- Text comprehension can be improved by instruction that helps readers use specific comprehension strategies.
- Six strategies that appear to have a firm scientific basis for improving text comprehension are: monitoring comprehension, using graphic and semantic organizers, answering questions, generating questions, recognizing story structure, and summarizing.
- Two additional strategies that have received some support from research are (1) making use of prior knowledge, and (2) using mental imagery.
- Individual strategies that can be used in content are instruction appear to have strong scientific support for thei effectiveness and for their inclusion in classroom programs on comprehension instruction; however, teachers and students must keep in mind that not all comprehension strategies work for all types of text.
- Effective comprehension strategy instruction is explicit; explicit instruction typically includes
- direct explanation of why the strategy helps comprehension and when to apply the strategy.
- teacher modeling of how to apply he strategy usually by "thinking aloud" while reading the text,
- guided practice in which the teacher guides and assists as students learn how and when to apply the strategy, and
- application in which the teacher helps students practice the strategy until they can apply it independently.
- Effective comprehension strategy instruction promotes flexible use of multiple comprehension strategies in combination.
- Effective strategy instruction can be accomplished through cooperative learning in which students work together as partners or in small groups on clearly defined tasks.
- Comprehension instruction appears to be most effective in grades three through six; however, teachers in the primary grades can begin to build the foundation for reading comprehension.
Adapted from the NRP Report of the Subgroups, Chapter 4, Part 2, "Text Comprehension," pp 5-10.
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