Asking your child questions about what they have read not only keeps them engaged and interested, but helps them draw on their memory to recall words, phrases and concepts, and to understand these in the context of the story.
There are many types of questions that you can ask your child to help them with their comprehension, but two common types to ask include:
- Literal comprehension – This is where the answer is ‘right there’ in the text, for example, ‘what was Sammy’s brother called?’
- Inferential comprehension – These types of questions are a bit trickier as the answer isn’t as obvious, forcing your child to draw conclusions based on what they have read, for example, ‘why do you think Mae was angry with her friend?’ or ‘What do you think Mrs Lam will do now?’
But before you start reading, it’s often a good idea to help your child preview a story. Flick through the pages – allowing them to get a feel for the layout, illustrations and structure. Point out any headings or unfamiliar words that may crop up and discuss the type of text and determine its purpose. Can your child connect the text with something they already know about? Perhaps even ask your child to look at the cover and try and predict what they think the story is about.
Once you have progressed through some of the story, don’t be afraid to ask your child questions about the story, and perhaps what they think will happen next. This may be after something significant has happened, at the end of a chapter or after a difficult piece of text.
Once they have finished reading the story, ask your child what happened, who the characters were, and how they feel about the story. Such questions will allow your child to make connections between different concepts and phrases, as well as help them form their own opinion – keeping them engaged and building comprehension skills.
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