Story Comprehension

with Dr. Katherine Strasser

Brief Overview

Dr. Katherine Strasser is an associate professor of psychology in Chile and her recent research has been based off of early aged children and the importance of story comprehension. She focuses on the process of fluency, comprehension and the decoding of words that children in grades as early as Preschool and Kindergarten.

Why is it Important?

Story comprehension is the discourse that helps establish logical connections between sentences; it can apply to not only narratives and fiction stories but also nonfiction. Strasser focuses on linking language development vs reading development and when children can decode words but not yet understand the level of fluency. "You can't have fluency and not comprehend." When children can comprehend the language of a story it helps them paint a coherent picture of the whole text.

What Teachers Need to Know:

  • From early on these skills have an impact on story comprehension and will eventually effect reading comprehension
  • Devote time to language skills such as making inferences and connections in a text in order to create new knowledge
  • Monitor individual comprehension

Implications for Parents:

  • Read aloud and a lot
  • Understand that children are able to comprehend much more than they can decode
  • Read to children things that are interesting to them, such as newspaper articles or a grocery list and even magazine articles. Just as long as you are introducing lots of oral language.
  • Preparing them for the complexity of emotion when reading such as voices or when there is a conflict, helps prepare students

Tools to Help Story Comprehension:

Wordless Picture Books:

  • Use them to assist in story comprehension because the students can take a simple story line and then run with it
  • Develop questioning in order to foster discussion and get student creating their own story line
  • HUGE in developing inference skills
  • When there is no text, students will be able to listen and pay attention to the story instead of stressing about decoding the meaning of the words on a page
  • Interpret their own oral language