Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Tackling English Comprehension

Try this... before attempting to read the comprehension passage, read through the questions first - like once through... Twice even better. Then read the passage.
Why this works? ( For me and my kiddie, at least... )

The once through with the questions has provided the child with an idea... a sneak preview to what the story or the passage is about. Hence, when reading the passage the answers come almost automatic, cos they already know it was being asked in the questions (that they read earlier...).

Another is to scoop out for the main word - read from the question itself and the answer should be around there. Better to have a clue than a blank - i dunno... cannot find.

Sometimes the question is tricky cause the word has been changed to another with similar meaning - sieve that out from the passage as well.

For example:

The passage goes...

...after spending all the money her mum gave her on the stationery from the bookshop, she was not left with any balance of coins to make that one important phone call.

The question then reads...

What happened to the remaining coins? Why couldn't she make the call?

Or - Was there any amount left from the pocket money to make the call? Why?

In this example, the main word was intentionally replaced to test the child's vocabulary skills. Child must know that these words all provide similar meanings, ie. balance = remainder = whatever amount that is left.... to know that (that word) it is the main word from the question given.

Child must also watch for the very direct clues - why, what, where, how, whose, who, etc, indications of what of answer the question needs...

With our home practise, we also follow a general rule to underline the answer and number them accordingly (to the corresponding question), to save the trouble of looking/scouring for the answer again by having to read through the passage AGAIN.. That, i find the children don't like to do. They do not fancy reading the passage over and over again... especially when they already know they couldn't find in the first place.

So, they totally dislike this statement... "Read through the passage again and understand... The answer is in there.. Try again.."

Left to that on their own to solve for so much so.. more than what they can tahan (to hear), they will switch off and lose interest.

I'm not sure if this technique will help but just sharing what i work with my girls and my students.


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