Elementary Comprehension: What My Child Should Know About Comprehension

Reading comprehension is one of the most important skills your child will learn in elementary school because he or she will have to read texts in a wide variety of subject areas throughout middle and high school. Continue reading to learn more about reading comprehension and how you can help your child master it.

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Overview of Elementary Reading Comprehension

Phonological Awareness

Phonics is the relationship between letters and the sounds they represent. Phonics is one of the earliest building blocks to being able to read. Once kids understand the basics of phonics, they'll move on to learning about how spoken English is made up of smaller parts, such as syllables, words and sentences.


Fluency is the ability to read accurately, quickly and with expression. Fluency should be reinforced in elementary school reading because it's considered a bridge to comprehension. Since fluent readers don't have to stop to decode the meaning of words, they can focus their attention on the meaning of the text.


Your child's reading program should include vocabulary instruction because readers need to understand the meanings of words in order to comprehend what they're reading. Vocabulary development refers to stored information about the meanings and pronunciation of words necessary for communication, which includes speaking, listening, reading and writing.


The ultimate goal of elementary reading instruction is comprehension. When your child comprehends a text, it means that he or she automatically combines phonics, vocabulary and fluency. Furthermore, it means that he or she fully understands the plot or information portrayed in the text. Additionally, your child should construct meaning by connecting text to what he or she already knows until it is completely understood or comprehended.

How Parents Can Help

Reading frequently and discussing books are two very effective ways for elementary school children to improve their reading comprehension. By making reading a family activity, your child will see that you value reading and may be more inclined to read independently.

You can also ask your child's teacher for comprehension activities. He or she may be able to give you worksheets with passages and reading comprehension questions. Your child can also take free comprehension quizzes on thousands of books at Sylvan's Book Adventure.

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