SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Four Simple Strategies To Build Reading Comprehension

Posted by on
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 2858
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

Strategies to build reading comprehension

Young readers need to acquire good comprehension skills. In order to do this, they need strategies that help them fully understand what they read.

Here are four simple strategies to help your young reader understand and appreciate stories.

  • Build on prior knowledge
  • Attempt to sound out words (decoding)
  • Make predictions
  • Visualize what is happening in the story

Prior knowledge involves helping a child recall what she has seen or heard. When reading a story about zoo animals, for example, a child should know that zebras have stripes and elephants have trunks.

Sounding out words starts with practicing consonant and vowel sounds. Then help her blend letter sounds, from left to right, to make words.

Making predictions is guessing or inferring what might happen next. For example, if someone left the cage at the zoo open, what might the animal do? What might happen next?
Visualizing helps readers make mental pictures of what they are reading. These visualizations make the reading more personal and easier to remember.

As a parent, you can support these four strategies many ways. Here are some examples:

  • Give her opportunities to build prior knowledge. Visit a farm, pick strawberries, go to the beach or lake, cook together, plant a garden, visit your library, go on nature walks together, etc. Then talk about what you saw and how the day went.
  • Help her practice consonant and vowel sounds, then help her blend those sounds to make words. Have a “word of the week” at your house. Help her practice saying and spelling it.  Talk about what it means. When she can easily say and spell it, let her write it on an index card and hang it in his room to create a “word wall.”
  • Ask questions, such as “What do you think will happen next?” Or, “Why do you think that happened?” when reading stories together.
  • Play a visualization game. “I spy something that is little, flies, makes a buzzing sound and can sting. What do you think it is?” Have her lead the “I spy” and give you clues!

Good readers read much and often! Combining these strategies, with many opportunities to read, helps your child make connections to stories…and these connections increase reading comprehension and enjoyment.

Add comment...


Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?