Comprehension Tips

Comprehension is understanding the words you read.

What Good Readers Do:

  • Good Readers talk about a story or facts learned in a non-fiction book.
  • Good Readers check that their reading makes sense and use different strategies to “fix” their reading if it does not make sense.
  • Good Readers ask questions while reading.
  • Good Readers make a movie or picture in their mind as they read so they can "see" the story.
  • Good Readers bring their background knowledge to the reading experience and relate this to something new they are reading.
  • Good readers think while reading.
  • Good readers determine the big ideas while reading.
  • Good readers can predict, infer, or draw conclusions on what they read.
  • Good readers can synthesize and apply what they read.

Excellent Resource for Parents:

7 Keys to Comprehension by Susan Zimmermann & Chryse Hutchins

Strategies Families Can Use At Home

  • My Reading Check Sheet (Simple Strategies)
  • Draw a picture when reading:
    • Have your child to draw pictures while reading in order to remember better the sequence of events in a story.
  • Leave Tracks: (3 ideas here!)
    • As your child is reading, he/she can use post-a-notes to write a question or comment about the text. If working with photocopied material, the student can use a highlighter to highlight important details (i.e., main idea or key vocabulary words) and write notes in the margins.
    • Lasso and rope’ strategy—use a pencil to circle a vocabulary word and then draw a line that connects that word to its underlined definition.
    • If working from a textbook, the student can cut sticky notes into strips. These strips can be placed in the book as pointers to text of interest. They can also be used as temporary labels—e.g., for writing a vocabulary term and its definition.
  • Read and Pause (Hedin & Conderman, 2010).
    • Have your child read a page and then stop and recall the main points of the reading. If your child has questions or cannot remember, then have your child reread part or all of the section just read. If this proves difficult, then have your child read one paragraph, stop,and recall the main point of that paragraph. Again, if your child has difficulty, have your child read one sentence and recall the sentence.
    • This strategy is useful for students who need to check their understanding as well as those children who benefit from brief breaks when reading longer passages. Reading longer passages builds stamina.