Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies

Some time ago I had pinned this text to my Reading for me board -

Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies

It has proven very popular so I thought it time to write a post about it.

Whilst on prac a couple of years ago now, one of my mentors had these great A4 posters about different reading comprehension strategies displayed around the room.  I thought they were great but was only reminded more recently that they came from a book by Sheena Cameron called 'Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies'. 

Having listened to many children read, they can be fluent readers yet not understand nor be able to tell you anything about what they've just read.  'Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies' seeks to help readers develop reading comprehension techniques to help their understanding.

'Reading comprehension is important because without it the student is not truly reading.'

The book is a fantastic resource containing many class ready activities to explicitly the individual strategies important for reading comprehension. It is easily organised into three groups -

Group 1: Key Strategies

                                               1  activating prior knowledge
                                               2  self-monitoring
                                               3  predicting
                                               4  questioning
                                               5  making connections
                                               6  visualising
                                               7  inferring
                                               8  summarising
                                               9  synthesising

Group 2: Other useful strategies

                                               1  skimming
                                               2  scanning

Group 3: Additional strategy sets

                                               1  word attack strategies
                                               2  fix-up strategies

The book also provides some ideas on how to create a supportive classroom of readers and how to encourage reading based on the maxim that the more you read, the better reader you will become. Another quote which saw me nodding my head in agreement and is worth repeating here -

'Research shows that in most cases, the bigger the student's vocabulary, the better they comprehend.  One vital area we must attend to as teachers is the building of vocabulary knowledge, particularly in students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, and new learners of English.' 

It encourages the use of more sophisticated language in our classrooms, fostering an interest in the words around us through their varied use and by creating a environment rich in meaningful print. 

I would thoroughly recommend 'Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies' as great go-to-book-of-knowledge.  Following this, I'll post a series of strategies I've taught.

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