Have you ever read something and afterward realized that you have no idea what it meant? What did you do about it? Did you read it again? Did you look up some unfamiliar words?
The need to read is everywhere–books, magazines, newspapers, menus, grocery labels, road signs, and instruction manuals–but, understanding is the key.
Basic parts of comprehension
The most basic parts of comprehension are plot, setting, and characters. Your child needs to follow the sequence of events and notice each step along the way as the plot–or storyline–unfolds. Most stories that children this age are familiar with, such as fables and folktales and other storybooks, do have a clear and simple plot structure.
Second and third graders can also begin to appreciate how the setting–where and when the story takes place–affects the story. This is a good time for an imaginary journey! Encourage your child to picture settings in his or her mind.
Thinking about why characters speak and act as they do is key to making sense of any passage. Asking your child questions such as "What kind of person is so-and-so?" or "What do you think he or she should have done?" is a good way to focus attention on characters. Even as an adult, finding characters that grab your interest because they seem like you, or intrigue or amuse you, spurs your reading–and the same is true for your young reader.
Friendship, pets, and community are often the topics of reading in these grades. Children should be able to identify the main idea (or big idea) of their reading materials and point to some details that support the main idea they selected.
If your child is able to summarize, or state the main idea of a passage and briefly tell a few important points about it, then you have a good indication that he or she has understood the material.
After reading a story, your child should be able to talk about it or answer questions about what happened. This skill is known as drawing conclusions–using the details provided in the story combined with the child's own understanding or experience to make logical conclusions about the action or characters.
A type of thinking process, known as critical thinking, is being promoted throughout reading instruction at this age. Critical thinking requires the readers to think about what they've read with a critical eye. It involves skills like drawing conclusions, making judgments, and predicting. Consider how often you need to think critically as an adult in other life situations. Then surely you understand that it's never too early to encourage children to develop these skills.
Practice shared reading with your second or third grader–where each of you take turns reading out loud–so that the child can show you what he or she has learned and so that you can model good reading habits.
Taken from www.kz.com