Reading is a wildly important skill for all children to learn. Everyone knows that. But being able to read is not the only important thing. Understanding what is being read is a huge part of the learning process. Posing questions while reading to your child at a young age can greatly encourage independent thinking, emotional intelligence, and skyrocket reading comprehension right from the get go.
Here are some ways you can skyrocket your child’s comprehension, reasoning, and emotional intelligence while reading together:
1. Invite a Recap.
Pause in the story and ask your child to summarize what just happened. It is important to do this in a way that is fun, so it doesn’t feel like work.
> “Whoa! That page had a lot of big words. Can you tell me what just happened?”
> "Why do you think the character is doing that?"
This encourages your child to pause and reflect upon what happened in the story, potential motives for action, and to problem solve or think critically in order to come up with a way to describe it back to you.
2. Emphasize the Takeaways.
Whenever there is a problem or a learning message to uncover, pose some questions to your child.
> “What do you think the main character learned from that mistake or experience?"
> "Can you tell me two main things you learned from reading this book?"
You can also add your own opinion on takeaways to show a different angle or perspective.
3. Name Those Emotions.
When there is a point in the story where a character is upset or emotional, pause to ask your child how he/she thinks the main character is feeling. This can greatly boost your child’s emotional intelligence as it gets your child to recognize facial expressions associated with emotions.
Upon your child’s response, you can also ask what other words could be used to describe that emotion. What a great opportunity to expand emotional vocabulary and self understanding.
4. Connect with the Character:
Expanding on the previous point, you can invite your child to share how he would feel if the same thing happened to him. “It looks like the main character is really upset (angry, disappointed, frustrated, etc). How do you think you would feel if that happened to you?” This can encourage empathy by considering being in the character’s shoes.
If there is a problem between two characters, you can also inquire as to how your child would feel if on the other side of the dilemma. This can stop the blaming and naming of bully and victim, and rather create understanding for both parties.
5. Problem Solving & Independent Thinking:
When problems arise in a book, and they always do, it opens a door to a great learning opportunity for problem solving and independent thinking. You can offer questions to your children and over time they will start picking out the problems and coming up with solutions all on their own.
> For example: “Do you think that was a kind way to act?”
If not: “What could be some kinder ways that character could have handled the situation?” Allow your child to think up some solutions. You can also introduce some of your own solutions as well or some outside-the-box ideas. Kindness brainstorming is a great way to teach morality and ethics at the same time.
Another option is to invite your child to reflect upon how she would have handled the situation if it had happened to her:
> “Is that how you would have handled the situation? Is there anything you would have done differently if you were in that position?”
6. Work Through Emotions:
We all have emotions and it is okay to express them. But, we shouldn’t take our emotions out on other people. This can be a great learning point to touch on when any characters are being 'mean' or having a tough time with their emotions.
> “What are some ways the main character could have worked through his emotions?”
Your child can list some ways to express emotions, some ways to manage or process emotions, or together you can come up with new ideas to try. These types of questions will promote emotional intelligence as well as teach your child ways to express, process, and communicate his or her own emotions.
There are the 6 ways to skyrocket reading comprehension and emotional intelligence. Which one was your favourite? Let us know in the comments.
In what ways do you support your child's reading comprehension? Do you have any tips that you use to teach your children emotional intelligence? If so, please share your tips!
Thanks for reading!
About the Author:
Kristin Pierce loves chai lattes, inspirational quotes, hunting down incredible kids books, and writing in rhyme. She is a children's book author, self-awareness educator, and momma of two who is on a mission to spread empowering and inspiring messages about following your passion, thinking outside-the-box, and believing in your big dreams. She is the author of Your Inner Compass That Could , Mayva O'Meere, Creationeer, Magnus O'Meere, Mind Pioneer (coming 2019), and Hazel Mist, Hypnotist (coming 2020).
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