What does comprehension instruction look like in kindergarten?

"The evidence is growing that elementary children can be taught to use the comprehension strategies used by excellent, mature comprehenders. Moreover, when they learn such strategies, their comprehension improves" (Pressley & Afflerbach, 1995, as cited in Vaughn & Linan-Thompson, 2004).

Reciprocal Teaching

"In kindergarten and first grade, if, over the course of a school year, children automatize three to five comprehension processes and use them continuously, metacognitively, without your prompting, you will have had a great year. Throughout every lesson, encourage students to use the actual name of these strategies and processes when they report what they are doing, but also require that they tell you more than its name. They should tell you what they are predicting and why. They should tell you what their images look like. You want to hear the questions they are asking and the connections they are making. They should let you know what is confusing and what they are doing to clarify. They should summarize rather than just say they are summarizing.
In kindergarten, we recommend that you begin by teaching how to predict, image, make connections, and summarize. In this and the other early grades, you should perform think-alouds with every read-aloud- and there should be lots of read-alouds so as to model how to use multiple comprehension processes" (Gambrell, Morrow, & Pressley, 2007, p. 228-229).

Materials for Reciprocal Teaching
Original Article for Reciprocal Teaching in Kindergarten

This link will take you to the article.

This handout provides some tips for implementing reciprocal teaching in kindergarten, a suggested list of texts to start with, and the bibliographical information on the original reciprocal teaching in kindergarten article.

These vocabulary cards should be used when introducing the strategy. Students need to develop a deep understanding of the skill before they begin practicing the skill themselves.

These puppets can be printed out, laminated, and taped to a paint stir stick. Students hold the puppet when they practice the skill. The puppets are helpful to students who may resist participating due to shyness. The puppet also serves as a visual reminder of each skill.

Story Mapping

Materials for Comprehension
Retelling Glove
I'm planning on doing this in the next few days, so hopefully I can post a picture. My plan is to use a rubber glove because I should be able to write on it with a permanent marker. On each finger and the thumb write: setting, characters, problem, solution, details or events. I'm thinking about trading details or events for what it means to me since the first four are details and events.

Retelling Beach Ball
Buy a beach ball. Blow it up. On each section write a general comprehension question. Toss the ball to a student. Where ever their thumbs land is the question they must answer. Here are a few examples.

  • Fiction
    • Who is the main character?
    • Where does the story take place?
    • What was the problem in the story?
    • How was the problem solved?
    • What happened at the beginning?
    • What happened at the end?

  • Nonfiction
    • Tell one new fact you learned from the book.
    • Tell one fact you already knew.
    • Who do you think would like to read this book?
    • What do you still want to know?

Interactive White Board Games and Activities for Comprehension
Follow 3 Step Directions

Real or Make-Believe?

Venn Diagram
The Story Map interactive includes a set of graphic organizers designed to assist teachers and students in prewriting and postreading activities. The organizers are intended to focus on the key elements of character, setting, conflict, and resolution development. Students can develop multiple characters, for example, in preparation for writing their own fiction, or they may reflect on and further develop characters from stories they have read. After completing individual sections or the entire organizer, students have the ability to print out their final versions for feedback and assessment. The versatility of this tool allows it to be used in multiple contexts.

Story Maps
Students may generate clear, well-formatted Venn Diagrams by naming their project and labeling Circle 1 and Circle 2, then generating concepts that can be placed on the diagram by clicking and dragging them with the mouse. Students may place the concepts in either circle or in the overlapping area, allowing them to organize their information logically. A step-by-step animated demo shows students how to type concepts and their descriptions, and how to drag and place concepts on their diagrams. Students may view and edit their draft diagrams, then print the finished diagrams for reference. This is a handy tool for classroom use that guides students through the process of organizing information in Venn diagram form.