Teaching children written as well as verbal language is a fundamental part of their education. Help 4- and 5-year-olds learn more about language by implementing comprehension activities. They should help you gauge how much and what type of information a student is understanding and retaining.
Read a book to the 4- and 5-year-olds and ask them questions to judge how much of the information they understand and retain. Ask students questions before, during and after reading a text. Read the title and show students the cover art of a book and ask them what they think the book is about. Ask them to make predictions about the text. Engage students in a discussion about the way a character feels or how they might feel in a similar situation. At the end of the book, ask children to summarize the material and offer an opinion about the book.
Help children comprehend more about the written word they are hearing through related crafts. Read a book and plan a craft that will reinforce the subject matter of the book. For instance, read the story of "Cinderella." Then engage children in a craft about the story, such as creating a "glass slipper" out of clay or making a clock that is about to strike midnight out of a paper plate.
Help children learn more about story construction by engaging them in writing their own stories. Give each 4- or 5-year-old child a picture that was pulled from a magazine. Glue the picture to a piece of paper and then ask them to write a short story about the image. Encourage them to start with an introduction and then include a body and a conclusion. This exercise will help children learn more about how a story is structured and will help them recognize story components in stories they read.
Other Language Comprehension Activities
Write and read a paragraph of instructions to children and judge how well they are able to comprehend the information. After reading the paragraph, ask children to perform the assigned tasks. For instance, read a paragraph that tells children to spin three times, touch their toes and hop seven times. See how many instructions they are able to remember. Another way to help children comprehend language is to ask them to generate a list of synonyms for a word in a book. For instance, choose the word "big." Then ask children to come up with words that mean the same thing, such as "huge," "large" or "giant."
Stephanie Kelley has been writing articles and columns online for SGM Radio and SGN Scoops Digital since 2005. She has a Bachelor of Arts in art history/anthropology from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. and writes on a number of topics including art, frugal living, children and travel.