Explicit Information is information that can be clearly found “right there” in the text. Explicit information questions enable you to assess students’ reading comprehension. After reading a story, ask students to answer questions based on information that can be found in the text. Invite them to look back to the text for the answers. Ask: Where can you find that answer in the story? Have students tell you (or highlight or point out) where they found the answer.
Genre is a type of text, such as fiction or nonfiction. Explain that stories can be fiction
(make-believe) or nonfiction (real). Fiction stories are not true. The author made up those stories. Nonfiction stories are true. The author is giving us information. Ask: If the title of a book is How Does a Chick Grow? would it most likely be fiction or nonfiction? If the title of a book is A Little Chick That Learned How to Read, would it be fiction or nonfiction? Read a fiction and a nonfiction story. Ask: Which story was fiction? Which story was nonfiction? How do you know?
Predicting is deciding what will most likely happen next in what you are reading. Before reading a story, ask students to read the title. Ask them to predict what the story will be about. As you read the story aloud, stop at various sections and ask students to predict what will happen next. Ask: What do you think will happen next? What makes you think that? Continue reading, and discuss which predictions were correct.
Setting tells you where and when a story takes place. Read aloud a familiar book, and point to one of the pictures. Invite children to describe what they see when they look at the picture. Ask guiding questions, such as: What time of year is it? What time of day? How do you know? Where do you think the child or animal is?
Sequence is the order of events or steps in a text. As you read a story aloud, encourage students to think about the parts, or steps, in the story. Explain that stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Point out that numbers sometimes appear in a story to let you know the order of the steps in the story (how an apple grows, how a frog grows). Read a story, and review its sequence. Use a sequence chart or graphic organizer, if needed. Ask: How do you know what happened first? What happened last?
Main idea is the big idea in a text. It tells you what the text is mostly about. After reading a passage, explain that the main idea can sometimes be found in the title or in the first or last sentence. Ask students to look for words that are repeated in a story. Invite them to write a summary sentence of no more than 15 words. Guide students by using a word web or ladder graphic organizer. If needed, write three or four sentences and ask students to identify which one is the main idea. For extra practice, select a cartoon from your local newspaper and ask students to identify the main idea.
Drawing Conclusions is when you figure out what a text means by using what you already know and information from the text. Point to a photo or an illustration of a wild animal in a book-for example, a scorpion. Guide students to look closely at the animal and its environment. Ask: In which kind of habitat, or home, might the animal live? What other animals might you find in that habitat?
Character refers to the looks, traits, thoughts, actions, and relationships of a person or an animal in a text. After reading a story, ask students to describe the actions and physical appearance of a person or an animal in a text. Then guide them in a more challenging discussion. Ask them to describe the personality traits of a person or an animal in a text. Explain that what a character does and how a character acts in a story helps you identify his or her traits. Provide some examples of traits, such as brave, shy, friendly, and creative.
Comparing is noticing how two or more things are alike. Contrasting is noticing how they are different. When asking students to compare two things, it may be helpful for them to focus first on similarities and then on differences. Design a graphic organizer with three boxes, one across the top of the page and two on the bottom. In the top box, write Similarities, Both, or Same. In the two boxes below, write each topic. Guide students in filling in things that are the same in the top box. Then help them write the differences in each of the bottom boxes.
*RAND Reading Study Group. (2002). Reading for Understanding Toward
an R & D Program in Reading Comprehension. Santa Monica, CA: Snow