The main goal of teaching your kids reading is to ultimately help them understand the text. Good readers are better at making sense of what they read.
According to Sadoski (2004), there are different levels of comprehension:
- Literal– direct meaning (e.g. the first little pig built a house of straw)
- Inferential– understanding what the story meant (e.g. why didn’t the pig allow the wolf in?)
- Critical– evaluating the story (e.g. is this story real?)
- Application-using knowledge gained from the story to solve problems (e.g. what do you think will happen next?)
- Appreciation (e.g. which was your favorite character in the story?)
Here are four strategies to help your child practice comprehending texts:
1. Ask questions
You can follow the acronym CROWD as prompts when reading a book:
Completion prompts – invite children to complete the sentence when reading (e.g. He huffed and he puffed and he ___________.)
Recall prompts – ask direct questions relating to the story (e.g. Who was in the house?)
Open-ended prompts – ask questions relating to the picture (e.g. How do you think the pigs felt?)
What, where, when and why questions prompt
Distancing prompts – relate the story to the children’s experiences (e.g have you ever seen a wolf?)
2. Summarize and retell
Another great way is to encourage your child to retell the story. This can be done orally, written, or through role-play.
3. Matching words to pictures
For children are beginning to decode words, you can begin with words that can be illustrated for them to decode and let them match the words to pictures (e.g. cat, van, mop)
4. Acting out the words
You can also choose words and sentences where they can act it out. (e.g. Hop like a frog, how do dogs bark?)
Now that you have read through my guide, I would like to reach out to you, the concerned parent. I know how much you want your child to succeed and thrive, which is why you took the time to read this whole series.
I want you to never lose sight of the real goal of teaching your kids how to read. It is ultimately to make your child a lifelong reader. And what will drive your child to keep on reading is not whether he or she learns how to read at five or six. Rather, it is their love for reading.
So take your time. There is no need to rush. Your job now is to spend their early years, cultivating the love of reading first, while building on their foundational reading skills. So have fun and enjoy the process.
Dialogic Reading: An Effective Way to Read Aloud with Young Children from ReadingRockets
Phonics From A to Z- A Practical Guide by Wiley Blevins
Reading rockets from http://www.readingrockets.org
Sadoski, M. (2004). Conceptual foundations of teaching reading. New York: The
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