Getting Back to the Basics with Reading Comprehension

Dad reading a bedtime story to his daughter.

Cropped image. Gracie and Viv, Flickr. CC License.

Did you know you can truly impact your child’s literacy development with just a few questions every evening before bed? It’s true.

Reading before bed for infants, toddlers and preschoolers is beneficial in developing several pre-reading skills. Below are just a few:

  • Recognizing and supplying rhyming words
  • Understanding the features of a picture book (page reads left to right, pictures match the words, written by someone called an author, pictures by an illustrator, etc.)
  • Identifying the difference between letters, words and sentences
  • Punctuation
  • Reading intonation

Let’s keep it simple with this month’s tip. Here’s a sure-fire way you can increase your child’s reading comprehension, which they will develop before they are reading words.

  • As you read the story or afterwards, ask your child to identify the story elements: characters, problem, solution, and setting.
  • Your child will get really good at listing the above elements. Once this happens, add in more challenging story elements: the author’s message/theme, and the sequence of events. For the sequence of events, have your child retell the story across their fingers (i.e., First the boy while holding up one finger. First, next, then, last.).

– Maria Dismondy, mother of three, reading specialist, fitness instructor and bestselling children’s author living in Southeast Michigan.

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