Reading Comprehension Skills Part I

Reading Comprehension Skills Part I

If you can read every word on a​ page, are you really reading? Well, maybe and maybe not!

One definition of​ 'read' is​ "to utter aloud written matter;" if​ using this definition alone, of​ course you are reading. There is​ another definition, though, which says "to understand or​ interpret." After reading the page, if​ you cannot answer questions about the material, you really just called out words. Yes, you must know the words, but you also have to​ understand the author's message. THEN, you are truly reading.

Reading comprehension includes a​ number of​ specific skills. When reading with your children, ask questions that will reinforce these concepts, especially during long absences from school. Here are a​ few:

1. Main Idea - What is​ the most important thing the paragraph, page, chapter, story, article, or​ cartoon is​ about? When students are first learning this skill, the main idea is​ usually found in​ the first sentence; later on, it​ may not be stated at​ all. The detail sentences tell about the main idea.

Example: I went to​ a​ pet shop. it​ had food and toys for all kinds of​ pets. The animal sections had birds, fish, and kittens. I wound up buying some cat litter.

In this example, the first sentence tells the main idea and the rest of​ the sentences tell more about what happened at​ the pet shop.

2. Inferences - to​ infer means "to conclude by reasoning from something known or​ assumed." in​ other words, use your prior knowledge to​ figure out something.

Example: The Eagle has made an​ historic landing. There are craters and rocks as​ far as​ the eye can see. Pretty soon, I will don a​ special suit and be the first man to​ step on the surface.

From these clues, you can infer that a​ man will soon step on the moon. The first man who did that was Neil Armstrong.

3. Predicting Outcomes - if​ you understand what you are reading, you will be able to​ guess what will happen next. Reinforce this skill during commercials when you are watching TV!

Example: I took a​ bath, brushed my teeth, and put on my pajamas. My mother came in​ to​ read me a​ story. When she was finished, she kissed me goodnight.

You can predict that the child will now go to​ sleep.

4. Fact or​ Opinion - a​ fact is​ something you can prove to​ be true, whether or​ not you like it, while an​ opinion is​ what you think or​ believe.

Example: I am in​ the Bank Atlantic Center. Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are going to​ give a​ concert. They are the best singers of​ all!

The first two sentences are facts but the last is​ an​ opinion. Your opinion does not have to​ agree with anyone else's because it​ reflects what YOU think. Clues can be comparison words ending in​ 'er' (ie: prettier) or​ 'est' (ie: happiest), as​ well as​ phrases such as​ 'of all' or​ 'in the whole world.'

To review, then, along with knowing words, you must be able to​ interpret their meaning in​ order to​ read. Some specific skills that help in​ comprehension are main idea, inferences, predicting outcomes, and fact or​ opinion. in​ a​ future article, I will write about other reading-comprehension skills.

I hope these examples are useful and inspire your own creative thinking.

And remember...Reading is​ FUNdamental!

Reading Comprehension Skills Part I

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