Comprehensions are one of those activities that I just love. I see them as a big valued added activity for the kids. Working through a comprehension means the kids are reading, practicing their writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation. While also having to apply logic and understanding when figuring out what the questions are asking and then formulating their answer. But as much as the home educator in me loves comprehensions I also remember that when I was a kid they were not one of my favourite activities. So I try and choose comprehensions that are going to interest the kids. For us that has meant mostly non-fiction comprehensions, ones that normally tie into a project or topic that the kids are already working on.
For example my daughter has been learning about Biomes as part of her Year 7 Geography and because we work on topics together my younger son has also been learning about the different Biomes. But he is 2.5 years younger so when she was busy answering some of the worksheets on Rainforest Biomes he had a go at the Rainforest comprehension and for this week I have just printed out a Desert comprehension for him (ooh and I just spotted a Great Barrier Reef one which might tie in with Ocean Biomes).
Having resources that I can adapt for two different ages is a big deal for me, my kids like to learn about topics together and it makes it a lot easier for me if we can all work on something as a unit and then just adapt it slightly for their different ages. Which is one of the main reasons I have been using the Twinkl comprehensions for about 6 years now. I love that they include different options for the comprehensions, it allows you to use the same comprehension with kids working at different levels or ages. Most of the Twinkl comprehensions come with three different texts on the subject and three different sets of questions (I really do appreciate the choice they give).
And we have not only used their comprehensions for Geography topics, we tend to use them for everything.
We love the History ones, both the ones about historical events and historical figures (the photos below are from the Shakepeare and Queen Victoria comprehensions).
One of the first History themed comprehensions that my daughter ever did was The Great Fire of London, which was years ago, she looks so young in the photo.
And we have kept using the History comprehensions. They have served not only as a great revision of a topic we have learnt about but allowed me to get my history obsessed daughter to do a lot of English practice while she works on her favourite subject (although I am not supposed to call anything History related a subject because according to her the word subject sounds boring and History is amazing). We have found some gems for History including Romans, Medieval Castles, Tudors – lots on the Tudors, we loved that they included comprehensions on all of Henry’s wives (eg Jane Seymour) and through to the World Wars.
I could go on and on about the different History ones just because my daughter enjoys doing these comprehensions.
And Science, they have a wide range of Science topics to choose from. There are lots of animal linked comprehensions on the site – in fact those were the first comprehensions that my son ever tried – he loved the hedgehogs, leopards, snakes, sharks and more recently the humpback whale one oh and of course the British wildlife set – he happily worked through all of those just because he wanted to learn more about the local wildlife.
My son has never been a keen writer but the earlier comprehensions they have on their site (look for Key Stage 1), have nice simple questions that do not require long answers. I often used their Key Stage 1 comprehensions when he was younger as it allowed him to participate without him getting frustrated.
But it is not just animal Science that they cover (although that seems to be where we are always looking). They also have some interesting Human Biology ones – like the Digestive System one and space themed ones – like the Moon
I never thought I would say I love comprehensions, but I do. For me it is a great way of working on English skills while still learning about topics that the kids find interesting and I can often find comprehensions they allow us to work together, even though the kids are 2.5 years apart.
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