5 Ways to Improve Comprehension Skills This Summer

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.

5 Ways to Improve Comprehension Skills This Summer

  1. Do recreational reading this summer. Focus on getting reading materials that interest each child. So often in school, kids must read what is assigned. Let the kids choose their reading materials
  2. Spend time with your kids asking them basic questions about what they are reading. Some questions you might ask are:
    a) Who is in the story?
    b) Who do they like best in the story they are reading and why?
    c) Where is the story taking place?
    d) What is happening in the part of the story they just read?
    e) When is the story happening?
  3. Let the kids express what was in their story by drawing on paper, painting a picture, or drawing on a driveway or sidewalk. 
  4. Read stories together with your kids and then discuss them.
  5. If your kids are too young to read yet, start with pictures in a book and ask them who, what, when, and where questions about what they see in the pictures. 
Comprehending what is read 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.

Picture Comprehension

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 a 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 elicit 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?

Transitioning from pictures to print

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 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 are a few resources from the store to help with comprehension. Click each picture
to visit the store.

Take care and keep reading!


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