Module 4: Essential Elements of Fostering and Teaching Reading Comprehension

Summary of 10 Elements of Teaching Reading Comprehension \

  1. Build Disciplinary Word Knowledge: Students are taught using a combination of hands-on experiences and text based reading. Language is used throughout the lesson, requiring students to read, write, speak and listen.  Pairing experience with reading exposes students to a multi-sensory approach which increases their word knowledge.
  2. Provide exposure to a volume and range of texts: Teachers expose students to a variety of text genres, topics, levels and format. In our current world, it is also important to expose students to both digital and print formats of text.
  3. Provide motivating texts and contexts for reading: Students are given text of their interest to read. Classroom activities involve the “6 C’s”:  choice, challenge, control, collaboration, constructing meaning, and consequences.  Lastly, reading and writing assignments parallel real world experiences, thus making them more meaningful and motivating to students.
  4. Teach strategies for comprehending: Students are taught strategies to use while reading.  After lots of instruction, modeling, guided practice and independent practice, students are able to:

– set the purpose for reading

– preview and predict

– activate prior knowledge (form connections)

– monitor, clarify, and re-read


– draw inferences

– summarize and re-tell

  1. Teach text structures: Students understand how individual texts are structured and can recall key information after reading. Visual representations, such as graphic organizers, are used to help understand how the text is structured.
  2. Engage students in discussion: Teachers explicitly describe text structure, model how it is used to support reading and writing, and students discuss text and text structure with each other.   Through discussion, students form higher level questions, listen and link others’ ideas, locate evidence from the text to support their thinking, and participate regularly in discussions.
  3. Build vocabulary and language knowledge: Students are exposed to multiple experiences with a wide variety of words. New vocabulary words are introduced and embedded in context of subject matter.  Read alouds occur and foster language learning through discussions that lead to a deeper understanding of vocabulary and language.
  4. Integrate reading and writing: Reading and writing are taught in conjunction through content area instruction. Students are provided opportunities and encouraged to represent their ideas in multiple ways including, reading, writing, speaking and listening.
  5. Observe and assess: A variety of assessment and observation methods are utilized to determine a student’s level of understanding. This information is informative and used to drive classroom instruction.
  6. Differentiate: Small group instruction is utilized to accelerate or reteach to students at differing levels of understanding when it comes to reading comprehension.

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