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Comprehension in Year 2 (age 6–7)

Comprehension is the ability to read a text and understand its meaning. In Year 2, most children are well on the way to becoming fluent readers. They will be given lots of opportunities to develop their understanding of books they read and books that are read to them.

Read on to discover the National Curriculum expectations for comprehension in Year 2, and to find out how you can support your child at home.

What your child will learn

Take a look at the National Curriculum expectations for comprehension in Year 2 (age 6–7):

Listen to and talk about a range of stories and texts

Many children in Year 2 are well on the way to becoming fluent readers. They are often able to understand texts that are more complicated than those that they can read themselves.

For this reason, many of the books that teachers use for comprehension will be books that are read aloud to them. Reading for comprehension in Year 2 will involve plenty of chances for your child to:

  • discuss the sequence of events in books and how information is linked
  • learn about and retell a wider range of stories, fairy stories, and traditional tales
  • be introduced to non-fiction books that are structured in different ways
  • recognise the language used in stories and poetry
  • discuss the meaning of words.
  • learn some poems by heart and recite them with expression.

Understand the books they read and listen to

In Year 2, your child will develop their comprehension by:

  • drawing on what they already know or using information provided by their teacher
  • checking that the text makes sense to them as they read and correcting inaccurate reading
  • Talking about events in stories and why stories have the titles they do
  • Making connections based on what is said and done in a story
  • Predicting what might happen next in a story based on what has been read so far.

Talk about books and poems

Reading lessons in Year 2 give your child the chance to talk about the books that they read and that are read to them. In these discussions, children show their understanding and learn that different people have different opinions about the things that they read.

Your child might talk about books as part of a small group or with the whole class. As well as helping them understand their books better, these sessions also give them practice taking turns and listening to what other people think.

Year 2 Reading Test

In Year 2, your child’s reading will be assessed by a national assessment task (commonly called SATs), as well as by the teacher against a set of criteria from the National Curriculum.

Year 2 Reading Test

The reading test may include fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. Children answer comprehension questions to show their understanding of the texts.

There will be a mixture of question types. In some, your child will need to choose an answer (selected responses). For others, they will need to write their own answer (short and extended responses).

Find out more about the Key Stage 1 SATs >

Teacher assessment

Over the course of the year, teachers will use the reading that children do in school to inform their teacher assessment. Teachers will assess your child’s word reading and their comprehension.

How to help at home

There are lots of ways you can help your Year 2 child with comprehension. Here are our top ideas:

1. Read to your child

Reading to your child will help them to enjoy reading, to build their comprehension, and to become a confident reader themselves.

Children benefit from listening to books that they can’t read themselves yet, as they will see and hear adventurous language and ideas that they might not have encountered in their independent reading. Non-fiction books about the things they’re interested in and longer stories are both great for expanding your child’s reading horizons.

2. Choose a wide range of books

Try to read your child a mix of fiction and non-fiction, real stories and magical stories, familiar characters and new experiences. Sometimes you might choose the book, sometimes they might choose the book and sometimes you might read both!

Browse our book recommendations to help you find the right book to share with your child.

Our free eBook library has lots of books perfect for younger readers.

 3. Continue to listen to your child reading

In Year 2, your child will probably bring home a book to read aloud to you. This is likely to be a levelled reading scheme book, matched to their current level of reading, although by the end of the year they may have free choice of the book that they take home.

As you listen to your child read, help them to decode any unfamiliar words and encourage them to keep going. The best advice is: be patient and be impressed!

It’s sometimes good to get your child to re-read a sentence or even a page if it has been tricky to work out. This helps with meaning, flow and confidence – we all still have to do this sometimes!

4. Talk about books, stories, words, and pictures

Asking your child questions can help them to think about what they’re reading. Try to ask open questions that begin with ‘how’ and ‘why’. If you can, try to get your child to go back to the text and pictures to tell you how they know the answer.

Talking about what is happening in a picture, what the characters might be thinking, or what might happen next all help to develop reading skills.

Copyright Oxford University Press 2020