The Purpose of Reading


Comprehension is putting it all together. If a person has difficulty with any of the other areas of reading (Phonological Processing, Decoding, Fluency and Vocabulary) then they will struggle with reading comprehension. Reading with understanding will take a very, very long time, taking two or three times longer than it should. If a person is “reading” words fluently, even at grade level, but they don’t understand what they just read then they are just "word calling" which is when they identify the individual words without making the necessary connections to create meaning.


Fluent or not, the absolutely most critical key for developing excellent reading comprehension is…. QUESTION ASKING!


A good reader asks themselves questions all of the time…so fast that they don’t even realize that they are doing it any more! A student who struggles with reading comprehension needs to learn how to ask questions: at the word level (vocabulary), the sentence level, the paragraph level, and ultimately longer passages. Asking questions will help them to see the relationships, understand the inferences, and draw conclusions.


What questions should they learn to ask?


  • What does this word mean?
  • What clues are there in the context?
  • What is another word that means the same?
  • How is this word important for understanding the sentence?



  • What are the important words/ideas in this sentence?
  • What does this sentence have to do with the one before?
  • What do I think will come next?
  • What does this information remind me of? (Making connections to what is already known)
  • What is the main noun/subject of the sentence and what is he/she/it doing?
  • What does the clause or phrase add to my understanding?
  • Paraphrase the sentence – say it in my own words





  • After reading the first sentence: What do I think this passage will be about? What do I already know about____?
  • What is the main idea? Summarize in one sentence.
  • Throughout ask Who, What, When, Where, Why questions


⇩ Games that promote question asking ⇩

  • Headbanz
  • The Kids Book of Questions
  • You’ve Been Sentenced
  • Learning Resources Hidden Hints - Context Clues Reading Comprehension Game
  • Learning Resources Ler7022 Reading Comprehension Cubes


The key is to make sure your reader is interacting with the material - thinking their way through it vs. word calling!

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