Getting a Head Start on Comprehension

Hello, everyone!  It's Andrea again from Reading Toward the Stars to give you some tips on helping your child become better at comprehension.

I have a spunky four-year-old who is full of life and wonder.  Many days she keeps me on my toes and reminds me so much of my 11-year-old son at the same age.  At that age, children are in awe of the world and are ready to learn so much.  They are sponges and take it all in!  So it is the perfect time to get them ready to read through background knowledge!

Here are three easy ways you can help build background knowledge early, so children will be ready to comprehend when reading.


As much as I get perturbed by answering the same questions sometimes, I know that my own children are learning from my answers.  My 4-year-old daughter is constantly asking me questions about the world around her.  Questions like "Where does the rainbow come from?" and "Are unicorns real?" make her think about what she wants to find out.  Though I could go into a lot of crazy thoughts for answers, I know that my answer just needs to be short and simple.  Otherwise, I lose her.  If I give her an answer to her question, I know that she will take that little tidbit of information and use it later in life.


What do cooking, playing a sport, visiting places, and creating art projects all have to do with reading?  They all give your child experiences they need to build background knowledge?  As children experience the world, they learn more and remember those experiences.  These help to build background knowledge by giving them a base to enhance comprehension when they begin to read.

Reading Aloud

I can't stress this enough!  Reading aloud to young children is the easiest and best way to build background knowledge!  We can't always have those experiences, but we can read about them. We can't always go to those faraway places, but we can read about them.  We can't always play sports, but we can read about them.  

We can always spend time together and read.

So, the bottom line is to find little ways to build background knowledge in even the youngest children!  They will thank you later!

And if you are interested in finding out how you can help little ones be ready for decoding, head over to this {blog post} on my blog to find out more!

And a huge shout out to the book, Raising Kids Who Read by Daniel T. Willingham, PhD, for the inspiration for this post!


  1. Love your post, Andrea! I can relate, since I have twin 4 year olds at home. Tons of question asking, to say the least. :) Thanks for the book suggestion, too! I just put it on hold at my local library and can't wait to dive into it.
    Literacy Loving Gals

    1. Oh, the questions! You will enjoy the book, both as a parent and as a teacher!


  2. I don't have kids of my own, but I love this post! I'll have to check out the book too. Thanks for sharing!


    1. You are welcome! The book is an easy read that is applicable to teachers as well as parents. Enjoy it!