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Reading comprehension - what should we be doing?

(17 Posts)
RueDeWakening Fri 23-Nov-12 23:35:37

Thanks all, sounds like we should just chill out a bit grin. The problem mostly comes through her being able to read (technically) stuff that she's not mature enough to understand/cope with emotionally yet - I don't want to stop her reading stuff she's interested in, but it's not much good if it goes straight over her head!

Will just carry on with what we're doing and see what happens, thanks.

Tgger Fri 23-Nov-12 22:35:39

Hi there. My DS is same age and very good reader. Tbh I don't think you have to do any "added on comprehension" at this age. Well, only if it comes naturally as your interest in the book. If you find stories and books the child can engage with then hopefully the comprehension should follow naturally. With DS he generally follows what he is reading, but if it is something quite advanced and the concept is tricky I find myself helping him along as he is reading- not with the words but with what is going on to make sure he knows grin.

I think quite a lot of the comprehension skills come with maturity, probably easier at 7/8 than 5/6. Not to say you shouldn't be encouraging them but to me it seems rather stale/inappropriate to do anything that doesn't flow from the joy of reading the book.

birthdaypanic Fri 23-Nov-12 21:21:02

Manictigger no I am not concerned that the children will be put off reading, my school follows a literacy programme that includes phonics and reading and the basis for reading is that children only take home books that they can read easily using only sounds that they are learning at the time, this means the children are not struggling, the parents are not reponsible for teaching the children to read. As a school we spent a lot of time explaining the new scheme to parents and explaining the children would be bringing home books that they can read easily and this would build confidence. I can honestly say that after a few concerns raised by parents which as a school we were able to reassure - we have not received any negative comments. It also ensures that children who are not listened to at home can read to themselves, brothers and sisters, pets, dolls/teddys etc.

anice Fri 23-Nov-12 14:20:33

Ok, some ideas about what you can talk to her about...

before she reads ask her to point to the title (and the blurb if it exists). Look at the picture on the front cover and ask her what she thinks about it.

Whilst reading ask her to discuss the pictures with you. Who is who (from the story) and what are they doing? Ask questions like "what do you think will happen next?" and "Why did the character do that/ say that/ feel that?".

After the book is finished, asked if she liked it and what she liked about it/ didn't like about it.

I am not a teacher, only a parent helper, but this is what I've picked up from watching the professionals do it.

learnandsay Fri 23-Nov-12 13:44:45

get as much book read as possible grin

Startail Fri 23-Nov-12 13:39:02

The problem is, it's the law your DC must read to their parents every night.

It becomes a chore.

DD1 chattered, fussed and avoided until she and I just have up.

DD2, who is fantastically good reader, just wanted to read as fast as possible, so she could get a new book.

She would wizz through and I'd suddenly realise she'd skipped a line. She didn't notice. She wasn't following the story.

Her sole aim was to get as much book read as possible, in as little CBeebies/CBBC time as possible.

For her comprehension skills came later as she learnt to slow down and put expression into what she read.

The absolute opposite of DD1, who understood first, and is still at 14, learning to actually decode every word.

Both got L5 English SATs, but by utterly different routes.

Manictigger Fri 23-Nov-12 12:06:20

Sorry Rue, that wasn't very constructive. I agree with Learnandsay, can your child understand stories when you read them to her i.e. when she isn't having to concentrate on two different skills at the same time? I don't tend to ask dd questions about her reading book because I think our time is better spent with her reading other home books to me and me reading more complicated books to her. If she doesn't understand something in a book I am reading to her, she just asks what it means and I think she is learning that way. I can't see the point in just asking children to regurgitate words they have seen in a book. Surely that is just a test of memory not understanding?

Manictigger Fri 23-Nov-12 11:22:49

Birthdaypanic, are you not worried that by keeping children on a lower book level than they need, you may risk turning them off reading? And as for no parents complaining, I suggest you read the other thread by blueschool. Parents may say nothing but they are likely to vent on an internet forum and simply ignore what you are doing and source their own reading books.

learnandsay Fri 23-Nov-12 10:03:23

Their comprehension is nil? I can't understand what that means.

