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Childhood - Teaching Approaches - Text Comprehension Instruction

Text Comprehension Instruction

Comprehension is the reason for reading. If readers can read the words but do not understand what they are
reading, they are not really reading. Good readers are both purposeful (they have a reason to read) and active
(they think to make sense of what they read). Research over 30 years has shown that instruction in
comprehension can help students understand what they read, remember what they read, and communicate with others
about what they read.

Here are some of the highlights from the evidence-based research on text comprehension instruction:

  • Text comprehension can be improved by instruction that helps readers use specific comprehension
    strategies.
    Those strategies include monitoring comprehension, using graphic and semantic organizers,
    answering questions, generating questions, recognizing story structure, and summarizing.
  • Students can be taught to use comprehension strategies. Effective comprehension strategy
    instruction should be explicit, or direct (through direct explanation, modeling, guided practice, and help
    with application of a strategy). Cooperative learning can be an effective comprehension strategy as well.
    Productive instruction helps readers use comprehension strategies flexibly and in combination.
  • Comprehension strategy instruction can begin in the primary grades. Teachers should emphasize
    comprehension from the beginning rather than waiting until students have mastered "the basics" of
    reading.