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Understanding the Meaning of Readings: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Bethany Calderwood

Bethany has taught special education in grades PK-5 and has a master's degree in special education.

Reading is fun, but it can also be work. When you read, it is important to understand and remember what you have read. This lesson will give you steps for understanding a narrative.

Reading a Narrative

Have you ever struggled to understand something you read? Have you ever been asked to answer questions about a passage you have read? Many passages you read are narratives. A narrative tells a story. It can be a true story, or it can be fiction. Here are steps to help you read and understand a narrative.

1. Identify the type of narrative.

Is it fiction or nonfiction? It might be a journal, a letter, an article, or a chapter from a novel. Each type of narrative gives different information.

2. Look for headings in the narrative.

Reading the headings before you begin gives you a preview of the material, and prepares you to read attentively.

3. Read the text.

4. Identify the narrator.

Is the narrative written in first person, using ''I'' and ''me,'' or is it written in third person, using ''they'' and ''she/he''? Do you know anything about the narrator?

5. Identify the audience.

Many authors write for a specific person or group. A letter might be written to a friend, or an article might be written to readers of a specific magazine.

6. Look for main ideas.

A main idea is what the author or narrator says is most important in the narrative. A story about summer vacation could focus on the beautiful beach, or it could focus on the narrator's new friend.

7. Note the sequence of events.

An important part of understanding a narrative is getting a clear idea of what happened first, next, and last in the story.

8. Determine the purpose of the narrative.

Why did the author write this? Or why is the narrator telling this story?

A Practice Narrative

You have probably been told not to write in books. However, if you are taking a test with a reading passage and multiple choice questions, you might want to use a pencil or highlighter to highlight important words or phrases. Look at the sample passage. This is the beginning of a passage that might be on a reading comprehension test. Let's go through the steps of reading a narrative together and see what we learn.

Sample Passage
sample passage

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