Comprehension Checks

Checking for Comprehension in the PPP Lesson

Comprehension checks are an important part of the PPP method of teaching. After presenting the vocabulary, the teacher needs to ensure the students understand the new words before they can go on to usefully practice them.

It is important that the teacher discovers whether or not a student has fully understood and in order to check this a teacher can make use of various comprehension checking techniques.


Comprehension checking techniques

If the teacher tried to check the comprehension of the word ‘sweets’ by simply pointing to the object of a paper bag of sugared almonds on the desk, this might give students the idea that any similar bag, whether of jellies, candy, chocolate or nuts is called ‘sweets’.

The teacher needs to differentiate between a bag of boiled sweets, a pack of chewy sweets, a bar of chocolate, nuts coated in sugar or chocolate and plain nuts etc.

It is always useful to ask some questions to check the students’ understanding of new vocabulary, words or phrases.
Comprehension ChecksExample Questions for Comprehension Checks

Comprehension check questions for the word ‘shout’:

  • Do you make a quiet sound?
  • Is it loud?
  • How are you feeling at the time?
  • How might people feel when they shout?

These questions can be answered by the students as a group or individually. From the students’ responses the teacher will be able to deduce whether or not they have grasped the concept of the word ‘shout’.


Comprehension check questions for the word ‘mansion’:

  • Can you live in it?
  • Is it big or small?
  • Would you usually be rich or poor if you lived in a mansion?

Comprehension check questions for ‘smile’

  • What am I doing?
  • Am I happy?
  • Do I feel sad?
  • How do you think I feel?
  • What is the opposite word?

Other ways to check students’ comprehension include getting students to underline the important phrases in a text in order to answer a question.

Another interesting method for checking comprehension is to print the transcript of a conversation and get students to tell you which person said which sentence. For example, a conversation in a shop between a customer and shop assistant.

You can also ask students to complete broken sentences to demonstrate their understanding of an audio or written text. For example: ‘The woman enjoys her job because ….’, ‘The driver has taken her car to the garage because …’, ‘The man went to the shop because …’

After the student has understood all the words presented – and you have checked their comprehension – they then need to practice the words and produce their new vocabulary in new situations.


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