The Comprehension Open-ended (OE) component is one that tests students’ comprehension of a given passage. They are tested by answering a series of questions in different question types. Each question may test a student’s understanding in a different way. Some questions are ‘factual’ while others are ‘inferential’.
The Comprehension Open-Ended (OE) is a component that carries the highest marks in the Paper 2 component. With such a high weightage, this is one component that we, at TF, like to spend time working on with our students. We emphasise certain steps and techniques to help them handle this component well.
To ensure that our students have a head start in English, we also work often on the Comprehension OE component with our youngest group – the Primary 2s.
Now, let us look at an example of the comprehension OE taken from the SCGS P2 English SA1 paper. Our P2 students will be working on this in the month of February.
At TF, we teach our lower primary students, The 3-step approach when working on this component.
Comprehension OE: the 3-step approach
1. Read to understand
To ensure that our students understand what they are reading, our teachers will ask them a series of questions.
Based on the above passage, we would ask questions such as :
What were the writer and Serene discussing in the first part of the lesson?
What did the writer’s mother usually do for the writer on her birthday?
The aim of asking such questions is to check if students are reading the text superficially or if they really understand what they have read. It will also allow us to introduce to them the inferential type of questions and get them to deduce the answers from what they have read.
2. Identify question types & highlight keywords and phrases in the questions
There are different question types in Comprehension OE. Most upper primary students are able to identify the different question types found in P5 & P6. Introducing lower primary students to the different question types is also a good way to help them handle this component better.
In the above comprehension OE, here are the different question types :
Q29 – Factual + Vocabulary
Q30 – Factual (questions whereby the answers are ‘easy’ to find)
Q31 – 33 – True & False
Q34 – Factual
Q35 – Vocabulary in context
Q36 – Inferential (questions whereby the answer is not in the passage. Students have to deduce the answer by reading and understanding a certain paragraph or the whole passage)
While Comprehension OE questions are mostly straightforward (factual) in lower primary, it gets more complicated in P5 & P6. Reading the questions and highlighting keywords and phrases will help students not to misread the question (careless mistake) and know the correct way to formulate an answer.
By developing good habits from a young age, our hope is that our students will automatically apply these techniques to higher-level questions in P5 & P6 and in turn score well for upper primary comprehension.
Examples of what students should highlight are :
in Q30, our students will highlight ‘why’ and ‘not allow’.
In Q31, our students will highlight ‘prepared‘ and ‘their birthdays’.
In Q35, they will highlight ‘Paragraph 5’ and ‘similar’.
3. Highlight answers
When students have understood the questions, they can then move on to the next step, which is to find their answers in the passage before writing them down.
Phrasing the answers correctly is equally important so that no essential information is missed out. Thus, our P2 teacher will guide the students on how to formulate the answers that they have found.
We hope that you found the above steps and techniques helpful!
Check the other articles from this section
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- P2 Composition – Characterisation & Model Composition
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- P2 Vocabulary List & 5 Ways to build Vocabulary
- 3 Fun Ways to get your child to do some creative writing this June holidays
- P2 Composition: 3 Writing skills that students should start developing
- Planning a composition in Primary 2
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