Comprehension Strategies

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Every teacher knows that teaching comprehension is an essential part of teaching students to read. In our efforts to be explicit we tend to break comprehension down into separate strategies and teach each one individually. However ultimately students need a metaphorical tool kit of strategies that they can draw on, as needed, to maintain their understanding of what they are reading. We need to move beyond student thinking that says, it is term two week three and the teacher is focussing on visualising so the correct answer to any comprehension question this week is visualising. Our ultimate goal is for students to be able to dip flexibly into their comprehension tool kit for a strategy that will help them at a particular point in time. Realistically that tool might be different for different students at any one point in time, even reading the same text. The challenge for teachers is scaffolding students to a point where they can independently choose the strategy they need.

(Thanks to the teacher at Parramatta West PS who let me take a picture of the wall display in her classroom depicting this comprehension tool kit.)