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Reading Comprehension

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Comprehension is the ability of students to understand what they read, remember it, and discuss it. Comprehension is the reason for reading.


Research Indicates

1. Teachers should read aloud daily to their students.


2. Text comprehension can be improved by instruction that help readers use specific comprehension strategies. Effective comprehension strategy instruction is explicit or direct.


3. Comprehension should be progress monitored. Students who are good at monitoring their comprehension know when they understand what they read and when they don’t.


4. Teacher questioning strongly supports and advances students' learning from reading. Discussion should proceed through Bloom’s Taxonomy. Require students to use their prior knowledge, metacognition, and higher-level thinking skills. HOT Questions require Higher Order Thinking.


5. Students need to learn to recognize story structure. Story structure refers to the way the context and events of a story are organized into a plot. In story structure instruction, students learn to identify setting, initiating events, internal reactions, goals, and outcomes, sequence of events.


6. Students need to learn to summarize or synthesize the important ideas in a text. Summarizing requires students to determine what is important in what they are reading, to condense the information, and to put it into their own words.


7. Graphic organizers illustrate concepts and relationships among concepts in a text. Graphic organizers help students focus on text structure as they read and helps students to visually represent relationships in the text.


8. The teacher should model and have students practice thinking aloud as they read. This should be done routinely, and may also be practiced through book talks or when discussing books with your students during student-teacher conferences.



Effective comprehension strategy instruction is explicit, or direct. Research shows that explicit teaching techniques are particularly effective for comprehension strategy instruction. In explicit instruction, teachers tell readers why and when they should use strategies, what strategies to use, and how to apply them.


The steps of explicit instruction typically include direct explanation, teacher modeling ("thinking aloud"), guided practice, and application.

•Direct explanation. The teacher explains to students why the strategy helps comprehension and when to apply the strategy.

•Modeling. The teacher models, or demonstrates, how to apply the strategy, usually by "thinking aloud" while reading the text that the students are using.

•Guided practice. The teacher guides and assists students as they learn how and when to apply the strategy.

•Application. The teacher helps students practice the strategy until they can apply it independently.


The Strategies


1. Monitoring Comprehension


2. Using Graphic organizers


3. Answering questions


4. Generating Questions

a. Before – During – After Reading (BDA) Strategies

b. Think Alouds


5. Recognizing story structure/Structure of informational text


6. Summarizing / Retelling

a. writing

b. drama

c. oral

d. drawing


7. Activating Prior Knowledge


8. Making Connections

a. Text-to-Text

b. Text-to-Self

c. Text-to-World



9. Predicting









Resources for Graphic Organizers

  • __Great teaching with graphic organizers : lessons and fun-shaped templates that motivate kids of all learning styles__by Drapeau, Patti. Published 1998
  • __First graphic organizers. Reading by Silver, Rhonda Graff. Published 2003
  • __Nonfiction passages with graphic organizers for independent practice. Grades 4 and up by Boynton, Alice Benjamin. Published 2004
  • __Introducing nonfiction writing in the early grades__ by Mahoney, Jodi Weisbart. Published 2002
  • http://teacher.scholastic.com/lessonplans/graphicorg/
  • Mosaic of Thought at The Reading Lady http://www.readinglady.com/mosaic/tools/tools.htm

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