The Development of Comprehension precedes the Ability to be able to Read with Comprehension

When a baby is born we are so delighted and welcome him / her into the world with love, care and the excitement to teach him / her all kinds of things. This happens mostly through touching and the words of our own language.

We love, talk, sing, nurture, praise and tell our babies all sorts of stories through the wonderful sounds of our very familiar voice that they know already from before birth. This is actually the beginning of the baby’s language skills and comprehension skills.

Day by day we as parents reinforce these very important skills through talking to our children in normal simplified, explanatory adult language, right from the start. When using baby language a different set of sounds and words are taught which must be converted later into proper adult language, which make it a double task for the child. Each language is rich in petting words and rhymes and it is fun to make up your own rhymes.

Comprehension is a developing process. The comprehension of words, concepts and expressions of a language is part of the developing process and is an important building block in obtaining the ability to speak and read with comprehension.

When a new learner has a solid background of the comprehension of words, concepts and expressions through rhymes, songs and stories, it is so much easier to learn letter sounds that form all different kinds of new sounds and words that sentences can be built with.

A rich, full understanding vocabulary gives every learner a head start when learning to read for the first time. The ability to read with comprehension and fluency is the foundation of learning.

 “When we read aloud to children, we fill the air and their ears with the sound of languageLaminack & Wadsworth (2006).

By reading stories aloud to children we:

  • increase listening and talking skills
  • promote vocabulary and comprehension
  • build background knowledge, (Adams et al., 1994:86), (Laminack et al., 2006), (Morrow et al.,1990:25:213-231), (Delacruz 2013:21-27), Fountas et al., 2006)
  • model structures of print,
  • model language use and the listener gains understanding for grammar (Trelease, 2001). Meyer et al., 1994:88:69-85) (Mikul. 2015).


Adams, M. J. 1994. Beginning to read: Thinking and learning about print. Cambridge Mass: MT Press.

Delacruz, S. 2013. Using interactive read-alouds to increase K-2 students’ reading comprehension. Journal of Reading Education, 38(3):21-27.

Fountas, I. C., & Pinnell, G. S. 2006. Teaching for comprehending and fluency: Thinking, talking, and writing about reading, K-8. Portsmouth NH: Heinemann.

Laminack, L. L., & Wadsworth, R. M. 2006. Learning under the influence of language and literature: Making the most of read-alouds across the day. Portsmouth NH: Heinemann.

Meyer, L. A., Stahl, S. A., & Wardrop, J. L. 1994. Effects of reading storybooks aloud to children. Journal of Educational Research, 88:69-85.

Mikul, L. L. 2015. How Do Interactive Read-Alouds Promote Engagement and Oral Language Development in Kindergarten. School of Education. Paper 116.

Morrow, L. M., & Smith, J. K. 1990. The effects of group size on interactive storybook reading. Reading Research Quarterly, 25:213-231.

Trelease, J. 2001. The read-aloud handbook. New York, N.Y: Penguin Books.


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