Comprehension Activities for Preschoolers
- Prereading activities encourage children to make sense of what they are reading before they even begin reading. Activating prior knowledge is an important part of prereading, because children are more apt to make sense of what they are reading when they can relate to the topic. Prior to reading a text, ask children to make predictions and ask them questions that pertain to the text. Show children the cover of a book and go on a picture walk -- looking through the pictures of the book. Ask kids if they can predict what the story will be about based on the pictures and the questions they've been asked. Create a book box -- a box filled with items that pertain to the story -- show children the items in the box and ask them if they can guess how the items are related to one another and to the book.
- Comprehension can be encouraged during reading simply by asking children questions that relate to the book. While reading, stop and ask kids if they can predict what will happen next, how they feel about what is happening or if they've ever experienced anything like what is happening in the book. Asking questions such as these ensures that students are paying attention to the text and that they are making meaning of what is being read.
- Use postreading activities to ensure that students are aware of what happened in the story. Again, ask questions that pertain to the text; ask if they liked the story, what their favorite part was and how they felt about the story. Engage children in sequencing activities, such as arranging pictures from the text in the order that they happened, or have them use puppets to retell the story. Such activities will foster greater understanding of what has been read.
- Use crafts as a follow-up activity to the stories that you read with preschool children. Provide them with paper, markers, crayons and other craft materials, and encourage them to create a sketch-to-stretch or a picture that illustrates the part of the story that was most meaningful to them. Use the craft materials to create puppets, masks and other items that can be used to retell the story. These craft extension activities further aid in comprehension development in children.