What are comprehension skills?

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Reading requires understanding, or comprehending, the meaning of print. Readers must develop certain skills that will help them comprehend what they read and use this as an aid to reading.


Comprehensibility in writing is related to comprehension in reading.


Comprehension skills are the ability to use context and prior knowledge to aid reading and to make sense of what one reads and hears


Comprehension is based on:

  • knowledge that reading makes sense
  • readers' prior knowledge
  • information presented in the text, and
  • the use of context to assist recognition of words and meaning.

Here are some examples of reading comprehension skills:

  • Understanding that print conveys meaning
  • Using context as an aid to reading


    Being able to fill in the correct words in expressions such as the following:

    • “Open the d...”
    • “Tell me a st...”
  • Using prior knowledge as an aid to reading

    This might come from a picture or other prior knowledge.

  • Using predictability as an aid to reading

    This is helped by rhyme, alliteration and other associated pairs of words.


    Being able to predict the correct word in phrases like the following:

    • “men and w...“
    • “fork and sp...“
    • “mother and f...”

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