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A collage of children lying on the ground reading books.

The year has come… our daughter is going to Kindergarten.  The last of our four kids are heading off to school. As a teacher myself, I know what she has in store for her, and I’ve worked hard these past few years to prepare her, as I have with all of our kids.

More than anything else, I’ve worked on comprehension with her.   This has been a struggle for teachers and parents alike for years.   Written comprehension is now needed for testing, and many students are struggling with it.

In our house, we’ve been reading I Can Read! books. They make it so easy to engage your child because they feature characters they already know and love, like Pinkalicious, Biscuit, Paddington Bear, and more!

Here are five ways to help kids with their comprehension skills:

Two little girls lying on the floor reading books.

  1. Read to our kids.

Reading a book to our kids FIRST is a great way to work on building their comprehension.  They can hear what happens in the story first. When our kids pick up a new book to read it, they often focus on the words and how to pronounce the words instead of the story.   By reading it to them first, it allows our kids to hear the story first.

  1. Have them re-read it.

As I mentioned in number one, the first time they read it, they concentrate on the words.  Let them read it several times to underhand the meaning. This will also help with fluency (speed and accuracy).   I allow my kids to read a book as many times as they want to read it.

A group of children lying on the floor reading books.

  1. Use easy-readers that they love.

Use books that are at or below your child’s reading level when working on comprehension.  These books will be easier to read and will allow your child to focus on what Is happening in the story.  

A close up of children\'s books on a table.
Find easy-to-understand books, like
I Can Read! which are organized into color-coded levels so you can find what’s right for your child and their reading abilities. Going into Kindergarten, the ‘My First’ and ‘Level 1’ books are perfect.

They invite beginning readers to trust and get to know the characters.  They encourage a passion for reading.

A close up of children\'s books on a table.

  1. Use follow up activities.

Reading is excellent, but you need to ask them questions after they have read to increase comprehension.   Easy questions like “Tell me three things that happened in the story.” Or “name three characters in the story.”  You can even ask them to tell you about the beginning, middle, and end of the story. You can grab some printable activities

or a few Teacher’s Guides for I Can Read! books (discussion questions, worksheets, etc…).

5. Encourage your child to express their opinion.

Allow them to talk and ask them what the book reminded them of, and then let them give you their long (detailed) answer.

A boy sitting on a swing reading a book.

Here are a few more ideas from the I Can Read! team:

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Hi there!

I’m Becky, a former elementary school teacher turned certified child development therapist and blogger. I work at home with my husband and together we are raising (and partially homeschooling) our four children in the Carolinas. I love diet coke, ice cream, and spending time with my family.

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  1. This is so true. My now 33 yr old daughter always struggled with comprehension. I believe it’s why she doesn’t enjoy reading today.

  2. We’ll take this advice and try to incorporate more age appropriate books on top of what we are already reading to them..thank you!

  3. I’m a fan of ‘comprehension’. Everybody must have skills. It is so important to start instilling this one mandoty skill to our children’s.

  4. My kiddo loves these books. They are fun to read and characters are simply charming.

  5. I have three girls and these books look perfect. We have one learning to read, too!

  6. These 5 simple steps make a lot of sense- thank you! . Now I have more patience and understanding for her and can dial it down a bit while helping her with her homework.

    We are fans of Fancy Nancy books.