Comprehension is the ability to understand and interpret what has been read. A key component of comprehension is possessing adequate vocabulary or knowing the meanings of many words. Kids who have strong comprehension skills are able to readily come to conclusions about what they have read. Comprehension involves a combination of reading, thinking, and reasoning. Therefore, in order for kids to truly comprehend a story, they need have strong reading skills and the ability to make connections between what they know and what they have read.
There are some hints that parents can use to know whether or not their kids comprehend stories that they are reading. Some telltale signs that your child comprehends what they have read include:
- He or she is able to tell you what happened in a story. They can explain, in detail, why the events of the story occurred as they did.
- He or she sees links in events from other books or from real life events.
- He or she is able to summarize the book or passages from the book.
- He or she can explain the thoughts or feelings that characters in the story may have been feeling.
- He or she is able to pinpoint key facts from the story.
- He or she can describe a “picture” or “visual” of what is going on within the story and what characters look like.
Some things that parents can do to help their kids increase their comprehension skills include the following:
- Help their kids connect their experiences in life, a movie, or another book they have read, to the story they just read.
- They can read with their kids on a regular basis.
- Discuss meanings of unknown or unfamiliar words.
- Discuss what their kids have learned from the story.
- Ask questions about what has been read and about characters in the story.
The Latino Literacy Project offers webinars and seminars that help parents improve their kids literacy and comprehension skills. Additionally, Lectura Books has a variety of bilingual books that parents can read with their kids. Many English Language Learner (ELL) students and parents might not comprehend certain things from cultures other than their own, so having access to bilingual books that represent their culture and lifestyle helps parents asses and improve their kids’ comprehension skills.