Breaking down comprehension

Have you ever had a student that can read almost any word put in front of them but isn't able to understand what they read? Check out these ideas for working with kiddos that need extra help with understanding what they read.

 We know the beginning of reading is connected to deciphering the letters, sounds, and words otherwise known as decoding or word attack skills. Grasping the entire reading process, we know it also means understanding the message that is being conveyed in the text. This can be the most difficult piece of the reading process for some.  Just as word attack skills begin with phonemes and letters, comprehension needs to be broken down and taught piece by piece to help students make the connection to the message in the text being read.

I like to start all the way back at picture comprehension. I start with pictures kids will enjoy and identify with such as pictures about birthdays, preferred activities, and even pictures about things I know they would like to do. I want the students to connect with the pictures and even connect them with experiences they have had.
Here is a picture from my new freebie in my store.

In a picture like this, I want to have the student tell me what they see. How much detail can they give me? Can they share what may be happening before or after this picture was taken? Questions I often use that can help ellicit information are:

  • Who is in the picture?
  • What are they doing?
  • Where do you think they are?
  • What do you think is going to happen next?

Once students can grasp what is taking place in the pictures, I transition to pictures with one easy to read sentence.
With a sentence such as this one attached, I have the sentence read. Then I can ask more detailed questions such as:

  • Who is kicking the ball?
  • What is the boy in orange doing?
  • Where do you think the ball is going after it is kicked?
The purpose is using materials such as these is to be able to discuss the background of the picture, the actions of what they see and the message the picture is bringing to the reader. 

Here is a FREE resource packet from my TpT store that I have used to work on picture and sentence comprehension. Check it out. 

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