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English Reading Comprehension

Prim-Ed Publishing’s range of reading comprehension resources supports the National Curriculum. Select from a wide variety of books, worksheets, games and activities that are sure to make lessons engaging and enjoyable for the whole class.

English comprehension is the ability to read a text and understand its meaning. As part of learning to read, children will learn about reading comprehension throughout their time at primary school.

It is an important skill to develop and includes being able to work out the meaning of words and phrases, follow the argument and see how the pieces of writing fit together. Good English comprehension and reading skills are essential for success in school and in life.

What is the meaning of comprehension?

Reading comprehension is the ability to process and understand written language. This includes understanding the relationships between different ideas in the text, as well as being able to draw inferences from the information presented.


Why it's important to learn English comprehension

Reading comprehension is a key skill for success in school and beyond. Good comprehension skills are essential for being able to understand different types of texts, including fiction, non-fiction books and manuals. These skills also help with identifying the main idea of a text, as well as making inferences and drawing conclusions.

Foundation skill

One reason reading comprehension is so important is that it is the foundation for all other academic subjects. In order to do well in science, history, or maths, pupils need to be able to read and understand texts in English. Even before they begin school, children who have a strong grasp of English comprehension are more likely to excel academically.

Critical thinking

Another reason why reading comprehension is so important is that it helps children develop critical thinking skills. To understand a text, readers must be able to analyse and interpret information. This process helps children learn how to think deeply about what they read, a valuable skill that will serve them well throughout their lives.


Finally, reading comprehension is important because it helps children develop vocabulary and communication skills. The more exposure children have to fiction and non-fiction texts, the more words they will learn. This will help them not only in their school work but also in their everyday lives as they communicate with others.
For all these reasons, it is clear that reading comprehension is essential for children to learn.


The benefits of teaching reading comprehension strategies to primary school pupils

Poor comprehension abilities can have a major impact on a pupil's educational attainment. Even if you know all the words, if you cannot follow the author's train of thought, you will not be able to comprehend the text.

Being able to use a range of reading comprehension strategies helps pupils become better readers as they can work out the meaning of texts for themselves when they encounter unfamiliar words or ideas.

It is therefore essential that pupils are taught how to use reading comprehension strategies effectively so that they can become independent, motivated and successful readers.


Teaching strategies for the classroom

There are a number of reading comprehension strategies that teachers can use to support pupils in becoming good at comprehension. These can be used as part of English lessons to help learners improve their vocabulary and understand texts.

  • Encouraging pupils to ask themselves questions about the text as they read it. This will help them to focus on the key ideas in the text and make sure they understand what they are reading.
  • Teaching pupils how to summarise the main points in a text. This will help them to identify the most important information and remember it more easily.
  • Helping pupils to visualise what is happening in the text. This will make the story or information easier to remember and understand.
  • Encouraging pupils to make connections between what they are reading and their own life experiences.


Reading comprehension skills

In the reading comprehension classroom, pupils are explicitly taught different strategies to help them acquire a range of specific comprehension skills. The twelve comprehension reading skills are

  • understanding words
  • finding information
  • identifying the main idea
  • sequencing
  • finding similarities and differences
  • predicting
  • concluding
  • summarising
  • inferring
  • cause and effect
  • fact or opinion
  • point of view and purpose

Each comprehension skill is important for literacy success and pupils need to be taught how to use each reading comprehension strategy effectively in order to develop strong reading skills.

Good readers use a variety of reading comprehension strategies flexibly, depending on the type of text they are reading and the purpose of reading.


Activities to improve reading comprehension skills

When it comes to reading comprehension, practice makes perfect. By providing pupils with opportunities to read and comprehend texts on a daily basis, teachers can help them develop the skills they need to be successful readers.

