As parents, we always want what’s best for our children. We try to provide them with the best that the world has to offer so that they are equipped with the right skills and traits to overcome whatever comes their way. We guide them in their homework, we give them reading comprehension exercises, and we do anything and everything we can to help them grow.
We focus on building our children’s intelligence. But future success goes beyond just mere intelligence. EQ is just as important as a high IQ. With that in mind, it is nurturing a combination of mental, physical and emotional development in our children that should be our goal as parents.
What Exactly Is Comprehension?
Reading and comprehension may be words that are often used together, but they are not the same thing. Reading refers to the ability to decode text into words or spoken words. Comprehension is about understanding and processing words and language.
Comprehension skills are crucial to your child’s future. It helps children enjoy reading and is an effective way to improve their academic performance. But it is also a tool of discovery that they can use for their entire life.
Imagine your child reading through an employment contract, and not able to understand what is written. Or reading a book and being unable to learn the important life lessons contained within. Regardless of the profession your children choose in the coming decades ahead, comprehension plays an important role.
Improving your child’s comprehension skills are easier than you think. Watch out for important milestones, practice these exercises and provide your children with the right diet and nutrition and they will be on their way to a bright future.
The child goes through the most changes in their early years. Building blocks for better comprehension skills start as early as now.
At one year old, they will communicate by pointing, using sign language and babbling. Even though your child is not saying anything, he is comprehending more than you think. Try talking about her favourite food or toy and see a smile come across his face. This is a sign that your child has started comprehending.1
How can I help my one-year-old comprehend better?
- Speak to him as much as possible, particularly when you are bathing, feeding or changing him. This is the time when you have his full and undivided attention.
- Try describing things, pointing at things and telling him about what’s happening around him.
- Use simple and clear language such as “This is a red ball,” so your child starts making associations.
Fun and Games
Your toddler is growing by leaps and bounds at this stage. By age two, most toddlers have a vocabulary of 50 words or more, are able to put together two to three-word phrases and comprehend simple instructions like “Go here,” and “Put the ball down.”1
How can I help my two-year-old comprehend better?
- From 12-24 months, exploration is at the heart of every child’s mind and play becomes a crucial step for learning and developing.2 Take advantage of this and incorporate play when trying to teach your toddlers new words.
- Start with nursery rhymes like “head, shoulder, knees and toes” to teach them about their body.
- You can also try placing photos of different animals around the house. Then, encourage your child to match the animal to the correct animal noise you make.
- Try making learning all about fun and games at this stage.
Look Who’s Talking
Your three-year-old is a great conversationalist. He probably has some 600 to 900 words in his vocabulary by now.3 This is also the stage when he starts communicating his emotions and feelings. And you can look forward to him delighting you with stories of how his day went every day.
How can I help my three-year-old comprehend better?
- Start off by making sure you have one-on-one time with your child. Have conversations with him about how his day went.
- If he stumbles upon a word or two, reaffirm him and correct the sentence.
- Books are your best friend. Three-year-olds hear three times the number of rare words in books compared to what he hears in conversations.4
When we speak of language comprehension in four-year-olds, we are talking about understanding spoken words and sentences on a greater scale. This is when preschoolers develop their vocabulary and learn about language structure.
How can I help my four-year-old comprehend better?
- Read out loud with your finger or a ruler skimming through the words.
- Take turns reading out loud. This will help him slow down and focus on the words. That way, he’s not only reading the words but listening to them too.5
Ready for the Future
By the age of five, 90% of your child’s brain growth is already complete.6 Most children this age have greater self-control and display creativity. They are also more independent and are content with playing with their toys alone, without adult supervision. They are also able to express their emotions and frustrations more articulately. 7
How can I help my five-year-old comprehend better?
- By now, you know that reading-time with your child is very important. Keep it up, and don’t stop!
- Have adult-like conversations with your five-year-old. Asking him questions before, during and after the story is a great way to ensure your child is able to comprehend.
- Ask him to repeat stories you read to him on his own words. This is a great way to make sure he understood the story.
6 Lenroot RK and Giedd JN.Neuroscienceand Biobehavioral Reviews 2006;30:718-729