Learning how to read is one of the foundations of education. A few years ago, I was told that teaching how to read is beyond word recognition and fluently, it is about comprehension.
There are 3 different steps when a child start reading
- Word Recognition
- Reading Fluency
- Reading Comprehension
The first 2 steps happen over the lower year of elementary school. Comprehension, however, can be harder to tackle.
How I define the 3 steps:
- Word Recognition: When a reader can recognize a written word correctly without effort.
- Reading Fluency: When a reader can accurately decode a succession of words that form a sentence effortlessly. The expected reading fluency will vary according to age and grade level.
- Reading Comprehension: The reader can read a text and comprehend the meaning.
This last step was a struggle for us for quite some time. They recognized the words, could read the sentences without any problem. Their reading comprehension was an issue. They couldn’t tell me what the story was about.
Reading comprehension is so important on all levels. It will
- Increase your vocabulary
- Helps to make connections with prior knowledge
Comprehension helps in developing critical thinking and apply knowledge to real-life events
The first step was to go back to basics and tackle this problem.
What is the story?
Every story we read works on the same framework
Every one of them has a:
To increase their comprehension, I had to work with a story they like. A story that drives their curiosity. I have concluded that my children’s learning increases exponentially when I consider this.
At that point, their passion was Harry Potter. So at the beginning of the school year, we started reading the series. Our journey to improve our comprehension had started.
Every book has a setting(s), plot, characters, and a theme. It is fun for them to read. They enjoyed the story. Their curiosity drove them to want to read more and more. Learning is fun, but I always keep in mind my goal.
My ultimate goal is increasing their reading comprehension.
Identifying the Characters
Our first step was to identify the characters.
As they were reading the books, we created our reference book for each character. Bringing them more alive, details, personality traits, physical appearance. Writing down who the actor was in the movie allowed them to start making a connection. Putting them in a state of mind that every word which describes a character is important.
Print your copy here: Harry Potter Character
The first few ones were a little harder as it was more challenging to decode and find the information. As they gained experience they knew that information about characters might help us understand what is going on.
The whole series is a fantasy novel, so obviously I couldn’t ignore the magical creatures. Like the characters, we wrote down descriptions, facts and drew them. Doing this process helped them take the words and bring the creature to life. Their imagination and their perception of what the creature looks like.
Print your copy here: Magical Creature lightning
The setting is where the story takes place. The location will vary as the story develop. Sometimes their perception in the book compared to what they saw in the movie was different.
Writing and drawing the place where the event will occur in the story to not lose track, we also created our reference book for all the places.
It was a work in progress throughout the series. It was truly enjoyable to see what they would come up with.
The main reason I chose to create these extra worksheets is that I know my girls learn when they create their notes.
Writing down, drawing and comparing what images were created in their heads compared to the movie was priceless. Their understanding and comprehension of the story were exceptional. To this day they still remember the nuances of the books.
Print your copy here: Places in Harry Potter
When we made the transition to make reading fun it all changed. I chose books that they were interested in and adapt it to what I wanted them to learn.
Have fun with your readers. If you are reading or about to start reading the Harry Potter Serie, download our printables HERE.
Let me know how it goes for everyone.