Ms. Thompson’s third grade class is learning about map skills. They are reading a book on these skills, and before reading the book together, Ms. Thompson teaches a vocabulary lesson on words from the book that may be new to the students: “physical”, “political”, “title”, “key”, “alphanumeric grid”, and “cardinal directions.”
After the lesson, the students take turns reading paragraphs from their social studies book on the topic of map skills. During one student’s read-aloud, he struggles with words that were reviewed during the pre-reading discussion. And, as he reads, he doesn’t observe periods and commas, so all the sentences blend together, making them hard to understand.
Think about what scaffolding you could give to this student to help improve his comprehension and therefore to help him read aloud more fluently.
Imagine that you are helping Ms. Thompson develop two mini-lessons, one to help him work on vocabulary and another to help with punctuation.
What would these two mini-lessons look like?
One set of tools for improving reading comprehension involves building knowledge related to several components of written language. These include vocabulary, syntax, textual features and structure, and cohesion and coherence.
Knowledge of these components combines with strategic reading skills to improve reading comprehension. But these components also relate to one another. For example, readers need to understand vocabulary and syntax in order for a text to seem cohesive and coherent.
Success in school, and in many jobs, depends on being able to read well. Reading well involves more than strong decoding skills and fluency. It involves understanding what is read (also known as “reading comprehension”). Understanding comes from interacting with the text. Knowledge of two key areas—the components of written language and strategic reading—builds reading comprehension.