What is reading comprehension?
Comprehension is understanding what you read, as you read it. Good readers don’t just say words out loud—they form a picture in their mind of the story, making a mental movie to help them imagine the events as they happen. Readers who are good at comprehending also think beyond the story. They make connections to what they already know, make inferences and predictions, and think about the story after they are done reading. Your child has been developing comprehension skills since birth, but now must combine this knowledge with their independent reading abilities.
What can I do to help my child develop comprehension skills?
Continuing to read with your child for fun is a great way to build comprehension skills. When you read together or when you listen to your child read, talk about what you’re reading, new words they might not know, and what you imagine when you read. Here are some more specific tips to help build comprehension at home. You can download this tip sheet below.
How does the Khan Kids app help to build comprehension?
Reading and thinking about what you read are the best way to build comprehension skills. Luckily, Khan Academy Kids has over 300 books built right into our app! You can see all the books in one place by going to the Books tab in the Library. Here, your child can either choose to have the book read aloud to them or to read it on their own.
Another way to view our books is by clicking on the Reading tab in the Library. Here, books are shown for each age group, and you can view more by clicking on the dropdown menu on the right to change the age you see. When they select a book in the Reading tab, your child will be asked supporting comprehension questions as they read. This can be really helpful as they work on developing their mental movie and comprehension skills. Encourage them to pause and answer the question aloud before turning the page.
Each book in our library is written at an age appropriate level and with vocabulary building in mind. Potentially unfamiliar words are given plenty of context, so that children can learn their meanings. Here’s a short video where Reya explains how to use context clues to learn unfamiliar words. This is a great strategy that your child can use whenever they are reading.
This is article #4 in our series of 5 articles about the path to reading. If you’d like to learn more, be sure to read the other articles!
Article 1) Pre-literacy: the period of time before a child begins to read or write
Article 2) Phonics: the connection between letters and sounds
Article 3) Fluency: reading naturally, while paying attention to meaning
Article 5) Reading routines: developing lifelong readers