What is Comprehension?
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 4th and 5th grades, readers lift information from the text to support their explanations and inferences. Using a variety of texts, they are able to determine themes, summarize content, consider different perspectives, and compare and contrast various story elements with detail. They understand that word choice can affect the tone of a piece and are able to notice and compare the text structures used in a variety of texts such as poems, drama, and prose. Readers make connections and analyze how multimedia or visual elements contribute to the written text and will begin to compare/contrast literary elements and themes from different cultures and genres.
What Does it Look Like?
Is your 4th grader building knowledge from reading?
Does your 4th grader understand what he is reading?
Is your 5th grader building knowledge from reading?
Does your 5th grader understand what he is reading?
Exploring Poetry: Read short, simple poems together. Discuss what they are about and the feelings they convey. Create your own poems together and share. Providing notebooks, journals, or stapled paper allows children to keep a collection of their writings to reread and share with others.
Family Book Club: Encourage different family members to pick the book. Discuss the main ideas, plots, characters, and personal opinions about the book together. This is a great way to enjoy quality family time while experiencing the joy of reading together.
Two Texts, Different Authors: Read two or more texts about the same topic or event. Discuss how the content, author’s perspective, or approach to the text are similar and different.
Prior Knowledge: Have a discussion with the child to learn what they already know about the topic before reading nonfiction. Ask the child if there are any questions about the topic they hope to find answers to as they read the book. Talk about answers that were found in the book after reading.
Check-ins: Stop every few pages to “check-in" while the child is reading or as you are reading together. This is one way to know if the child is understanding what is being read or heard. Use open-ended questions to gauge their understanding (e.g., “What are your thoughts about this part of the story?”, “How do you know?”, “What do you think might happen next?”). You can vary how frequently you check-in based on how well your child is understanding the text. For more challenging texts, check-in more frequently.
Order Up: Have the child sequence (put in order) the events of the story to better understand what is happening when reading both fiction and nonfiction texts.
Read Between the Lines: Help your child learn how to infer meaning from what is not said in the text. When a character has a major event, ask your child to think about how the character might feel or what their next steps might be based on what he/she has already done in the story.
Dear Character: Ask the child to write a letter to the main character in the text. Have the child write about their favorite part of the book and include questions they have after reading.
Practice Activities (with Printables)
If you don't have a printer, your child's school will print these for you.
Text Feature: Find Identity, locate, and explore various features of texts (e.g., table of contents, diagrams, glossary). Text Feature
Super Summary: Identify main ideas using a graphic organizer and write a summary with the child. A graphic organizer provides structure for children to write a summary based on the main ideas of the text. Super Summary
Write Cause or Effect: Explore cause and effect by playing a completion game using the provided cards. Read the "cause" on each card. Take turns or work together to complete the "effect" section. Write Cause or Effect
Text Structure Sort: Sort the passages into text structure categories (e.g., cause and effect, problem and solution, sequence) using the provided cards. Text Structure Sort
Character Consideration: Work together with the child to describe a character using a graphic organizer. Character Consideration
Story Pieces: Discuss story elements with the child (e.g., characters, setting, plot, problem, solution) by using a graphic organizer or question cards. Story Pieces
Make Reading Connections: This game provides practice making mental connections between the text and things the reader already knows (e.g., text-to-text, text-to-world, text-to-self).
Question Cube: This game provides a short story to read. Click the question cube and answer the question based on the story.
Detective's Notebook: The game is designed to get students thinking about what they are reading and answering questions that require inferencing.
Main Idea Millionaire: This game has players find the sentence that does not fit with the main idea of the paragraph.
Cannonball Cats: This game has players use a circus cannon to shoot cats through the correct figurative language fire ring.
Sir Readalot: This game has players smash boxes to find a key that will unlock the treasure box while practicing skills around fact and opinion, drawing conclusions, context clues, and syllables.
Author’s Purpose: This game provides practice identifying the author’s purpose after reading a brief passage. Is it to entertain, inform, or persuade?