Reading Comprehension

Reading Comprehension - Red Apple Reading blogComprehension is the ability to not only read words, but understand their individual meanings and their meanings within the context of a sentence and story. Your child may be able to demonstrate an understanding of phonics and phonemic awareness, read basic sentences fluently, identify many written words by sight, and still not understand what she is reading. That’s why comprehension in and of itself is an important component of reading instruction.

If you are wondering how you can help improve a child’s reading comprehension, then check out the following tips from Red Apple Reading!

  • Preview: Before you read the book or story, look at the title, topic, pictures, and words in bold print. This quick glance can actually make a big difference in your child’s understanding of the story.
  • Make predictions: After he previews the story, let your child use the information he has gleaned to make predictions about what he believes might happen in the book. He will enjoy seeing how closely his guesses match the actual plot! Check out this informative article from This Reading Mama about making predictions before reading.
  • Provide background knowledge: Comprehension can be impeded by a lack of “background knowledge.” For example, if a child is given a book about the Erie Canal, but does not know what a canal is, she will have difficulty understanding what the book will be about. If your child encounters a book about a possibly unfamiliar subject, take the time to help her gain some background knowledge about the subject before reading the book.
  • Ask questions: Asking your child questions before, during, and after the reading process will give her practice with synthesizing information and focusing on comprehension. Fantastic Fun and Learning has some great ideas for questions you can ask your little one about her story.
  • Form a mental picture: Encourage your kiddo to form a mental picture of what he is reading. You could describe it as a movie playing in her head. For more ideas for how to help your child practice mental imagery, read this article from Reading Rockets!

When a child doesn’t understand what she is reading, the process can become a chore. Red Apple Reading believes that reading should be fun! Once your child begins to better comprehend what he is reading, he will not only be more proficient but he will also be a more enthusiastic reader! For more ideas on improving your child’s reading comprehension you are welcome to visit our Pinterest board, Reading Comp Coffers.

The Importance of Story Retelling

importance-of-story-retelling-RAR

You may have heard the phrase, “recount what you have read”. Perhaps you’ve noticed that part of your child’s homework is to tell you about what they have read. Today we will take a look at why story recounting (or retelling) is an important skill for young readers to learn.

 

 

 

Comprehension
Have you ever found yourself in the middle of a book and suddenly realized that you have no clue what was written on the last few pages? It’s easy to let our minds stray while reading; but reading is of very little value if we do not comprehend what we have read. Likewise, our children need to have a good understanding of the book or story they are reading. Retelling is an excellent way to ensure our kiddos have properly comprehended what they have read. If they cannot recount the story to you, they probably did not understand what they read. By having your child tell you the setting, main characters, and plot of the story, you can help ensure that they have adequately comprehended their reading assignment. For other reading comprehension tips, visit Red Apple Reading’sPinterest board, Reading Comp Coffers.

Imagination
Story recounting is a great way to foster your little one’s imagination. Retelling encourages a child to picture the characters and story line in her head. A good way to further enhance your child’s recount of the story is to ask questions. For instance, you could ask your kid what they imagine the main character looks like. Does he have freckles, blue or green eyes? Or perhaps you could ask them to describe what the castle, house, etc looks like in their mind. By being a little inquisitive, we can help our kiddos develop a great imagination!

Connection
This next benefit may not necessarily be academically significant, but it is emotionally valuable. When you ask your child to tell you about what he has read, you are showing interest in what he is doing. As parents, we need to take advantage of every opportunity to connect with our little ones. Being curious about what they have read and asking them to share details is an important means of connecting with your children. Make sure you are not overlooking this bonding activity with your kiddo.

As you can see, story recounting is a profitable endeavor to engage in with your little reader. By having your children retell a story to you, you are helping them with comprehension, fostering their imagination, and building meaningful connections with them.

