From phonics to fluency:
How to question your child

• To understand what is reading
comprehension is
• To understand why is reading
comprehension important
• To be aware of the development of reading
• To give examples of types of questioning
• To provide handouts and answer questions
What is reading comprehension?
Apple banana blue walk tree happy sing.

• Reading comprehension being able to understanding what you
are reading.
• It is one of the pillars of the act of reading.
• Part of a complex array of cognitive processes.
• Using awareness and understanding of phonemes, phonics
and the ability to comprehend or construct meaning from
the text.
• Reading comprehension is the last component of the act of
reading. It cannot occur independent of the other two elements
of the process.
• It is the most difficult and most important of the three.
Why is reading comprehension
Without comprehension,
reading is nothing more than
tracking symbols on a page
with your eyes and sounding
them out.
Why is reading comprehension
It is essential to life.
Development of reading
Reading comprehension is the ability to process
information that we have read and understand its
meaning. This is a complex process with three levels of

Evaluative meaning

Inferential meaning

Literal meaning
Literal meaning
“Read the lines”
 Questions that have responses that are
directly stated in the text.
• The main idea, characters in the text, stated facts, the
sequence of events
• The answers will always be found in the text
– Eg. What happened to the lady?
Inferential meaning
“Read between the lines”
 Questions have responses that are indirectly stated,
induced, or require other information.
• Starts with the stated information
• This information is then used to determine deeper meaning that
is not explicitly stated
• Requires you to think about the text and draw a conclusion.
• A question about inferential meaning will typically require you to
provide examples from the text
– Eg. Why was she feeling unhappy?
Providing examples from the
• Why was the lady unhappy?
– The car broke down on the way home
– The dog ran away
– Her husband lost his job
Evaluative/Critical meaning
“Read beyond the lines”
 Question that require the reader to formulate a response based
on their previous reading experience, their life experience and
their opinions on issues relevant to the text.
• Using critical thinking to make judgments about what was read in
the text.
– Was it fact or opinion, how valid was the text, how appropriate was the text?

• Making comparisons
• Example:
– Do you think it was right for Little Red Riding Hood’s mother to send her off
into the woods alone? Why or why not?
Putting it all together
Puppies are very small when they are born. They
cannot see until they are about two weeks old. During
this time, they stay very close to their mothers.

What type of questioning is being used?
• What are puppies like when they are born?
• Are puppies born blind?
• Why do they stay close to their mothers?
• Would you like to have a puppy?
Questioning types
Literal Inferential Evaluative

• What are • Are puppies • Would you like
puppies like born blind? to have a
when they are puppy?
born? • Why do they
stay close to
their mothers?
Literal comprehension Inferential comprehension Evaluative comprehension
summarize, count, name, list, identify (time and place for reflect, relate, compare, rank,
copy, record, retell example), classify, categorize, critique, dispute, challenge,
explain, predict, analyze extend, imitate, adapt (poem,
song, drawing)

Sample questions Sample questions Sample questions
How many characters are Why does X do that? What other characters from
there? What does X care most about? other books does X remind you
What color is the _____? What kind of environments of?
What is the name of the main does X live/work  in? Where have you encountered
character? Who or what is X’s friend… similar conflicts or settings?
List the places they visit. antagonist? What would make this story
What does X say in response What is X likely to do next? more effective?
to Y? What are the root causes of X’s Which episode is the most
What happens in this problems? impactful to you? Why?
chapter? What kinds of conflicts or What might a sequel or a
problems does X face? prequel to this look like?
What kinds of people does X How realistic is this story?
meet? What outside knowledge do you
Is the narrator telling the story need to understand and
a reliable source of info? appreciate this book?
Progression through the years
Year Literal Inferential Evaluative
The development of reading
and reading comprehension
Years 1 and 2
• Phonics – small units of sound which are blended/segmented to make a
• Using picture clues to help read words
• Recognition of words by sight
• Beginning to read a wider range of books, with more fluency
• Talk about a text
o Give reasons why things happen and how characters change
o Predict what might happen
• Noticing special features of texts, including non-fiction texts
o Eg. chapters, labels, diagrams, titles
• Discuss meanings of words
• Recall some specific, straightforward information and I have a generally
clear idea of where to look for information.
The development of reading
and reading comprehension
Years 3 and 4
• Read aloud with fluency and expression, a range of fiction,
poetry, plays, non-fiction or reference books
• Understand the meaning of new words (using a dictionary to
• Draw inferences such as inferring character’s feelings, thoughts
and motives from their actions, and justifying inferences with
• Predict what might happen from details stated and implied.
• Identify main ideas drawn from more than one paragraph and
summarise these.
• Identify how language, structure and presentation contribute to
Things to remember when
reading with children
• Monitor comprehension
– Make sure that is makes sense

• Make connections
– Share connections as you read aloud. Eg. places of vacation, memories

• Ask questions
– Pose questions that spark curiosity. What are you wondering?

• Figure out what is important
– Use a story element organiser

• Make inferences
– Combine what you already know with clues from the story
And finally…
Questions and handouts