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Comprehension involves the reader to comprehend each word they read and
make meaningful sentences from those words. Readers can then comprehend
meaning out of those sentences to form an understanding of the text (Wood
& Connelly,2009, p59-60).It is a complex process of making meaning through
interaction and involvement with the written text (Fellowes & Oakley, 2010,
p267). To be successful at reading comprehension readers need to
understand that texts need to make sense and fulfil a purpose.
Comprehension is a skill that needs to be taught, not only do readers need to
understand how to comprehend language but also be able to self-monitor
and orchestrate the skills and knowledge they have (Fellowes & Oakley,
2010, p267).
The Australian Curriculum states that by year 4 students should be able to
comprehend literacies in order to Make connections between the ways
different authors may represent similar storylines, ideas and relationships
(Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority [ACARA], 2014).
As well as also being able to Use comprehension strategies to build literal
and inferred meaning to expand content knowledge, integrating and linking
ideas and analysing and evaluating texts. This can be done through the
domain of English but also in other domains such as History.
After reading a non-fictional text First Australians: The Story of Indigenous
Australia by Karin Cox, students are introduced to a lesson on Australian
History and English. As a lesson to encourage children to improve and
understand comprehension, whilst learning about the Early Australian
settlers and the First Australians, students are asked to create a fictional
comic strip based on actual fact. Through this activity students are
encouraged to comprehend what they have read and differ between the
difference of a non-fiction text and a fictional text. The students will need to
problem solve in order to come up with a story that is fictional but relates to a
non-fiction book, sequence events in the layout of a narrative, as their comic
will need a beginning a middle and an end. In order to do this students need
to re-examine the facts and synthesis using blooms taxonomy theory to
create new ideas from old concepts (Williams, 1996, p83). As well as

synthesising students will need to respond to another two levels of thinking in

Blooms Taxonomy Theory: knowledge and comprehension (Alford, Herbert,
Frangenheim, 2006, p176)

Using the same domains as the previous activity, students will be introduced
to a different form of text, being digital text in the form of a website. This
website is a number of fictional stories of character profiles from children in
the early 1800s in Australia. After students are to research the website and
gain an understanding of what a character profile is and information about
the 1800s students are to create their own character profiles. Students will
Use comprehension strategies to build literal and inferred meaning to
expand content knowledge, integrating and linking ideas and analysing and
evaluating texts (ACARA, 2014). One of these strategies will be Synthesising
as the students will need to evaluate, analyse and link personal experience
and knowledge from what they have learnt from the website to create their
character profiles, students will need to gain an understanding of character
profiles and whilst reading the websites identify and summarise the main
point of what they will need to include in their individual character profiles.
This activity will also include brainstorming as a class during the introduction
of the activity. By brainstorming what the children what the students have
learnt and by going over what they would include in a character profile
students can understand the way other students have understood the text,
can gather knew ideas and form old ideas or similar ideas to create new
thoughts and concepts (Rolton, 2000, p5). Brainstorming and class discussion
also ensures the students can summarise. Summarising involves identifying
the text main points without identifying the main explanations. Summarising
is generally easier for students who have an understanding of a text structure
such as the beginning middle and end, as the students can identify which
parts of the text are important and what key aspects to highlight from each of
those sections. (Fellows & Oakley, 2010, p278)

Throughout these two lessons both of which are from the domains of History
and English there is an overall aim to teach, extend and improve year four
students knowledge of comprehension. The two activities do so differently

therefore the students are gaining a range of strategies in different ways. The
strategies covered in the two activities on improvement of comprehension
are; Blooms taxonomy theory: Knowledge, comprehension and synthesising,
summarising, comparing and brainstorming. The combination of activities
target these strategies to give the teacher the tools needed to teach

Australian Curriculum and Assessment Reporting Authority. (2014). Foundation to
Year 10 Curriculum: Language, Language for Interaction (ACELA1428).
Retrieved from
Fellows, J. & Oakley, G. (2010).Language, Literacy and Early Childhood
Education. New York: Oxford University Press.
Recht, E. (2009). Catching onto Comprehension. Port Melbourne, Victoria:
Pearsons Australia group.
Rolton, G. (2000). Using Picture Story Books: A Resource Book for Teachers.
South Yarra, Victoria: Macmillan Education Australia PTY LTD.
Williams, S. (1996). Language, Language Everywhere: A resource book for
teachers. South Melbourne: Macmillan Education Australia PTY LTD.
Wood, C. & Connelly, V. (2009). Contemporary Perspectives on Reading and
Spelling. New York: Routledge