Effective Ways to Check Your Children’s Reading Comprehension

How can you tell if your learners understand what they have read? What can
adults do to help them? Pick up a child’s book to preview it. Check the front flap, pictures, chapter titles and back cover for a summary. Then, if it is a young child ask the reader to summarize the picture book. If it is an older child, ask him/her to summarize the chapter. Can the reader restate the most important parts? Can he/she summarize independently or must the child rely on adult prompting? Is the reader excited about telling you about the text? Does he/she laugh at the appropriate parts? Is the child able to make connections between his/her life, and the characters in the book? Can the child tell you what he/she likes or dislikes most about what the main characters did and explain why?

You can tell if the text is at the reader’s learning level if the child is not
struggling to read most of the words and he shows understanding. Teach your reader, by modeling, how to pause frequently to think about what they just read. Make sure that your child keeps track of who and what the characters are doing, how they are feeling, and why they are behaving a specific way. They should be aware of the setting; where and when the story takes place. If your learner does not remember or is confused, teach him/her to go back and reread the last parts that were read. If it is a non-fiction book, teach the child how to refer to the text features, such as the captions, word boxes, glossary, pictures /photos, and bold words to help them. Have your readers find new words that they learned and jot down the meanings. Have them try to use the new words in sentences. Talk with them about something they learned in the text that they didn’t know before and that they found fascinating.

Familiarize your child with the problem the characters are having, if any. Ask him/her what the solution or resolution was. On a post-it or sticky note, have children jot down questions they might have about something they read, something they thought was funny, scary, surprising, confusing, etc. A younger student can do the same thing by drawing a picture and labeling it; then trying to write a sentence about it.

Children of all ages can draw/write or tell an adult what they predict might
happen next in a fiction book. Have friendly conversations with your reader, as if it was a book club. Never frustrate your child by continuously throwing out question after question. We do not want to turn them off to reading. Instead remember that these discussions will help your child share their knowledge of the text and help them attain a love for reading.

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