5 Skills to Teach Your Tot that Will Lead to Reading Comprehension

Reading comprehension skills can easily make children soar as wonderful independent readers or a lack of can leave them frustrated, confused, and upset. Adding a few simple techniques to your toddler’s story time can give him a great foundation of reading comprehension skills even before he is an independent reader. Try some of these easy techniques to make the most out of story time with your tot.

1. Make Predictions

Before reading a story with your tot, take a picture walk through the book. Look at the pictures together and describe what it looks like is happening. Ask questions like, “How do you think this character feels? What do you think is making him sad?” This will help your child to look for details in the pictures while you read the story and it will help him make predictions about what is going to happen. While reading the story, stop before turning the page occasionally to ask, “What do you think will happen next?” This will help to build his internal dialog of how to make predictions while reading.

2. Make Connections

Connections can be made before, during or after a story is read. Help your child to see similarities between events or characters in the story and in her own life. Maybe a character has a dog like your kiddo, maybe they both like pizza. After reading a story, you might find yourself in a similar situation as a story you read. Take this learning opportunity to bring up the story and remember what happened to the characters. Connecting a story to a tot’s life brings the story to life for her and really helps her to understand it better.

3. Ask Questions

Asking your tot questions, even if he might not be able to answer them yet will help to build his internal dialog that will help him to understand stories for many years to come. Try asking questions before, during, and after reading a story. Here are some questions you might ask.

Before Reading
What do you think this story will be about?
Why do you think the character is doing or feeling like this?
How do you think they will solve the problem?

During Reading
What do you think will happen next?
What would you do if this happened?
Why did the character do that?
What started this argument?

After Reading
What did this story remind you of?
How could the characters have acted in a better way?
Why do you think the story ended like that?
What was your favorite part?
Who was your favorite character?

4. Think Out Loud

Thinking out loud while reading with your tot will teach her how to respond to a story, to monitor her own understanding and to clarify confusions when she becomes an independent reader. Your example will help to shape her internal dialog or self talk as she reads.

Thinking out loud is really just as simple as it sounds. If you get to a point in the story where you don’t understand something, say what you are thinking. It might sound like, “Why did they go to the store again? Let me look at that last page once more. Oh yeah, they forgot to get sugar while they were talking to their friends.” This simple technique will help your child to become very skilled at monitoring her own understanding when she is reading on her own.

5. Act It Out

Acting stories out adds a greatly needed element of play to reading with toddlers. It also helps to bring stories to life. Tots love to engage in make-believe play and will soon be independently incorporating stories into make-believe play.

You may also use dress –up clothes, figurines, toys, and puppets to help children act out stories from books. Let your kiddo choose what seems most interesting and introduce him to new ways to act stories out over time.

5 Skills to Teach your Tot that will Lead to Reading Comprehension

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Meet Lindsay:

Lindsay Drewes is a former 4th and 5th grade teacher and current stay-at home-mom and Momprenuer of Kiddo Korner. Lindsay holds both a bachelor's and master's degree in education. As founder of KiddoKorner.com, Lindsay followed her passion of mothering to research and offer the best educational, Eco-friendly and innovative products made for babies and toddlers.


Viviana is a blogging mom to a toddler and a preschooler, sharing ideas and resources for early education. She specializes in unique, hands-on printable activities that are educational, fun and inspire creativity in young minds.

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