Comprehension Starter Kit

Did you know that children who have comprehension issues often fly under the radar?

Educators are quick to notice the children that are struggling with decoding words and reading fluency in early elementary school, but often comprehension issues aren’t discovered until later in their school career.

Difficulty with reading comprehension creates challenges in all areas of school and then later, challenges in life.

“They won’t be asked to read out loud in the real world, but they will be expected to know what they’ve read.” ~ Wray Herbert

So what can you do?

If you do, you’re in the right place!! 

I’m going to give you a “Comprehension starter kit” – When you’re done reading you’ll have 3 things you can do TODAY to help your child build strong comprehension skills.

1. Have book discussions and ask your child questions.

In my recent live training, I said that reading is thinking. That means that it’s not enough to just be able to read the words. You also have to be able to talk about, think about and answer questions about what you’re reading.

There are four main types of questions that students often work on in schools.

  • Right There Question – basic recall questions, the answer is in the text.
  • Think and Search – These answers can be found in the text, but often involve additional thinking from the student.
  • Author and Me – The answers are not in the text. Students have to combine what they have learned with what they already know to be able to answer.
  • On my Own – The answer is not in the text. Students have to use their own background knowledge and their own thoughts to answer the questions.

You can download my FREE Reading Comprehension Question Stems HERE!

2. Visualizing

Visualizing helps bring books to life. Talk about what you are hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, etc as you are reading or listening to the details in a book.

It’s also a good idea to share and compare your mind movie with your child’s. This can even help them to make connections to the text as they create the visualizations from the image or experiences that they already know about.


  • Start with small chunks of text. Read it out loud and then stop and talk about what you were picturing as you were reading. 
  • Brainstorm a list of descriptive words and practice using them and visualizing what’s being described. 
  • Read a story out loud to your child. Practice visualizing every few pages. Then have them draw a picture of what they imagined.

3. Somebody Wanted But So Then

This is a fantastic summarizing tool that you can use for most fiction texts. You can help your child to summarize the important parts of a story using just the most important words and phrases.

Often children want to write more of a retelling and include far too much for a summary. This graphic organizer will help them to stay focused on key details.

I want the graphic organizer!


Once you remember the order you’ll be able to use it anywhere! I’ve even used it for a creative writing prompt. If you love to write it out or have a student that needs practice organizing their thoughts, I’ve created a simple organizer for you. You can download and print it out to use at home!

I’d love to hear from you! It would seriously make my day. Comment below and tell me if you’re going to use my starter kit with your children!

About the Author Ashley DiMercurio