If you wrote the cat is on the mat and asked them where is the cat? Would they reply I don't know?

And when the bears returned Father Bear said who's been eating my porridge? And when you ask them where is Father Bear's porridge do they reply I don't know?

Is their comprehension equally poor when you read a story to them? It's possible that the poor children are concentrating so hard on pronouncing all the words correctly that they're not thinking about the plot at all. Of course having read the story a few times they'll soon get used to the words and won't need to concentrate so much. I'd much rather that my daughter had harder books for longer periods than books which were too easy for her.

Startail Thu 22-Nov-12 23:56:56

Talk about what she is reading. Guess what happens next. why a character is happy, sad. Just talk.

Dyslexic DD1 is fantastic at comprehensions, because she talked and talked and talked about anything vaguely related to the story so as to avoid having to read the next bit.

The amount of talk she could get out of fiction or non fiction books was utterly amazing.

Actually DD1 doesn't stop talking about life the univers and everything, Ever.
To this day, she's 14, I think she reads far more my being very good at getting meaning from text than getting individual words right.

Out loud she reads far worse than DD2 could at 9, but gets a reading age of 16 in the SENCO's comprehension. (Her spelling age is still 9 and I suspect, like mine it always will be sad)

RueDeWakening Thu 22-Nov-12 23:45:35

Birthday that's just it - she can decode and read pretty much any word you put in front of her, and her expression is really good. But if you ask her what it's a different story. School do not seem remotely bothered by this! I'd rather do a bit at home with her to eradicate the mismatch now than have it become a problem further down the line.

She also seems to believe that referring back to the text to answer a question is somehow "cheating" - not sure where that's come from, but it does make things more difficult than they need to be sometimes!

Thanks for the suggestions, they're really helpful.

birthdaypanic Thu 22-Nov-12 23:43:15

Sorry posted too soon wanted to add don't make a big issue of it couple of questions at end of book or part way through it is important that reading is enjoyable it is so easy to put young children off.

amateurmum Thu 22-Nov-12 23:40:57

One thing that even better readers can struggle with is finding evidence in a text to answer a question.
e.g. Find the exact words to show me how a characters is feeling, what something looks like etc ...
If you really want to stretch her, you could ask her to infer meaning from the text ... Why do you think he did that?
Or you could focus on writing devices ... Why do you think the writer put that in capital letters? ... Why do you think the writer chose that particular word? ....

Having said all that, these are questions I would be working on with my class at school. At home, I am delighted if DCs just 'enjoy the stories'!

birthdaypanic Thu 22-Nov-12 23:40:55

I teach Y1 and I think basic comprehension is important, in Y2 there is a comprehension SAT paper, so I think the sooner they are asked questions the better.
They should be able to tell what the story is about, if possible to be able to predict what they think is going to happen this is not always possible with some reading books, able to answer questions where the answer is not in the text but is inferred.
I have children in my class who are fluent readers can read anything given to them but their comprehension is nil so I will keep them on easier books to improve comprehension as yet I have not had a parent who is unhappy with this.

cece Thu 22-Nov-12 23:38:56

I agree with mrsruffallo

mrsruffallo Thu 22-Nov-12 23:36:59

What exactly are you looking for? The school have informed you that she is doing well and at age 5 or 6 I think it's enough to ask questions after she has read her book to make sure that she has understood it.
Bit young for lots of homework.

RueDeWakening Thu 22-Nov-12 23:32:53


Can anyone point me towards any resources I could have a look at re reading comprehension and how to work on it? DD is in y1, reads very well (gold/white level I think) but we get no info from her teachers about what we should be doing with the home readers. I've tried asking, but got fobbed off with a "well she's so far ahead, she's fine just reading the stories" hmm

I'm rather clueless about reading comprehension and what school are looking for, other than an ability to re-tell the story, which she can do. Any pointers gratefully received!

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