Currently in my district at the elementary level, we are in the process of strategically moving away from our basal reading program. We’ve already “cut out” its writing component, as this year we’re hitting the ground running with Writing Workshop and the Units of Study. Also, we’ve begun the process of designing our own reading comprehension instruction with the assistance of Reading with Meaning, Strategies That Work, and Notice & Note (both fiction and non-fiction).
A component of these reading comprehension modifications involves exploring the use of consistent strategies throughout elementary and middle school (grades K-8): monitoring comprehension, activating and connecting to background knowledge, questioning, visualizing, inferring, determining importance in text, and summarizing and synthesizing information. These strategies, which are from Strategies That Work (and many other resources), are “the first recommendation in the IES Practice Guide from the What Works Clearinghouse on improving reading comprehension.”
In addition, we’re looking at leveraging the Notice & Note signposts (both fiction and non-fiction) to have students dive deeper into the strategies (and texts) in grades 4-8. And, if you’re not familiar with the signposts (and you should be), just follow the previous two links to see how they apply to both fiction and non-fiction.
Now, while the idea of consistent strategies may sound neat, organized, and impressive, I believe it’s important to be able to specifically articulate why this is the path we’re considering.
With these thoughts in mind, here are two huge reasons to emphasize consistent reading comprehension strategies (and signposts) across your grade levels.