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How to Teach Reading Comprehension in a Primary Classroom

Teaching reading comprehension in a primary classroom is simple! I have an easy way of how to teach reading comprehension to kindergarten students and beyond!

Teaching reading comprehension in a primary classroom is simple! I have an easy way of how to teach reading comprehension to kindergarten students and beyond!

Reading Comprehension

How to teach reading comprehension is a common topic of conversation between teachers and school staff, regardless of which grade you teach. Teaching reading comprehension can feel daunting or challenging; whether you have early learners or developed readers. Oftentimes, students can appear to have strong reading comprehension skills in the early grades and struggle as the text becomes more complex. So as a kindergarten or first grade teacher, our goal should be to start teaching and developing reading comprehension skills no matter if your students are developed readers or not. You may be thinking, now Deedee… How am I supposed to teach reading comprehension to sweeties who can’t read? And my response to you, is it all starts with listening comprehension. So, let’s dive into how to teach reading comprehension to kindergarten students and beyond.

How to Teach Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension begins way before students begin reading. Comprehension begins as soon as children learn to understand and use spoken language. Understanding spoken language is referred to as listening comprehension.  Just like when we are teaching about something new, we as teachers will try to activate that prior knowledge… right? When students are comprehending text, whether it is something they’ve read or heard, they activate language that is already in their head. The more spoken language students are exposed to, the stronger their listening comprehension (and reading comprehension) will become. So, the true question here is how do we develop those comprehension skills with early learners who are not yet decoding and reading text?

Listening Comprehension in the Primary Classroom

You can teach reading comprehension to your kindergarten and first grade friends with read aloud texts. Your sweeties don’t have to actually do the decoding and reading in order to develop their comprehension skills. Giving your students opportunities to develop language and knowledge through read alouds will lead to stronger listening comprehension. Students with strong listening comprehension skills become readers with strong reading comprehension skills. When students have an understanding of more complex language, they have the ability to understand complex text.

Quality Interactive Read Aloud Texts

By using rich text, we can provide students with opportunities to have meaningful conversations and develop their oral language; which will in return, increase listening and reading comprehension.

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Having a whole-group discussion about a read aloud text can lead to such meaningful understanding and true oral language development within your students. You can dive into character analysis, cause and effect, text connections, making inferences… the list goes on!

Class discussion to improve reading comprehension.

I want to share with you some of my favorite read aloud texts to use to develop oral language and listening comprehension with students. I will highlight which comprehension strategies that work well with these texts.

Koala Lou

Koala Lou warms my heart! Little Koala Lou loves spending time with her mother. We can talk about text connections and students get to share about who they love spending time with.

How to teach reading comprehension to kindergarten students by making text connections.
Practice making text connections to boost reading comprehension in kindergarten.

Visualizing is also a skill that we practice with Koala Lou. Here you can see an example of shared writing that is done during our whole-group discussion about the story.

Shared writing is a great way to review the story and develop reading comprehension.

Then, students have an opportunity to complete their own writing response.

Practice visualizing with this read aloud text to develop reading comprehension skills.

The Gruffalo

If you have not shared this fun read aloud with your students, I highly recommend that you do! We talk about making inferences withthis book by looking closely at character expression and body language.  

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Teaching about character expression with this read aloud.
Teach inferring skills with this read aloud text.

While we are talking about the characters, we identify character traits as well.

How to teach reading comprehension to kindergarten students.

Scaredy Squirrel

The Scaredy Squirrel books are hilarious and work well to teach about characters and setting in a story.

Teach about characters and setting with this this read aloud text.

Clark the Shark

Clark is such a fun character to talk about with early learners. As part of our whole group discussion, we complete an anchor chart to show how Clark changes throughout different points in the story.

Clark the Shark read aloud to practice character analysis.

Wordy Birdy

I love this book! It’s such a fun one to share with your students. Wordy Birdy has a big problem and many of our students can relate to! We have fun discussing problem and solution with this story.

Problem and solution activity for developing reading comprehension

When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree

This is another favorite… I can’t help it! Nearly all of our Engaging Reader texts include a story retell. Walking through the events of a read aloud with your students is the perfect way to build reading comprehension.

Practice story retell with these reading comprehension book ideas.
Practice story retell with these reading comprehension book ideas.

I don’t want you to stress out about how to teach reading comprehension to your kindergarten, first, or even second grade students. There are lesson plans for each of the books discussed above ( and so many other great titles) with correlating response activities for your students. We walk you through developing reading comprehension strategies using read aloud texts. We have TONS of book titles that I know you will love. These links will take you to our Engaging Readers bundles:

Teaching reading comprehension in a primary classroom is simple! I have an easy way of how to teach reading comprehension to kindergarten students and beyond!

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Deedee Wills

Deedee Wills

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

Hi, I'm DeedeE.

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!
 

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