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Help your child excel: Comprehension strategies that work!

Reading is more than just understanding words. With this course, you will actively help your child to be successful.
Jodie Garrett
160 students enrolled
Trust that you are actually helping your child to read better - no matter what your own level of reading confidence might be.
  1. Understand how different texts provide show us information differently.
  2. Learn about the types of questions that enable comprehension.
  3. Understand how to focus the questions for your child to understand the text better.
  4. Learn how to teach your child about reading actively.

I use video to explain, and provide downloadable exemplars of questions. I also provide discussion support about the texts you choose to work with.

You can complete this in one day, or over a month – depending on how many types of text your child enjoys. Once you have learned the main ideas, then it is a 'dip in' system for the relevant lectures.

If you have any questions, feel free to send me a message via child_excel@discover.school.nz


Introducing myself - and this course
What type of texts are best?

This lecture will help you to assist your child in making useful decisions about reading. It will also allow you to consider texts that you may not have otherwise thought to use in this way.

Before you even open the cover - expectations and warming up.

Getting the brain into gear

This lecture will give you the tools to guide your child into the 'space' their brain needs to be in, in order to fully absorb what they are reading. It may also be useful for your own reading too :)

Identifying questions

These are questions which ask the reader to identify information that has been clearly presented within a sentence in the text.

Interpretative Questions

These are questions which ask the reader to interpret answers based on information that has only been hinted at, or mentioned in a different way than in the question.

Evaluative Questions

These are questions which ask the reader provide their own judgement about things in the text, based on what they think the author wants them to think, and their own world view.

Picture books

After the first three pages

This lecture gives you the tools to assist your child in their own storytelling process, and therefore be a participant in the story they are reading.

After two thirds of the book

After this lecture you should be comfortable with the idea that a story is a 'constructed reality' that is designed to help the reader feel 'involved'. Knowing this, you can devise suitable questions for your child to verbally answer

At the end of the book

This lecture teaches you to guide your child through an evaluative process; one that makes them an active reader rather than just a passive one.

Comics and Graphic Novels

The right text for my child
How can you know if the Batman comic your child wants to read is suitable for them? Suitability is a major factor in this genre, and as a parent, you have the final say.
Introducing the style of imagery

Having an awareness of how a visual narrative is constructed, can help your child consciously understand the elements that they may currently only be subconsciously relating to. It is also a great step into helping a child create their own visual narrative - even something like a photo book from a recent vacation.

Introducing the characters

"Chapter books" or Novels

At the end of the first chapter

The end of the first chapter is both an annoying and important place to stop your child. This lecture connects with "Getting the brain into gear", and uses follow-on techniques from it. I am using Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" published by Penguin Books, with non-exclusive permission from the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, as my example text.

End of the first third

From this lecture, you will understand how to apply the question strategies learned in Section Two. I am using Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" published by Penguin Books, with non-exclusive permission from the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, as my example text.

At the end of the second third of the book

By the end of this lecture, you should be feeling confident in your ability to create questions that will allow you to test your child's comprehension. The harder part is getting them to stop reading long enough to tell you the answers! I am using Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" published by Penguin Books, with non-exclusive permission from the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, as my example text.

After completing the book
The end of a novel is always a bit bitter sweet. Either we are happy that it ended that way, but will miss the characters, or we don't like the ending. The questions we ask our child at this point are all evaluative questions that ask them to reflect on what they have read it its entirety. I am using Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" published by Penguin Books, with non-exclusive permission from the Roald Dahl Literary Estate, as my example text.

Non-Fiction texts

Facts are just facts aren't they? How can there be opinions in Non-Fiction?

Non-fiction texts are often overlooked when it comes to reading comprehension - as if the lack of 'conflict' implies a lack of subtlety. In reality, the inferential detail comes from the decisions made by the publisher. I am using "Magnets and Electricity" by Terry Cash and Barbara Taylor, part of the Fun with Science series by Kingfisher, as my example text.

Putting it all together

Thank you, and congratulations

Thanks so much for participating. You are able to go back to each of the relevant sections as your child brings different books home, until you feel completely confident without it. Best of luck, and please feel free to leave a review and/or let your friends know about the course.


What type of questions are these?

The One Ruler

"For chewing gum in class," the head teacher intoned as she held her hand in front of me and raised one finger at a time, "for wearing non-uniform jewellery and for using inappropriate language, I am going to give you four strikes of the ruler."

She turned her back dismissively and walked behind her desk. From the top drawer she selected four different rulers; a clear plastic one, and old wooden one, a shiny aluminium one and a colourful one that seemed to bend at will. She placed them on the top of the desk, facing me and then touched each one for a moment, almost caressingly.

"You choose," she murmured.

I didn't know what to do. I felt like at any moment a director would yell "cut!" and the crew from 'Candid Camera' would jump out from behind the door. It was 2014! Teachers couldn't do this any more, could they?

"You choose!"

I visibly jumped. "Ah, um, the wooden one?" I said hesitatingly, thinking that if I was lucky it might snap. My mother had told me a story from when she was younger, when she had actually missed out on the whole punishment due to a ruler snapping. I never expected to be facing a similar scenario, and half wondered if I would tell my own daughter about this experience.

You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
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