A couple of weeks in to the new school year and we are starting to get back into the swing of after school reading routines. At our school preps don’t receive a reader until term two, allowing them the first term to just focus on settling into school, making friends and getting used to five long days away from home.
Our eldest son loves reading and is an independent reader. I have him read sections of his novels to me so that I can obtain an understanding of what he is reading and can check that he is comprehending what he reads.
Our second son who is in junior primary (grade two), requires an adult to listen to (and assist where required) with his nightly reading. When busy with the after school activities, cooking dinner and caring for small children, it is easy to listen to the reading and move on quickly. I have found though, that it is really important to take an extra few minutes after the reading to discuss what has just been read. At this stage of reading, when they are concentrating on decoding the words and reading with expression, it is also critical to check that have comprehended what they have read.
It is possible for children to successfully read the text without taking in what is actually happening or understanding the story. Inspired by our son’s wonderful teacher last year, I have created a list of questions that I draw from to determine he has comprehended what he has read.
I don’t ask all of these questions each night, just a few at a time based on the text he is reading. How many questions exactly depends on how he answers. It generally only takes a couple of minutes to ask a few questions and have a discussion to assess his comprehension of the story. If it appears as if he hasn’t understood what he has read, we go back and read the text together.
I have listed the questions below. These questions apply to fictional text:
10 Reading Comprehension Questions For Junior Primary
- Who was the author and illustrator of the book?
- Who were the main characters in the story?
- Who was your favourite character and why?
- How did the story start?
- What happened in the middle of the story?
- What happened at the end of the story?
- What was the main feeling in the story (eg was it happy, sad) and why was this so?
- Where was the story set?
- How did the story make you feel and why?
- Did you learn any new words from this story, if so what?
How do you check that your young reader understands his/her text?