Are you trying to get your child to comprehend the story? But you are having little success!

Whether you or your child are reading the story, children can comprehend the story. You can start whereever you are in the process and begin to teach your child to think about the story. If you are just starting, now is the perfect time to begin. If you start at the beginning, you are giving your child the foundation they need to always be thinking about the story. But if you have been teaching your child phonics and now you are realizing that they are looking carefully at the text, but they are not thinking about the story, it’s NOT too late. You can use these steps to get them to think about the story and build their skills for understanding.

Steps to teach comprehension

1. Laugh

You need to laugh at the funny parts in the books. This teaches children to think about the story and that books should be enjoyed. But this also means to have other expressions. If it’s sad, make a sad noise or voice such as “OH” with a sad tone in your voice. If it’s scary, act scared. All your noises and voices teach your child to think about the story. And it is especially important to do this while your child is trying to read a book to you, because when they are reading they get bogged down with working so hard at looking at the print and trying to figure it out that they forget to think about the story. So, to help them remember while they are reading to think about the story, you laugh at a funny part or say “Oh no” if something bad happens. When you do this it gets them thinking about the story again and they can get through it easier with understanding of the story.

2. Ask Questions

If they try a word when they come to a tricky word, ask… “Does that make sense?” But do not forget… Warning here… You have to teach them what “make sense” means. Make sense means that when they try a word for the tricky word, the word they tried makes sense in the story. Example: If they say “boy” and there is a “girl” in the story, that does NOT make sense. If they say “jumping” and the character is “lying” on the ground, then that does NOT make sense in the story. So, you should teach them what makes sense means by first telling them. You say, when they tried something that makes sense… “That makes sense in this story, because there is a boy in the story.” Or “That does NOT make sense, because I do not see a lion in the picture. When we try something it has to make sense.” Next you teach them by asking questions after they have tried something for the tricky word and letting them decide if it makes sense. Now you are lowering your support and causing them to think about the story. Questions to ask… “Does that make sense in the story?” or “Are you right? How do you know?”

3. Introduce the Story

Before your child reads the book, introduce the story. When you introduce the story, it should be short no more than 3 sentences, include any important characters’ names and should give the gist of the story. Example: Billy can’t count. So, Jack is going to teach Billy to count while they are setting the table. (Title: Billy Can Count, Rigby PM leveled book) By introducing EVERY book to your little reader, you are teaching them that the meaning of the story is important and you are giving them the meaning to help them read the story.

4. Question before they read

As your kid becomes more proficient such as level 14 or 16 (end of 1st grade level), you will want to add a new challenge to get them thinking about the story. After introducing the story, ask them “What do you think will happen in the story?” Or Do not introduce the story, instead let them look at the pictures on the front cover and read the title of the story, then let them answer the question based on the picture and title. When they finish the story, ask them “Were you right?” “Tell me why you were right or not right.”

Books leaning

By adding these activities, you are developing a child who thinks about and understands the story.

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