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The basics of early reading: Comprehension

Comprehension is one of the four essential reading skills. Find out if your second or third 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.

An early reader with good comprehension skills can:

  • Ask and answer who, what, where, when, why, and how questions about key details in a book
  • Retell a story accurately and in some detail
  • Identify main message or moral in a fable or fairy tale
  • Understand story structure and sequence of key events
  • Compare and contrast two versions of the same story
  • Identify and describe character traits of characters in a book
  • Identify author's point of view, and compare and contrast it with reader's own

Other necessary reading skills:

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