How to Model Reading Comprehension Strategies

In our previous blog, we discussed the importance of working on reading comprehension with your child at home. To read last week’s blog, click here

                In brief, it is important to remember that we learn to make meaning of the text that we read. Comprehension is not a natural process. The best way we can help our children develop reading comprehension skills is by modeling our own comprehension skills at home. The reading comprehension strategies that we exercise include making predictions, visualizing, questioning, drawing inferences, identifying main ideas, and summarizing text.

Here are some examples of what you can say when modelling reading comprehension strategies. Focus on a few at a time. Don’t try to demonstrate all of these skills in one sitting.

  • Making Predictions: This is something we do intuitively when we read with young children, but as our children grow up, we may forget to keep asking questions like “What do you think will happen next?”. Asking these types of questions prompt children to engage with the text they’ve read. To model this, simply pause and say, “I think I know what will come next…” Show your child how you connect with different details in the text to make your prediction.
  • Visualizing: Pause periodically to describe the scene that you see in your mind. Help your child understand that words can paint a picture in your mind. Be as descriptive and vivid as possible.
  • Questioning: Take a break from your reading to ask questions like, “I wonder why she said that?” or “If I were in this character’s position, how would I have responded?” etc.  
  • Drawing Inferences: Show your child how you can draw conclusions by reading between the lines. Show your child how you can infer meaning based on the characters’ dialogue and interactions.
  • Identifying Main Ideas & Summarizing: After you read together, take time to identify the main ideas for your child.  Then, re-read and make references to the text as you do. Similarly, pause to summarize what you have read, using your own words.


Once your child is familiar with the reading comprehension skills you demonstrate, begin to ask him or her to exercise some of these skills autonomously. Pause as you read together and prompt your child to summarize the text, predict what will happen, or describe what they see in their minds as you read together. In time, your child will be able to demonstrate these skills without your prompting – leading to more independent reading comprehension skills.
For more information regarding literacy support, contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space 416.925.1225 or visit


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