Cultivating Comprehension: A Kindergarten Teacher’s Guide

by | Nov 28, 2023


Welcome back to our ongoing series on effective reading instruction for kindergarten. Today’s focus is on four pivotal comprehension skills: word reading comprehension, listening comprehension, expressive comprehension, and receptive comprehension. Let’s explore what these skills entail, their importance, and how to effectively teach and assess them.


Core Foundational Skills in Comprehension


  1. Word Reading Comprehension


  • What It Is: The ability to understand the meaning of words read.
  • Why It’s Critical: Enables students to not just read words but grasp their meaning, essential for reading fluency and overall literacy.


  1. Listening Comprehension


  • What It Is: The ability to understand spoken language.
  • Why It’s Critical: Forms the basis for understanding narratives and information, and it’s crucial for developing reading comprehension skills.


  1. Expressive Comprehension


  • What It Is: The ability to express understanding of what has been read or heard.
  • Why It’s Critical: Demonstrates the student’s ability to process and communicate information, a key part of active learning.


  1. Receptive Comprehension


  • What It Is: The ability to understand information that is received, either through reading or listening.
  • Why It’s Critical: Essential for learning and understanding new concepts and ideas.


Teaching and Assessing Word Reading Comprehension


  • Teaching Strategy: Engage students with simple texts that match their phonics skills, followed by discussions about the content.
  • Assessment Tool: Short quizzes or oral questions about the text.
  • Example: Ms. Adams reads a short story with the class and then asks students what a specific word in the story means.


Teaching and Assessing Listening Comprehension


  • Teaching Strategy: Read-aloud sessions followed by interactive discussions.
  • Assessment Tool: Ask questions about the story to gauge understanding.
  • Example: After reading a story aloud, Mr. Lee asks the class to recall specific details or the sequence of events.


Teaching and Assessing Expressive Comprehension


  • Teaching Strategy: Activities that require students to explain or retell stories or information in their own words.
  • Assessment Tool: Observations during activities or presentations.
  • Example: Mrs. Johnson asks students to retell a story in their own words, assessing their ability to convey the narrative accurately.


Teaching and Assessing Receptive Comprehension


  • Teaching Strategy: Interactive read-alouds and discussions, where students are asked about their understanding of the material.
  • Assessment Tool: Direct questions or activities that require application of the information.
  • Example: Ms. Garcia reads a passage and then asks students to draw a picture representing the main idea.


Using Assessment Data


Effective use of assessment data involves:


  • Identifying areas where students excel or need improvement.
  • Tailoring instruction to address individual needs.
  • Using results to inform future lesson planning.


For instance, if a student struggles with expressive comprehension, the teacher might provide more opportunities for oral expression in a supportive environment. Conversely, a student excelling in listening comprehension might be challenged with more complex texts or asked to lead a class discussion.


In conclusion, by focusing on these comprehension skills with appropriate teaching methods and assessments, kindergarten teachers can nurture a deep understanding and love for reading in their students. These early skills lay the groundwork for future academic success and a lifelong passion for learning.




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