Integrating Daily Life with Reading Comprehension

Did you know there are many questions you could ask your child during common, daily activities that would reinforce a reading skill? Below are just a few scenarios.

1. Riding Around Town

a. Have your child name beginning, middle, or ending letters and sounds for the names of stores, streets, and auto tags. Reverse the questioning by saying you see a store beginning with a certain letter or sound and ask your child which one it is.
b. Reinforce sequencing by telling a couple of letters in a store or street name and asking which one comes next.
c. Practice classifying by asking how many restaurants, clothing stores, pet stores, etc. your child sees on a block or in a shopping center. Instead of how many, ask your child to name them.
d. To reinforce adjectives and nouns, have your child describe what he sees using as many of the five senses as possible.
e. Take this opportunity to practice left and right!! When approaching an intersection, ask which way you are going to turn and do not accept "That way!" as an answer!

2. Going Grocery Shopping

a. Read the ingredients of a product. Which is the most prevalent? (Clue: The answer is the first ingredient listed.)
b. Find the nutrition information on the label. How much sugar, or anything else, is in the product?
c. Locate the cooking directions. Will you be able to microwave the item? If you have to prepare it and have only 30 minutes to do so, will you have enough time if you buy this product?
d. How is the store laid out? Make a rough diagram when you get home. Will you find apples where the cereal is? Will you find spaghetti on an aisle labeled Pasta?
e. Compare two similar products for nutrition value, time to prepare, price, etc. Which is the healthiest? Which is the better value?

3. Going to a Restaurant

a. The menu is a great teaching tool! Have your child read the name of the 3rd vegetable, the description of the 8th entree, the price of the 5th dessert, etc.
b. Read the name of a food, yourself, and ask your child to read the description; or read the description and ask for the name of the food.
c. Choose your entree and describe it. Is there anything sweet in it? Spicy? Review adjectives and nouns and be specific (ie: instead of big hamburger, try extra-large hamburger).
d. Compare two entrees for same and different ingredients.
e. Predict how a new entree or vegetable will taste.
f. For math, estimate the total cost and the amount of tax. Do NOT use a calculator!

4. Watching TV and/or Movies

a. What a great way to reinforce reading schedules! Use the TV Guide or newspaper for these answers. What starts on Tuesday at 8 PM on channel 4? When does that show end?
b. Tell your child the name of a show that you watch on Friday. Use the schedule to find the channel and time it starts. Try naming a program your child does not watch so he will not automatically know the answer.
c. If you are allowed to watch only one TV show, but there are two you would like to see, what will be the criteria for which one you choose? Reinforce critical thinking!
d. Read the description of a particular episode. Can you determine if it will be funny or scary? What will make you decide if you are going to watch it?
e. At the beginning of the show, predict the outcome. At the end, were you right? During a commercial, ask your child to predict what will happen in the next scene.
f. Practice summarizing by writing or telling a synopsis of the show when it is over. Make sure to answer the who, what, where, when, and why questions.
g. Describe, in detail, a particular character. How would you change him?

Rather than having a 30-minute lesson, questions should be sprinkled throughout the day, especially in the summer and on vacation! This will keep your children on their toes but not bore them!

I hope these ideas have been useful and have inspired your own creativity.

And remember...Reading is FUNdamental!!

About the Author

Freda J. Glatt, MS, retired from teaching after a 34-year career in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Her focus, now, is to reach out and help others reinforce reading comprehension and develop a love for reading. Visit her site at Reading is FUNdamental!