There are a variety of activities that can be done individually, in pairs or in small groups, such as:

  • Summarising: After reading a text, have pupils summarise what they have read in their own words. This will help them to identify the main ideas and identify important details.
  • Asking questions: Before, during, and after reading, have pupils generate questions about the text. This will help them stay engaged with the material and think critically about what they are reading.
  • Visualising: Have pupils create mental images of the scenes and events in the text. This will help them to understand better and remember the story.
  • Retelling: Another useful activity is to have pupils retell a story or event after reading it. This helps them to identify the main ideas and to understand the sequence of events. Additionally, pupils can be asked to identify cause and effect relationships within a text.
  • Finding the main idea: This involves identifying the most important information in a text. This can be done by looking at the title, headings and subheadings, as well as the first and last paragraphs.

These activities help improve reading skills and comprehension by encouraging pupils to think critically about what they have read.

By incorporating these activities into your daily lesson plan, you can help your pupils develop the reading comprehension skills they need to be successful in school and in life.


English comprehension resources for teachers

Prim-Ed Publishing's collection of reading comprehension and English resources are designed to explicitly teach reading comprehension strategies and skills, supporting teachers in the delivery of reading comprehension lessons. The resources are mapped to the National Curriculum requirements for reading in England and can be used across Reception to Year 7.

The series in Prim-Ed Publishing's comprehension range include:


Reading comprehension worksheets, photocopiable books, activities and games

Literacy games, activities and books are also available. These can be used in guided reading sessions or as independent reading tasks during whole-class teaching.

The games and activities focus on different aspects of reading such as

  • word reading
  • retrieval
  • inference skills
  • deduction
  • prediction

Some of the unique titles in the range are:

  • Thinking Skills Through Comprehension - a two-book series suitable for middle and upper primary classes. The books feature challenging and stimulating activities that provide pupils with a chance to use their 'detective skills' to solve mysteries.
  • Comprehension for Independent Readers - a two-book book series that focuses on literal, inferential and evaluative comprehension using a range of different texts from posters to poetry, to fiction, non-fiction and comic books. The series is suitable for middle primary and upper primary.
  • Reading Comprehension - a fiction-based resource with original and entertaining short stories that children will love, filled with questions and drawing activities. The titles are suitable for junior, middle and upper primary classes: Tales to Make You Smile, Tales With a Moral and Tales For a Dark Night.

The resources provide support for teachers to deliver reading comprehension lessons that meet the needs of all learners. The materials can be used with individuals, small groups or whole classes. They are also ideal for homework tasks and interventions.


Resources to support the National Curriculum

To help teachers teach reading comprehension effectively, Prim-Ed's reading comprehension resources and worksheets are designed to support the National Curriculum for English. They can be used with individuals, small groups or whole classes. The materials are also ideal for homework tasks and learning interventions.


Supporting your child's reading skills

There are a number of things that parents can do at home to support their child's reading comprehension learning and development:

  • Read with your child every day, model good reading behaviours such as using expression and asking questions about the text as you read.
  • Help your child to understand new words by teaching them how to use a dictionary.
  • Encourage your child to read various texts, including fiction and non-fiction.
  • Help their child to choose books that are appropriate for their age and interests.
  • Talk about the stories you have read together and encourage your child to ask questions.

If you are looking for ways to help your pupils become better readers, browse our latest products for your school, or contact us to find out more.


Frequently asked questions


Some examples of comprehension questions are: 'What does this word mean?', 'Where is the character in the story?', 'What would happen if...?'

Some reading comprehension strategies for pupils are: retelling the story, making connections, predicting what will happen next and visualising.

Reading comprehension is important because it helps children understand what they read. It also helps them to make connections between what they read and their own lives.

Activities that can help develop reading skills and comprehension are:

  • encouraging children to read aloud;
  • talking about books, stories, words and pictures with them;
  • asking questions about what they have read; and
  • helping them to make predictions about what will happen next in a story.

Prim-Ed Publishing offers reading comprehension worksheets and teacher resources to support the primary curriculum. These resources are designed to help teachers with planning and assessment. They can also be used at home to support the development of comprehension skills.

You can support reading comprehension at home by talking about books, stories, words and pictures with your child. You can also ask them questions about what they have read and help them to make predictions about what will happen next in a story.