Teaching Comprehension Strategies for middle school

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Comprehension is a complex process and includes the ability to comprehend, discuss, study, and write about multiple forms of text. Teachers can help their students become proficient readers with the help of effective teaching comprehension strategies.

Members of the National Reading Panel (NRP) in an evidence based assessment of an experimental and quasi-experimental research on reading in 2000 concluded that there are seven types of teaching comprehension strategies that meet their criteria for effectiveness.

The panel’s findings, based primarily on research conducted among students in grades 3-8, suggest that the following strategies are effective in teaching comprehension in the middle grades, and possibly even in higher grades.

  • Comprehension monitoring – This strategy involves knowing when the student’s understanding breaks down and which “fix-up” strategies to apply (for example, rereading, reasoning the matter through and using cues from the sentence/paragraph’s organizational structure).
  • Cooperative learning – Encouraging students toEngage with peers in problem-solving activities or to share ideas through peer-led discussions is another effective strategy.
  • Using graphic and semantic organizers (including story maps)providing the students with visual aids to understand the content better.
  • Answering questions
  • Generating questions – Teaching students to ask questions in order to understand various aspects of a text.
  • Understanding text structure helps to develop an awareness of how a writer organizes information to assist readers in recalling the content of a selection.
  • Summarizinghelps recap what has just been read, thus increasing comprehension.

What comprehension strategies have you used in your classroom? Share your thoughts and experiences.

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