For weeks, Lily’s teacher has been pushing for me to ask Lily more reading comprehension questions. The teacher claims that while Lily is able to read very fluently for her age, Lily needs work on her reading comprehension. She claims that when she tested Lily’s reading, Lily bombed the reading comprehension questions.
I’ve been confused about this for a while because whenever I ask Lily questions about what we read, she’s able to retell most of the story. Maybe I am asking the wrong questions?
Needless to say, I was curious as to what an official kindergarten reading comprehension question would be. Today was the first time Lily brought home official reading comprehension questions from school, and I’m even more baffled by reading comprehension than ever before. The questions were almost unanswerable for me, a 34 year old English major who went on to get an MA in journalism. I should be able to answer kindergarten reading comprehension questions without much thought, right?
In an effort not to break copyright laws, I will rephrase the book right here for you. Don’t worry, it’s shorter than everything I’ve already written.
He walks to the bus.
He walks to the train.
He walks to the boat.
He walks to the plane.
He walks to the school.
He walks to the store.
He walks home.
It was accompanied by illustrations of a boy walking all of these places.
If you were to ask me what this book was about, I’d say it was about a boy who walked a bunch of places and you’d probably agree that I had grasped the concept of the book, right? I mean, there was no plot to remember. There were no important details. It was just a boy walking places.
But here are the reading comprehension questions for this book:
1) What happened at the beginning?
2) What happened in the middle?
3) What happened at the end?
Apparently it’s CRUCIAL to remember the order of the places this guy walked? Was she supposed to memorize the list in order? I honestly couldn’t remember the order myself. He walked some places, none interesting.
Lily told me one place he walked for each question and I hope that was good enough, but was she just supposed to rewrite the entire book? Is it really important to remember that he went to the train before he went to the boat if nothing happened either place?
Then comes the most baffling reading comprehension question of the bunch.
4) Where did this story take place? (setting)
Where did this story take place?! The boy was in a different location in every single picture. No permanent location is indicated in the text. He’s going from place to place. Is this a trick question? I don’t understand!
Lily and I thought about this question for a long time and I honestly don’t know what the correct answer is. We eventually decided the answer was “He was walking outside.” It took all my effort not to end that sentence with a question mark (I was supposed to write down what she said.).
If this was the sort of sample Lily was given for her reading comprehension screening at school, no wonder she bombed the thing.