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Reading for comprehension is the ultimate goal of reading. The process of teaching comprehension is strategic and engaging. I’m Kristy and I am here to share ideas that will make teaching comprehension easier for you.

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Reading for Comprehension

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There are three steps in the reading process. They are before, during, and after reading. Each step plays a role in the students’ reading comprehension. Here at “Lively Literacy Rocks” I’m going to share tips and resources to help you with activities that support reading for comprehension.

Before Reading

Students need to preview text before they read. Reading the back cover a book, will give students an overview of the story. Reading the chapter title can also be helpful. Students also need to know the purpose of the reading. For example, “Today you are reading to find out what the problem is and how the main character reacts.” When reading nonfiction text, previewing text features such as headings, maps, captions, and tables will help students know more before they read. Again, you will need to set the purpose for reading the nonfiction text. Compare and contrast a polar bear and grizzly bear by providing evidence from the text can be the purpose for reading. Research shows that spending time previewing text and setting a purpose for reading can improve the students’ comprehension by over 50%. So it is well worth our time to discuss and preview the text before the students read.

During Reading

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This reading activity helps students practice text structure.

In this part of the reading process, students are focusing on the reading task and purpose. When students find the information that they are reading for, they write it down. Not only does this help students monitor their reading but it also helps students remember. It also is necessary that the reading task is manageable. When we create the purpose of reading, we need to make sure that we assign pages that match that purpose. For example, if students are going to explain the water cycle, have them read just that section of the book. You’ve probably heard of the term, “less is more”. We need to narrow down the topic and help students zoom in.

After Reading

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The after reading activity above has students evaluating a book.

After reading, students need share their thinking and be validated. Have students share their ideas and reflections through class and /or group discussions. This step in the process gives students an opportunity to discuss and make connections, as well as receive positive affirmations. For example, discussing a book review will help students share their thoughts as well as hear other perspectives. I recommend that discussion groups occur with shorter segments of text. The more students discuss the reading, the more they will get out of it. Don’t wait until the book is completed to discuss but rather discuss each short chapter. After reading is also a great time to confer with students to check their thinking. This can be done with a small group or individually with a student. The after reading discussion time is a great formative piece of data that can help you monitor and adjust your instruction.

Reading for Comprehension Activities

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