Comprehension for 1st Grade

What is Comprehension?

Woman helping a child with homework.

Reading comprehension refers to the ability to understand what one reads. It is the ultimate goal of reading instruction. (Definition from University of Oregon)

In 1st grade, readers can demonstrate a variety of comprehension skills including making predictions, retelling a story, and answering questions related to the story. They are also able to identify fiction from nonfiction texts and share their background knowledge of a topic prior to reading.

What Does it Look Like?

Learn how to actively read with children.

Practice Activities

Think Aloud: Make connections while reading to or with the child. Connect the story or information to the child's life experiences. Connect the book to other books the child has read. Connect the book to big ideas and lessons. See a Think Aloud example.

Check for Understanding: Ask questions to determine the child's understanding of the story or information read. Questions can be asked during reading and/or after reading. Watch Check for Understanding.

Story Charades: Act out a story silently to retell it in a creative way. Have the child guess which story you are acting out. Take turns acting out and guessing.

Comprehension Ball: Write comprehension elements (e.g., central message, lesson, characters, problem, solution) on a ball. Toss the ball to the child. The child describes the story element their right pointer finger (or other designated hand/finger) touches based on a book recently read.

Practice Activities (with Printables)

If you don't have a printer, your child's school will print these for you.

Retell Wheel for a Story: Support the child in retelling a story by using the questions provided on a retell wheel.  Retell Wheel for a Story

Retell Wheel for Summarizing Information: Support the child in summarizing information learning from reading by completing sections of the retell wheel.  Retell Wheel for Summarizing Information

Character Compare: Identify similarities and differences between characters by listing shared and unique characteristics.  Character Compare

Picture the Character: Use a graphic organizer to describe characters from a recently read story.  Picture the Character

Story Question Cube: Use a dice-like cube with questions on each side to review elements of a recently read story.  Roll the cube and answer discuss the question on top.  Story Question Cube

Online Activities

Storyline Online: This resource provides access to many illustrated read alouds narrated by famous individuals. Use the ABCs of Reading (ask questions, build vocabulary, and connect to the child's world) as you listen to the story with your child.

ABCs of Reading: This resource provides access to videos and explains the ABCs of Reading (ask questions, build vocabulary, and connect to the child's world.).

Interactive Read Alouds: This video provides information on interactive read alouds, including asking intentional questions, writing prompts, and drawing prompts.

When You Read to Me: This video shows a caregiver listening to a child read a book and asking questions to support oral language, vocabulary, and comprehension.

Story Elements: This Classroom Connect lesson teaches children how to identify story elements.  Access an extension activity here.