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This month’s feature...Comprehension

Reading is thinking. How many of us read just to show that we know how to read words on a page? I would guess none. Reading opens up new worlds to us, but children need guidance in how to access the meanings of texts. Learning strategies for comprehension should begin even before children learn to read and continue throughout their school experience. Comprehension is much more than being able to answer a few questions at the end, or stating what you like or dislike about a text. Comprehension begins even before a child has opened a book’s cover, and continues throughout the reading as well as after the last page has been read. The following are a few strategies and questions to keep in mind for your child as you guide and support her deepening comprehension.



  1. Activate prior knowledge – What do I already know about this topic? Have I ever heard of _____ ? Have I read other books on this topic/genre or by this author?
  2. Predict – What do I think this book will be about? What do i think will happen next? (always go back and confirm or revise predictions after reading)



  1. Visualize – Make a “mind movie” of what is happening, or draw illustrations of what the text makes me think of
  2. Predict – What do I think will happen next? What do I think the outcome will be?
  3. Question – Ask clarifying questions such as: Why did the character (or author) choose to do that?  Why is this important? What are the key words? How does the (map, chart, graph, etc.) differ from others in this chapter? What is the problem?
  4. Connect – Does this remind me of anything in my life? In other books I’ve read? About what I know of the world?
  5. Monitor – Does what I just read make sense? Do I need to reread? Is there unfamiliar vocabulary I need to learn?



  1. Summarize – Tell a family member what the main idea and supporting details are (nonfiction) OR Tell who the characters were, where the story took place, what the problem was, and how the characters solved their problem (fiction).
  2. Reflect – What did I learn? How is this important?
  3. Analyze – Discuss alternate outcomes, character motivation, compare the text to others of similar topic, etc.
  4. Check – Were my predictions correct? Why, or why not?


These are just a start to help your child digest what she reads and deepen her understanding of the world, herself, and others. (See the back for more ideas). Enjoy!


Deb Dunn

Literacy Coordinator, MVPCS