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Comprehension Activities

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How to Help Your Child with Comprehension
When good readers read, they think about the story so they will be able to remember the order of events and details about characters, setting, problems, and solutions. In order to fully comprehend a story, readers often make connections to the story, ask questions, make inferences, and visualize details and events.

1. After your child reads or listens to a book, have them start at the beginning and retell the story in order using as many details as they can remember. You can prompt them to help as they get better at this skill: "What happened at the beginning? " "What happened next?" "What happened after he/she __________" "How did the story end?" etc.

2. Use the who? did what? when? where? why? model of retelling a story.

3. As your child reads, ask them to think about and relate their own experiences and knowledge to the story or text that they are reading. They connect the text to their own lives. Stop reading every now and then to allow your child to share with you the connections that he is making. He should say things like, "This part reminds me of ______." Share your own connections, too, as you read with your child.

4. As you read with your child, ask him/her to predict before and during the reading, wonder about why characters do what they do, predict alternate ending or sequels to the story, etc.

5. Help your child practice visualizing, making pictures in their mind of what they are reading. When you notice a particularly descriptive paragraph or passage, describe what you see in your mind as you read. For example: The air was warm and fragrant with the perfume of flowers. There were roses of various colors all across the field. You might say to your child, "I am picturing some red, pink, and white roses covering a huge patch of land that stretches as far as I can see." Ask your child to describe or draw the mental images he has as he reads or listens to a story.

6. Practice inferencing by playing "PROVE IT!" Make up a short story like the examples below. The story should give several hints about what is happening without stating it explicitly. After sharing the story with your child, have them infer what is happening. Then say "Prove it!" and ask them to tell you at least two clues from the story that helped infer what was happening.

A. The little girl stomped to her bedroom, slammed the door, and screamed as loudly as she could.
B. He swung the bat as hard as he could and watched the ball soar toward the stands. He quickly ran around the bases and slid into home plate as the crowd stood and cheered.
C. She put on two pairs of socks, buttoned up her heavy coat, slipped on her mittens, and covered her ears with her hat.
D. Soon the doorbell rang, and each child eagerly ran in holding a special present for Jamie. They played games, ate cake and ice cream, and watched Jamie unwrap her gifts.

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