentences and that does wonders for verbal skills.
Visit our reading comprehension activities page to download free worksheets.
And, sign up for our online reading program and game which teaches all six skills needed for reading & writing success, including reading comprehension! You can sign up for a 30 day free trial and the program will test your child and let you know exactly what he or she needs to do in order to achieve full reading comprehension.