 

Supporting Comprehension – Reading Essentials #21

supporting-comprehension-RARIn this final installment of our series detailing the 5 fundamental reading skills, we’ll be looking closely at comprehension—the ability to not only read words, but understand their individual meanings and their meanings within the context of a sentence and story. Reading comprehension is, perhaps, the pinnacle of all reading skills. After all, what’s the point of being able to read words if you don’t understand them, right?

Some children can demonstrate an understanding of phonics/phonemic awareness, read basic sentences fluently, identify many written words by sight, and still not understand what they are reading. Some children can even successfully “read” an entire book out loud, but if asked to describe what the book is about, they’re not able to give an accurate answer. That is why comprehension in and of itself is an important component of reading instruction.

Here are a few activities you can use to support your child’s comprehension:

  • Preview the book or story before you read, looking at the title, pictures, and topic.
  • Make predictions about what might happen in the story.
  • Provide background knowledge: Comprehension can be impeded by a lack of “background knowledge.” For example, if a child is given a book about the Erie Canal, but does not know what a canal is, she will have difficulty understanding what the book will be about. If your child encounters a book about a possibly unfamiliar subject, take the time to help her gain some background knowledge about the subject before reading the book.
  • Ask questions during reading: Asking your child questions during the reading process will give her practice with synthesizing information and focusing on comprehension.
  • Encourage your child to form a mental picture during reading, like a movie playing in her head.

As your child becomes proficient in writing, you can also encourage him to write brief plot summaries of the books he reads in order to solidify his understanding of the text.

Education.com has a wealth of other activities designed to enhance reading comprehension, so be sure to check them out as well! Do you have other ideas for helping readers increase their comprehension? Please share them in the comments section!

How to Build Comprehension Skills at Home – Reading Essentials Series #5

How to Build Reading Comprehension at HomeWhew! Your child can finally read those library books on her own. Your job helping with reading is finished, right? Not so fast! Many parents fall into the trap of thinking they no longer have to participate once their child learns how to read.

Your child may know how to sound out words now, but that doesn’t make her a proficient reader yet. The purpose of learning to read is to be able to understand what it is you’re reading. Children can read an entire book and then not have a clue about the storyline or information when they are finished.

As your child becomes more comfortable with books that have longer story lines and more characters, your job now is to ask questions that will foster his developing comprehension skills. You can ask your child to pause from time to time while reading to examine his understanding of a story with questions such as:

What do you think will happen next?
Asking children to guess what might happen in a story gives them practice with making predictions. Research indicates that making predictions can be an important aid to overall comprehension, as readers draw upon their understanding of plot and character to guess what might happen next.

How do you think the character is feeling?
Often books will give clues about how a character is feeling without explicitly stating it. For example, a writer might say, “The children all laughed, and Martha hung her head,” rather than, “The children made fun of Martha and Martha felt sad.” In the first sentence, a reader would have to infer that “Martha felt sad” based on an understanding of the situation. Making inferences can therefore be an additional tool in supporting comprehension.

Does that remind you of anything that ever happened to you, or another book you read, or anything else you know?
Making connections can be an additional component in overall comprehension. A child might make a connection between the current book being read and another book. This is often called a text to text connection. An example would be if you were reading a book about a carnival with your child, and the book reminded your child of a different book, perhaps about the circus.

Another type of connection is called text to self, when a reader makes a connection between a book and something that happened to him or her personally. So continuing with the example- the book about a carnival might remind your child of when he/she went to the circus.

A third type of connection is called text to world. An example of this would be if your child connected the book about the carnival to something he/she had once heard about carnivals and what they were like.

Can you picture what is happening in your head?
Visualizing, or making a mental picture of the characters, setting, and action in a story are great ways to improve comprehension of text. It’s like watching a movie in your head while you read. This also personalizes your child’s interaction with the text, making it more memorable and meaningful.

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Making predictions, making inferences, making connections, and visualizing are all important comprehension skills. Asking simple questions such as the ones suggested above can offer your child practice with these skills in the enjoyable context of your daily reading routine. Click here for more ways to improve reading comprehension.