Reading Comprehension Lesson Plans

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What is reading comprehension and what makes it so hard?  These literacy strategies and tips are guaranteed to reach all types of learners.

Developing a deep understanding of the text (thoughtful literacy) is the ultimate goal of reading.  It can seem overwhelming at times though because there are so many steps along the path to literacy.

With standards that are always changing, more English language learners than ever before, and higher expectations for even our youngest primary education students, what is a teacher to do?


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Teachers must include fluency, vocabulary, independent and guided reading, author studies, and specific skill strategies.

But think about this for a minute:  The banana old yellow went dog to store sky blue.

Were you able to read the words?  Probably.  But did you understand what the sentence was about? Not likely.

This is the difference between being able to simply read words and understanding the text (comprehension).  For beginning readers, the difference isn't always obvious.

characteristics of fairy tales


Teaching about the genre of fairy tales?  

This FREE unit will cover everything you need.  Two weeks, multicultural books, children reading and loving it...go ahead and grab yours now!

What Happens In the Brain During Comprehension?

A very complex set of different processes occurs.  An accomplished reader has all of these things going on at the same time:

  • using knowledge of phonemes
  • connecting the letters and sounds to the relationships between them (phonics)
  • constructing meaning from the text (reading comprehension), which includes vocabulary and context

These skills must be refined throughout the formative years of reading instruction.  The last one, comprehension, is continually developed throughout our lifetime as we gain new background knowledge and can connect experiences to different texts.  

The first two parts are really nothing more than being able to track symbols and sound them out. While these are critical, they are not actual reading.  

Think of it this way:  you are given a book of Latin and told to read it and discuss it.  You might be able to sound out the words, but unless you are proficient in deciphering Latin, it likely makes little sense.

And then we move into content area reading. We do not read all texts in the same way.  Once again though, this is not obvious to developing readers.  Teachers have to explicitly show students how to tackle different genres and use a variety of strategies to comprehend the text.  This includes:

  • analyzing the text structure
  • taking a textbook walkthrough - very important for all teachers, even high school and college
  • learning how to ask and answer high level inquiry questions
  • understanding Tier 3 vocabulary that is content specific

Click  below to find your targeted literacy instruction solutions!



Introduce your class to the wonderful world of Cinderella variations, Kevin Henke's books, and the memoirs of Patricia Polacco.  These three units are perfect for 2nd-5th grades!

cinderella stories
Kevin Henkes author study
patricia polacco author study


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