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The basics of beginning reading: Comprehension

Comprehension is one of the four essential reading skills. Find out if your kindergartner or first grader is on track.

By GreatSchools Staff

Reading comprehension is the ability to understand a text. It is also the goal of reading itself: if you comprehend what you read, then you have mastered the basics of reading. Along with understanding the basic plot line and facts in a text he reads, a child with strong comprehension can also identify key themes, read between the lines, and extrapolate from the text to make connections with his own life experience.

A beginning reader with good comprehension skills can (with support and prompting):

  • Understand the connection between words and illustrations on the page
  • Use illustrations to make predictions about the text
  • Be able to re-tell a story, including all the key details
  • By first grade, identify characters, setting, and main events in a story, and compare and contrast familiar stories

Other necessary reading skills:

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