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Teaching Tip: Reading Comprehension: Practice Makes Perfect

Reading Comprehension: Practice Makes Perfect

At this time of year, many students are starting to read increasingly more difficult text. Don’t be discouraged if your students’ ability to retell a story is not as strong as their accuracy and fluency. It just means that more practice will be needed. Some children might not remember what they read, while others might not understand what happened.

Here are two strategies that will help children improve comprehension and their ability to retell what they have read:


Have the students take pauses in the reading to help break down the story into more manageable chunks. This technique will give students a chance to think about what just happened in a smaller section of the story. As the students read, stop them and ask them to explain what happened in the story each time they pause. If they don’t seem to understand, reread the section together and discuss.

Who and What

Have students summarize a page by saying who the page was about and what that character did. You can place sticky notes on some pages and have students write who and what on the sticky notes.

Michèle Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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