Reading Comprehension is the ability to easily and efficiently read text for meaning. It is the last step of the reading process taught to children, after they’ve acquired phonological processing skills and learned phonics, fluency, and vocabulary.

Five levels of reading comprehension can be taught to children.

Understand key vocabulary in the text.

  • Preview vocabulary before reading the story or text
  • Review new vocabulary during or after reading the text

Answer Who, What, When and Where questions.

  • Look in the text to find the answers written in the story.
  • Ask questions from the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

Answer What If, Why, and How questions.

  • Understand “facts” that are not explicitly stated in the story.
  • Use illustrations to infer meaning.

Relate story to existing knowledge or opinion.

  • Ask questions that have no right or wrong answer.
  • Challenge children to support their answers with logic or reason.

Understand social and emotional aspects.

  • Preview social scripts to ensure understanding of plot development.
  • Connect motive to plot and character development.

To really understand these different levels, let’s take a familiar text and see how different types of questions probe different understandings of the same story.

The fairy tale Cinderella tells the story of a young girl, whose evil stepmother won’t let her go to the ball. Cinderalla’s fairy godmother, however, magically whisks her off for the night and Cinderella eventually marries her Prince Charming.


Read More: Find out how to use Reading Level Charts to match appropriately challenging books to a child’s reading ability.

Last modified on May 27, 2020

Share This Page With Your Friends: