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Reading comprehension is a crucial component of academic tasks, and is often targeted in school as young as in Kindergarten. Here are some tips for improving your child’s reading comprehension skills during book reading!

#1: Teach (and ask) “WH” questions

While reading with your child, pause during different points of the story to check your child’s understanding by asking “Wh” questions. Those include who, what, where, when, why, and how. Take note of which types of questions your child struggles to answer more than others. You can help teach them what that type of question means by explaining it in simple terms (for example, “who means the person“). Giving examples can also be helpful, as can visual cues. Try pointing to a picture that shows the answer (like the scene in the book if your child is trying to answer a “where” question).

#2: Story retell

Another great way to work on reading comprehension skills is to ask your child to retell parts of a story back to you. That way, you can check their understanding and see if they’ve been listening and comprehending the plot and details. Consider pausing after a page or two to do this. Or, ask your child to retell you a story by only looking at the pictures (not reading), after you’ve read the whole thing together.

#3: Encourage predictions

Talk aloud about what you predict will happen next during a story, and encourage your child to do the same! Hearing what they say could be a good indicator of whether or not they have been following the story up to this point. Inferencing skills require your child to base what they think will happen off of what has already happened in the book. Provide your child with some choices to help him or her make plausible predictions. For example, “do you think the boy will keep looking for his dog next or go home?”. Pausing during stories to make these predictions also keeps reading fun, because it helps your child truly join in the story and take the characters’ points of view to make guesses about what’s coming up next!

Amy Yacoub, MS, CCC-SLP | Speech Pathologist

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