Parent Guide: Supporting Literacy Development at Home While Sheltering in Place
Parent Guide: Supporting Reading Comprehension for Elementary School Students
What You Need To Know When it comes to supporting reading comprehension for elementary students, parents should understand the basic structure of stories. TK - 2nd grade students might describe a story as being divided into 3 parts - Beginning, Middle, and End. Getting more technical in academic language, 3rd - 5th grade students might know that the elements of fictional stories are described as the 6 Stages of Plot (see below). Once you are familiar the pattern, most fictional stories will follow this formula. You'll be predicting twists and story endings like a pro in no time!
Plot Structure Map - Stages of Plot 1 – Exposition: The introduction of characters, setting, and the basic situation 2 – Conflict: A struggle between opposing forces that drives the action of the story 3 – Rising Action: the portion of the story where the conflict increases 4 – Climax: the peak of action and conflict, usually where the main character experiences a change of heart or mind 5 – Falling Action: the portion of the story where the conflict decreases 6 – Resolution: the outcome of the conflict
Conversation Starters These open-ended questions can help guide discussions with your child about what they have read. There are no right or wrong answers - just awesome opportunities to dig deeper into understanding the story. These questions follow the stages of the plot structure map as described above. You can use a few questions to support a young child's understanding of "Beginning, Middle, and End" or you can select specific questions targeting "Climax" or "Resolution" stages of plot for older children.
Parent Tip - Start with a couple questions. If your children feel talkative, ask a few more. If they are not interested, no worries! Don't push it. Try again with different questions on another day.
Based on the title, what do you think this is going to be about?
Based on ______ (pictures or clues), what do you predict will happen?
What do you think the next part will be about? (can be asked after any pause in reading the story)
During Reading 1 - Exposition Questions
What does this remind you of?
What do you wonder?
What do you or do you not like about the story so far?
2 - Conflict questions
What is the main problem between the characters in the story?
What caused the problem?
What would you do differently from one of the characters in the story?
3 - Rising Action
What surprised you?
Which character is your favorite?
Are there any words you don’t understand?
4 - Climax
Where does the main character have a change of heart?
What are some of the changes you see in the main character?
Was there ever a time you felt the same way as one of the characters?
5 - Falling Action
Are there any ideas about the story that you have changed your mind about?
Do all the details in the story seem to tie up nicely?
What is a question you still have?
6 - Resolution
What would you still like to learn more about?
What is the most important idea in the story?
What is _____ your favorite character/your favorite scene in the story? Why?
If you were the author, what would you do differently?
Why do you think the author wrote the story?
What is a lesson you can learn from reading the story?