Reading comprehension is one of the most important skills we will teach our students. As the Texas Education Agency wrote, "Without comprehension, reading is a frustrating, pointless exercise in word calling." Without comprehension there is no meaning to what is being read, and therefore no enjoyment. If we can successfully teach reading comprehension to our students, we are setting them on the path to become lifelong readers.
So how do we do that? Through explicit, intensive, and persistent instruction. This means we:
- Choose reading strategies that closely align with the text our students are reading.
- Explicitly teach about that strategy using mini lessons, read alouds, mentor texts, and activities.
- Talk about why that strategy is important to becoming a good reader.
- Model that strategy using a "Think Aloud."
- Let the students practice the strategy themselves while reading. This can be done with comprehension questions, reading response pages, and writing activities.
One effective way to explicitly teach reading comprehension is to use reading comprehension passages that are targeted toward specific skills and strategies. This helps you openly discuss important reading strategies, talk about why they are important, model the strategy in context, and let the students have practice on their own. Reading comprehension passages are also highly engaging and motivating because they can cover a wide variety of topics to interest all learners.
Reading comprehension passages let you pick the specific skill, strategy, and level for each student. That means you can easily differentiate between your students as they are reading and working.
Each of these passages follows a similar format so your students are not wasting time trying to "decode" the page itself, rather they can jump immediately into the text and begin working.
In the 4th grade example above, you can see that each page covers a specific skill or strategy. There are comprehension questions that follow that skill as well as other important reading concepts in a continual spiral review. There are also spaces to mark off repeated readings if needed.
These passages cover a wide range of skills and strategies.
Strategies Covered in These Passages:
- making connections
- monitor organization
- determining important information
- asking questions
- monitor comphrehension
- main idea and details
- cause and effect
- fact and opinion
- compare and contrast
- making inferences
- character and setting
- fantasy and reality
- author' purpose
- nonfiction text features
- visual information
Because these passages are on highly-engaging topics, students are motivated to keep reading and learning about the topics presented. By using this passages, you can help increase your student's comprehension and increase their engagement. They are also professionally leveled by Lexile, so you know that each passage is right where it needs to be in terms of text structure, complexity, and challenge.
I have passages for K-5. Grab yours here: