Reading Comprehension

Strategies to Enhance Comprehension

Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension is viewed as the construction of meaning of a written or spoken communication through a reciprocal, holistic interchange of ideas between the interpreter and the message in a particular communicative context.

The Comprehension Matrix

Many researchers have defined three major factors that affect comprehension: the reader, the text, and the situation. Sharon Gill (2009) created a tool called the Comprehension Matrix that helps teachers with comprehension instruction. It provides teachers organized activities for pre-reading, during-reading, and post-reading. Some activities include asking questions to grab their attention, making predictions while reading, and creating visual representations of the text.

Reading Comprehension Strategies

Interactive Read Aloud / Reading Workshop

Sample Interactive Read Aloud

The following is an Interactive Read Aloud lesson plan I have used in a 1st grade classroom. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Book: From Caterpillar to Butterfly by Deborah Heiligman

Genre: Informational Text (Narrative)

Comprehension Strategy: Asking Questions


Before Reading:

1. Build background knowledge:

Has anyone ever seen a caterpillar or a butterfly? Do you know how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly? Did you know there are different kinds of butterflies? Turn to your neighbor and share what you know about caterpillars and butterflies.


2. Provide a brief overview of the book:

This book is about the process of how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly. We will learn where the caterpillar comes from and what it has to do to become a butterfly!


3. Introduce the comprehension strategy:

I’m going to read ­­­­­­From Caterpillar to Butterfly. While I’m reading to you, I will model how I stop and ask questions. By asking questions while I read, I can make sure I am paying attention and make sure what I have read makes sense. I ask myself “how” and “why” questions based on what is happening in the book and what I know already. As we read the story, I’ll share the questions that I ask. And then you will have a chance to ask questions too.



During Reading:

Model using the strategy at least 3 times.


Cover – Readers ask questions before, during and after reading. Let me show you how I ask a question before I start reading.

The title of the book is From Caterpillar to Butterfly.

I see little caterpillars and a big butterfly. (using clues from text).

I know that caterpillars turn into butterflies. (using background knowledge). Because of what I see and what I know, I am wondering how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.


Pg. 8 – I read that the caterpillar started out as a tiny egg. I know that it turns into a big butterfly.

I’m wondering how it grows.


Pg. 18 – The caterpillar is making a special house and instead of new skin it is a hard shell.

I wonder why it is a hard shell. I also wonder how long the caterpillar will stay in there.


Pg. 23 – The butterfly has finally hatched out of the chrysalis.

I wonder how long it will take the butterfly to be able to fly.


Near the end, provide a general prompt for the child to try using the comprehension strategy.


Pg. 29 – What how and why questions are you asking?



After Reading:

1. Invite student to share his/her reaction to the text.

What did you guys think of the book?


2. Summarize what comprehension strategy was used, how, and when to use it.


While we were reading, we stopped and asked some how and why questions. Let’s go back to those questions and see if we can answer them. Asking questions will help us understand the book better.


Readers ask questions before, during and after they read. Remember to ask how and why questions based on clues from the pictures and the text and your background knowledge.



Vocabulary Lesson:

Introduce 2 Tier 2 vocabulary words by saying the word, having children say the word, tell the definition, review how the word was used in the text, and provide a new context for using the word. Then ask the student to use the word in other contexts.


A word I found interesting in this book was hatched.

Try it, Say: hatched.

Hatched means to come out.

Do you remember when this word was used in the book? Let’s look at that page. In the book it said, “When the caterpillar hatched out of the egg, it was hungry.”


Another way to use this word is: After the mother bird nurtured the egg, it hatched into a beautiful bird.

Think of a time when you saw something hatch.

(get student to use the word in a sentence).


Say the word again: hatched.



Another interesting word is crumpled.

Try it, Say: crumpled

Crumpled means to crush or wrinkle something.

Do you remember when this word was used in the book? Let’s look at that page. In the book it said, “Our butterfly is damp and crumpled.”


Another way to use this word is: I crumpled the piece of paper up and threw it in the trashcan. (your example).

Think of a time when you crumpled something up.

(get student to use the word in a sentence).


Say the word again: crumpled.

Kasey Stephens

I am an Elementary Education major at East Carolina University with a concentration in Reading. I plan to graduate in May 2015 and intend to pursue my Master's Degree in Reading Education. I look forward to putting all the information I have gained into my future teaching practices!