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Supporting Information: Reading Comprehension

Please be aware that when we read with your child in school, we are focusing on their comprehension skills as well as their ability to read the words in the book.  


At the moment you are limited to the books you can read as your child is not bringing books home from school.  The ebooks are fantastic and so are all of the story books that you have at home.  It is so important that they are listening to you reading to them.  Share a book, discuss the story, ask questions and build their comprehension skills. 


Have fun reading all the books, poems, comics, etc you have available and talking about what you have read.  

What is Comprehension?

Reading comprehension is the ability to read a text and understand its meaning.


The National Curriculum divides reading up into two closely linked skills:

Word reading and Comprehension.


Word reading is the name given to recognising the words on the page or screen. In English primary schools, phonics is often used to help children with this part of reading.

But this is only half of the story – to make sense of what they’re reading, a child needs to be able to understand the words. This is called comprehension.


Visit the link below for more information on Comprehension Skills.  

There are videos and leaflets to read.

Help Your Child Become a Better Reader by Asking Questions About The Book You Are Reading


Below are more questions you could use to develop your child's comprehension skills.  



Reading Prompts for Parents



“When you ask questions during story time, it really helps children learn to be active readers and to think critically,” says Tammy Milby, Ph.D., director of reading in the Department of Education at the University of Richmond. 


Ask these questions before, during, and after a story to encourage your young learner to think about the text in a more in-depth way (it’s OK if they can’t read by themselves yet).  Reading comprehension strategies help your child develop problem-solving abilities, memory strength, and much more. 


Below are some questions you could use to develop your child's comprehension skills.  


Before You Read

1. What do you think might happen in this story?

Jumpstart your child’s creativity and attention to detail! “This question helps children notice and think about clues from the title and illustrations,” says Milby. Try to keep your questions open-ended (Ask, "What do you think this story is about?" rather than, “Do you think this story is about a superhero?”). “Open-ended questions facilitate conversation and vocabulary building by giving the child the chance to formulate a full response,” adds Milby.


While You Read

2. What word do you think should come next?

Every so often, cover a word in a sentence and ask this question.  


3. What was that character’s name again?

Simple recall questions help you gauge your child’s reading comprehension, says DiNapoli.  It’s common for a child to skim past words or names they’re not familiar with, but remembering these basic facts helps them to better answer more complex comprehension questions later on, and boosts attention and memory skills. If necessary, flip back through the pages to find the answer together.


4. Which words do you think best describe this character?

When your child thinks about a character’s traits, they may begin to decide if they would make the same decisions as that character. It also encourages them to consider the relationships between characters. 


5. Does anything in this book seem familiar to you?

You could also phrase this question as: “Can you make a connection between what’s happening in this book and something in your own life?” “We want kids to make these powerful connections to their world because it helps them to better understand what’s happening around them,” says Milby. For instance, if you’re reading a book about animals playing in the snow, your child may point out how it was snowing when he visited Grandma upstate last week, or how he’s learning about the water cycle and weather patterns in school.


6. How might this story be different if it was told from another character’s point of view?

This question encourages your child’s reasoning skills.  “The author made a decision by telling the story from a certain point of view, but if you tell it from another character’s point of view, the plot might change.”


7. Can you make up a different ending to this story?

Your child will need to reflect on the story to answer this question, and will also need to think comprehensively about the various routes the plot could have taken.