Reading First Teacher Education Network (RFTEN): Teaching Teachers Strategies for Reading Success

Ioney James, Ph.D. North Carolina A&T State University

What does Research say about Comprehension? 
Comprehension is an active process

by which the reader uses his/her background knowledge to construct meanings from texts (Alexander & Jetten, 2000).

What does Research say about Comprehension and Students
For students to become lifelong learners they must be able to comprehend a variety of texts.

Comprehension Contd. 
Comprehension involves the 




What does Research say about the Teaching of Comprehension Strategies and Skills
Durkin¶s (1978/ 1979) studies found that although teachers often recognize the importance of comprehension, they offer their students very little explicit instruction on how to comprehend texts (contd.).

Comprehension, contd. 
Durkin¶s study also found that in most

classrooms, comprehension instruction often required of students to answer questions, complete workbook pages or take tests. 
Quite often teachers ask students to complete

various comprehension tasks, such as find the main idea, the supporting ideas, but they do very little modeling.

Comprehension- contd. 
In James¶ (2005) survey, in-service

and pre-service teachers were asked to identify the skills that they found most challenging to teach during student internship. Most of the students¶ responses indicated the teaching of comprehension skills and strategies as most challenging.

How Can Teachers Successfully Teach Comprehension Strategies? 
Direct explanation by the teacher  Modeling- verbalize his/her thought process  Guided Practice  Provide opportunities students to practice.

Scaffolding Students¶ Comprehension 
Monitor students¶ responses  Intervene and lead students to basic understanding 


of concept/s through skillfully chosen questions leads. Prepare children with carefully crafted pre-reading, during reading and post reading activities. Direct explanation Help student to recognize text features and story structure ± fiction and non-fiction; expository, narratives Help students to summarize the most important elements in a text. Clark & Graves (2004)

Comprehension Strategies 
Setting purposes  Model Think- aloud  Questioning  Graphic Organizers Reading Types of texts- expository, narratives  Writing

Setting Purposes 
Pre- Reading  Motivating Activating Prior Knowledge,  Preteaching Vocabulary,  Questioning  During ± Reading  Silent Reading, or Reading to students.  Post Reading  Answering Questions  Discussions  Writing  Drama

Modeling Think-aloud 
Teacher ±talk  Modeling the strategy in action 

I am going to make predictions while I read this book. I will start with just the cover here« I see a picture. This is the question I will ask. I predict that . . .

Taxonomies- Levels of Comprehension  Literal  Inferential  Critical

- Barrett¶s Taxonomy, Bloom¶s Taxonomy

Barrett¶s Taxonomy
Literal ± Recall and Recognition of Ideas Reorganization- classifying, organizing, summarizing Inferential ± information implicitly stated Evaluation ± making judgments Appreciationpsychological aesthetic approach

Recognition requires the student to locate identity or information explicitly stated in the reading selection itself or in exercises which use explicit ideas and information presented in the reading selection. Recognition tasks are: Recognition of details. Recognition of main ideas. Recognition of sequence. Recognition of comparison. Recognition of cause and effect relationships. Recognition of character traits.


is demonstrated by the student when he uses Comprehension is demonstrated by the student when he uses ideas and information implicitly state in the passage, his intuition, and his personal experience as a bases for conjectures and hypotheses. 

Inferring main ideas. Inferring sequence. Inferring comparisons. Inferring cause and effect relationships. Inferring character traits. Predicting outcomes. Interpreting figurative

Graphic Organizers
Show conceptual relationships. Examples 

webbing Mapping Semantic feature analysis

Writing and Reading are reciprocal process.  Similar to reading, writing engages students,

extends thinking, deepens understanding and energizes the meaning-making process (Kipper & Duggan (2006).  Teachers can use writing to enhance students comprehension.

Writing activities to enhance students comprehension 

Free-Write ± Quick write Student-Generated Questions Reading response journal Character journals

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