The P4 Comprehension sections of the Paper 2 can sometimes be challenging for students. Some students may grapple with understanding a more complicated passage, inferring answers, and then answering accurately.

In today’s post, I will discuss the Comprehension techniques that we use to guide our Primary 4 students and we will take a look at two common Primary 4 Comprehension types and how to answer them.

There are several techniques students can use to master this component in Primary 4. At Thinking Factory, we guide our students to use these easy 5 steps.

5 Steps To Master The P4 Comprehension

Step 1 – Read To Understand

Simply reading a passage like a page from a storybook won’t help students answer the questions accurately. At TF we emphasise that students need to read with understanding. We check that our students have understood the passage by asking them questions about it orally. Questions we ask them can be factual (literal), inferential, and cause and effect. This is to allow them to get used to the different question types that they will see again and again in their Comprehension component.

Step 2 – Identify Question Types

At TF, we believe that identifying different question types should start from the Primary 4 year. This will allow students to progress smoothly to the Primary 5 year, when Comprehension Open-ended becomes a more challenging component.

When students can identify the type of question they need to answer, they can also learn how to answer it more accurately.

Step 3 – Highlighting Keywords In The Questions

Sometimes students tend to miss out on important keywords in a question. Instead of picking out a ‘two-word phrase’ they pick out a phrase with four words. Instead of choosing ‘a sentence’ they choose ‘a phrase’. Instead of explaining WHY the writer did something, they describe WHAT the writer did.

Teaching students to take the time to look for keywords in a question can be extremely helpful in not losing marks unnecessarily.

Step 4 – Annotating Your Passage

At TF we time our P4 students as they look for their answers in the passage. We instruct them that during the 5 minutes given, they will need to focus on searching for their answers or clues to their answers in their passage. This allows them to think about the most suitable answer for each question.

Step 5 – Answering Accurately

When they have completed annotating their passages, they can then fill in their answers to their questions and focus on accurately answering the questions.

Let’s take a look at a common P4 Comprehension question type and how we can answer it.

Reference Question Type

This question type appears in the Comprehension Open-ended component for students from Primary 3 to Primary 6. While it may not appear consistently in the P3 and P4 comprehension components, it is a question type worth learning to answer correctly. In P5 and P6, the reference question type appears in a table form with a weightage of 3 marks or higher.

A reference question requires students to answer what a pronoun refers to. It usually refers to a noun (person or object) in Primary 3 and Primary 4 comprehension texts.

When answering the Reference question type, we always remind our students of the following :

  • The noun the pronoun refers to isn’t always on the same line in the passage as the pronoun asked. Students need to look at the lines in the passage above or even below to find the answer,
  • Students should remember to answer fully. Instead of just ‘tree’, they should answer ‘the magical tree’.
  • An example of a Reference question type is below. The passage and questions were taken from a Primary 4 End-of-the-year Top School Paper.
Reading Comprehension Vocabulary English Worksheet in Colorful Minimalist Style
Source: Top School paper

‘Them’ in line 5 refers to ‘the branches of the magical tree’ or ‘the magical tree’s branches’. The answer is not found on the same line but two lines above in line 3.

‘It’ in line 9 refers to ‘the magical tree’. In this example, the answer can be found on the same line. However, students need to answer fully by being precise about which tree the ‘it’ refers to and they have to do so by adding the word ‘magical’.

Practising reference question types is a great way for P4 students to understand the importance of reading and understanding a passage (Step 1) before annotating the passage to find their answer (Step 4). They will also practise answering questions fully and precisely so as not to lose unnecessary marks (Step 5).

Please check our library of articles on English Paper2 components to further help your child mastering the English language.

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